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Old 02-24-10, 10:10 PM   #1
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Another sizing question/thread

Backstory: Last summer I picked up a used Raleigh road bike and went car-free for the majority of it and had an absolutely fantastic time. Toward the end I started noticing some pain in my back, which eventually lead to full-blow debilitation and injury. Turns out I managed to compress two of my discs and sustain severe muscular damage to my lower back. In about a month I will be finishing up my physiotherapy and plan to carry on with strengthening my core so I can return to cycling for summer.

With all this said, I am still seriously looking at getting into long distance touring and have a newfound appreciation for a properly fitted bike. The big problem I'm facing, however, is trying to find one that fits me without killing my back. I'm stand around the 6ft mark, at about 150lbs, and want a road-styled bike, yet I don't want something too aggressive as to aggravate my back, which could lead to reinjury. I know of the usual stand-bys: the LHT, Trek 520 and even Cannondale's touring line, but I have no idea if they're even in the league of what I'm looking for. MEC has even introduced a few bikes and their Côte seems pretty appealing, along with the Nineteen Seventy-One. Are those pretty good contenders to the rest, or are there other bikes that are more suited for my body?
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Old 02-24-10, 10:19 PM   #2
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A bunch of us in Fifty Plus have found that the forward stretch on a road bike has strengthen our core and the back pain is gone.
I have two collapsed discs and rode 12,000 miles on a race bike last year. Plus another 4,000 miles touring.
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Old 02-25-10, 11:02 AM   #3
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I'm not a doctor but here is some anecdotal evidence of what works for me.

I wouldn't worry about the model of bike you get but the way it fits you. You can easily adjust the stem, seat position, etc to change how any bike fits. If you're planning on doing long distance touring then by all means get a touring bike but don't fret over the different models. Some people with back problems prefer an upright bike with flat bars but like 10 Wheels, I find that riding drops increases my core strength and this in turn helps keep my back in line (pun intended). Only you can decide what type of bike will work for you.

Start really slow when you get riding again and I mean really slow. The temptation will be to jump right in and go but you need to be gentle with your body and give it time to adapt. I often go for long walks on the days I don't ride as a placeholder.

Stretch! Your leg bone is connected to your hip bone which is connected to your backbone. Tight hamstrings are fairly common for riders since the quads get so much use. Stretch your hamstrings, especially after riding, since tight hamstrings can cause strain on your back.

Relax. Tension can cause all sorts of back aggravation. Make some effort to consciously relax your muscles and your mind.

That's my back strategy and it's been working for me so far. I've come to realize my back will never be the same as it was when I was 20 but with a bit of care and thoughtfulness I'm planning to keep it healthy enough to not be a limiting factor.
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