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Cycling Posture - Upright is Right!

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Cycling Posture - Upright is Right!

Old 11-24-11, 09:04 AM
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A lot has to do with the rider.

Some riders are inflexible when it comes to change. Riders get into a comfortable groove, a bicycle riding style and basically stick with that. Other riders are more venturesome and their personalities are more "flexible". Riders who do crossovers or who have both a road bike and a mountain bike are more flexible.
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Old 11-26-11, 06:16 PM
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Besides the back issue, there's the neck issue. Riding forward as with drop bars, position 1 in the diagram, or even position 2 puts strain on the neck, whereas sitting upright puts zero strain on the neck. I've got a bad neck, and craning up for any length of time hurts my neck a lot. So I use the upright position and occasionally position 2. In terms of my back, I do feel more pressure in my lower back with my upright than my MTB, but it's not painful (as my neck would be on drop bars). My commute is pretty easy, about 4 miles, so thus far an upright hybrid is my choice.
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Old 11-26-11, 10:47 PM
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Originally Posted by achoo
NEITHER is designed to support your entire body weight very long.

While your wrists did evolve from the weight-bearing forelimbs of four-legged animals and can actually support considerable force, your spine was never designed to have bumps transmitted up its length via a relatively hard seat shoved right up against your pelvic bones.

Upright might be more "comfortable" if you don't have the core muscular strength to handle anything else, but every little road bump you hit is putting a pretty high compressive impulse on the disks of your lower spine.
I used to think this way too until I learned how to ride an upright bicycle. BikesDirect sells the Windsor Oxford bikes and they are very upright. In fact, I'm practically standing on my feet while sitting on the saddle! Years ago, I would have stated this postion would be too painful for long distance riding. However, I took my first long 10 mile ride without any pain at all. It all depends on how you ride an upright bike.

I find that since I'm practically standing, all I do is lift one foot over the bumps and now it's no longer transmitted over my spine! I know this sounds simple but it's true!. I do agree that you do ride slower but I'm not fast anymore. I do think bike like the Electra cruiser with it's "flat feet" geometry maybe a different story since you can't lift your body but are required to hit all the bumps sitting down.

I guess it all depends on the geometry of the bike. I haven't tried a long distance ride on my Windsor Oxford but I would not be surprised if long distance bicycling isn't a possibility. Schwinn used to make bikes like these and a Brooks Champion Flyer was used. If I used one of those on my Windsor, I probably would not have to lift even my right foot because the springs would absorb most of the road shock.

https://www.bikesdirect.com/products/...ord_deluxe.htm
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Old 11-26-11, 11:15 PM
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Originally Posted by Dahon.Steve
I used to think this way too until I learned how to ride an upright bicycle. BikesDirect sells the Windsor Oxford bikes and they are very upright. In fact, I'm practically standing on my feet while sitting on the saddle! Years ago, I would have stated this postion would be too painful for long distance riding. However, I took my first long 10 mile ride without any pain at all. It all depends on how you ride an upright bike.

I find that since I'm practically standing, all I do is lift one foot over the bumps and now it's no longer transmitted over my spine! I know this sounds simple but it's true!. I do agree that you do ride slower but I'm not fast anymore. I do think bike like the Electra cruiser with it's "flat feet" geometry maybe a different story since you can't lift your body but are required to hit all the bumps sitting down.

I guess it all depends on the geometry of the bike. I haven't tried a long distance ride on my Windsor Oxford but I would not be surprised if long distance bicycling isn't a possibility. Schwinn used to make bikes like these and a Brooks Champion Flyer was used. If I used one of those on my Windsor, I probably would not have to lift even my right foot because the springs would absorb most of the road shock.

https://www.bikesdirect.com/products/...ord_deluxe.htm
It also could be what you consider a long bike ride? I started with a Revive and for 10 miles it was nice but at 20 it wasn't as nice and at 40 it was hard work.
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Old 11-27-11, 01:33 AM
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I don't have dreams or fantasies about being some big-deal racer in France. Therefore, I don't have a need or interest in assuming the position and pretending to be one on a drop bar bike. I've ridden mountain bikes for 30 years now and am used to that position. HOWEVER, I'm also getting older by the day. My body and joints are now 65 years old, and they aren't what they were 10, 20 or more years ago. I'll bet yours aren't either.

On a windy day if riding 40 or 50 miles, yeah I might want to drop down some. But my shoulders, elbows and wrists just can't take the weight anymore. And so, I am interested in what this article says.

If you don't die first, you will age. Your body will change. And along with it, your riding requirements are bound to change as well. Unless like I said, unless you die first...
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Old 11-27-11, 05:40 AM
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Originally Posted by xizangstan
I don't have dreams or fantasies about being some big-deal racer in France. Therefore, I don't have a need or interest in assuming the position and pretending to be one on a drop bar bike. I've ridden mountain bikes for 30 years now and am used to that position. HOWEVER, I'm also getting older by the day. My body and joints are now 65 years old, and they aren't what they were 10, 20 or more years ago. I'll bet yours aren't either.

On a windy day if riding 40 or 50 miles, yeah I might want to drop down some. But my shoulders, elbows and wrists just can't take the weight anymore. And so, I am interested in what this article says.

If you don't die first, you will age. Your body will change. And along with it, your riding requirements are bound to change as well. Unless like I said, unless you die first...
Lasy year I bought a stem for my beloved beater bike to raise my handlebars and to bring them closer to me. Unfortunately it wasn't enough, a 20 mile ride still caused aches in the back of my neck. I'm learning to love recumbents.
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Old 11-27-11, 08:40 AM
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Originally Posted by Retro Grouch
Lasy year I bought a stem for my beloved beater bike to raise my handlebars and to bring them closer to me. Unfortunately it wasn't enough, a 20 mile ride still caused aches in the back of my neck. I'm learning to love recumbents.
I'm super attached to my GT Xizang mountain bike, and I can't imagine giving her up. But to tell the truth, you guys have me considering a recumbent more and more... Just not to the exclusion of my sweet Xizang.
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Old 11-27-11, 08:46 AM
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Originally Posted by xizangstan
I don't have dreams or fantasies about being some big-deal racer in France. Therefore, I don't have a need or interest in assuming the position and pretending to be one on a drop bar bike. I've ridden mountain bikes for 30 years now and am used to that position. HOWEVER, I'm also getting older by the day. My body and joints are now 65 years old, and they aren't what they were 10, 20 or more years ago. I'll bet yours aren't either.

On a windy day if riding 40 or 50 miles, yeah I might want to drop down some. But my shoulders, elbows and wrists just can't take the weight anymore. And so, I am interested in what this article says.

If you don't die first, you will age. Your body will change. And along with it, your riding requirements are bound to change as well. Unless like I said, unless you die first...
That's it. I see so many in the drops and I wonder why? Even the pros don't ride them all the time, only when it calls for it but I guess everybody has a different style.
Also doesn't have to mean flatbar or beach curiser. Just to start if your HT length is maybe 200 and up yourr going to be upright most the time then a more racy 180 and a bigger ST angle will put you more upright.{at least i think that's how i remember all that stuff**

Last edited by shokhead; 11-27-11 at 08:53 AM.
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Old 11-27-11, 01:14 PM
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Originally Posted by Easy Peasy
Besides the back issue, there's the neck issue. Riding forward as with drop bars, position 1 in the diagram, or even position 2 puts strain on the neck, whereas sitting upright puts zero strain on the neck. I've got a bad neck, and craning up for any length of time hurts my neck a lot. So I use the upright position and occasionally position 2. In terms of my back, I do feel more pressure in my lower back with my upright than my MTB, but it's not painful (as my neck would be on drop bars). My commute is pretty easy, about 4 miles, so thus far an upright hybrid is my choice.
Follow-up. Prompted by this thread I examined my hybrid and discovered that the handle bar can be radically adjusted from "sit up and beg" position (the way I had it) to a more forward leaning position. The latter isn't as low as a drop bar by any means, but it takes considerable weight off the butt and places it more on the arms and legs, and I still don't have to crane my neck up! I think I've found a much better set up thanks to this thread. Look at your handle bar, and perhaps it can also help you to find the right point.
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Old 11-27-11, 03:22 PM
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Seems like the right answer is different postures for different people under different circumstances and different times.
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Old 11-27-11, 05:01 PM
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Yoou just had to have a different answer!
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Old 11-28-11, 08:59 AM
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I'ed like to see the guy who wrote that article sit in a stool with no backrest in the perfect posture position he reccomends for one hour. I bet within twenty minutes he would find himself slouched with his arm or elbow on his leg to support himself.
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Old 11-28-11, 11:08 AM
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Knowing that there is often not one thing that is "right"...is right.
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Old 11-28-11, 07:13 PM
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Originally Posted by Mobile 155
It also could be what you consider a long bike ride? I started with a Revive and for 10 miles it was nice but at 20 it wasn't as nice and at 40 it was hard work.
OK. I did a 23 mile ride yesterday on my straight up and sit 3 speed. I'll be honest and state that my rear end STARTED to bother me at the end. I took my time and didn't do it all in one shot. I have to say the level of discomfort was almost equal to my touring bike. It really depends on your riding style because you don't have to sit through all the pot holes, ruts and bumps.
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Old 11-28-11, 07:26 PM
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Unfortunately I can't read the article (poor eyesite). Anyway I was told just the opposite at the bike shop when looking for my son a bike. He has lower back problems and they recommended not an upright bike because of the pressure it would put on his back.
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Old 11-28-11, 07:33 PM
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I used to love my upright roadsters just as much as I love the more aggressive mountain bikes and even more aggressive set up on my road bike... until I fragged by lower back.

Whereas I could and did take 80-100 mile rides on bikes like my old Raleigh Superbe I cannot ride in this position for very far at all and my bikes (for the most part) have a French fit with a relatively neutral saddle to bar drop to keep me in a comfortable forward riding position when I am on the hoods and still let me get low in the drops.
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Old 11-28-11, 08:25 PM
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Most people who drive cars aren't "car people", they just drive cars. We're all "bike people", and we're not who he's talking about.

Short trips (as in <5 miles), in town, upright makes sense.

Not that I ever think this will happen in this country.
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Old 11-28-11, 09:29 PM
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Originally Posted by Doug5150
I would also opine that any "upright" bike that still uses a regular bicycle saddle is a waste of your time. The regular bicycle-style saddle is the source of most people's pain complaints. Until you get rid of that, you're still going to have the same butt-pain problems.
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Definitely. My wife's Townie has a veritable sofa on it compared to what's on my BMC road bike. If I had a Townie, too, I'd use a saddle like hers, or maybe even springier.
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Old 11-29-11, 05:06 AM
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Originally Posted by Doug5150
Upright is much more comfortable (if the bike is designed for it!) but IME is slower.

I would also opine that any "upright" bike that still uses a regular bicycle saddle is a waste of your time. The regular bicycle-style saddle is the source of most people's pain complaints. Until you get rid of that, you're still going to have the same butt-pain problems.
I think an upright bike with a hard, narrow saddle is less comfortable than a stretched forward position, since shocks and vibration that would otherwise be absorbed by your arms are now going straight up your spine. A supportive, sprung saddle is almost a necessity with an upright posture. Of course, the recumbent still wins every time.
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Old 11-29-11, 08:00 AM
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I can see that people have different uprights they are talking about. Upright on a Roubaix is different from upright on a Townie, beach cruiser or old Raleigh Superbe.
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Old 11-29-11, 09:43 AM
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Originally Posted by shokhead
I can see that people have different uprights they are talking about. Upright on a Roubaix is different from upright on a Townie, beach cruiser or old Raleigh Superbe.
Oh, certainly. To a lot of people, a Roubaix is a hunched-over race bike, if for no other reasons than it's got fancy graphics, drop bars, and doesn't look like what Pee Wee Herman rides.
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Old 11-29-11, 02:11 PM
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Wasn't it Ed Pavelka who wrote, "to recline is divine?" That was right before Buycycling canned him, though; so we know what happens to heretics! The only safety bike-type bike I have is my hybrid, and it's set up with about an inch drop from saddle to bars. I would not want it to be much more upright than that.
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