Road Cycling “It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.” -- Ernest Hemingway

low back pain

Old 07-07-05, 10:43 AM
  #1  
aham23
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low back pain

only got about 50 miles on my new trek 1000 and i am suffering from severe low back pain. the kind that takes your breathe away and makes it hard to stand straight up after prolonged sitting. i had some low back pain before but never this long and painful.

prior to the road bike i was a mountain bike guy but only 200 miles of it this summer. i am 6'3'' 230 lbs and the bike is 63cm. the shop felt it was the right size for me and after testing it so did i. the lbs did not fit me just kinda looked me over and sized me up and sent me out to test the 63cm. i have the stem in the "race" or lower position. since the pain started i now think i am too "strecthed out." also i feel like i am sitting on the end or nose of the seat. shouldnt my arse cheeks be on the fat pads of the seat?

thanks for any help. laer.
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Old 07-07-05, 12:14 PM
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I would a) check into paying for a better fitting or going back and letting them know your problems. Most LBS will do a fitting if you purchased the bike from them. And if you are not happy with the fitting they usually will do it again. The important thing is to find out what would be a very convenient time for them, e.g. right personnel, not too many customers etc. Also have them look at your normal riding posture too.

Im sure you could go into more depth and if you browse the road cycling forum (there was a recent post about stem size where they started discussing some of the intricacies of bike geometry) however I would suggest just going back and getting a proper fitting either by paying for it or getting it for free.
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Old 07-07-05, 03:25 PM
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I agree about taking the bike back to the shop and asking for advice. Maybe you just need to gear down a little and spin more, thus using less of your back muscles. Moving the seat back a little and raising the stem might help, too. Bike fit depends a lot on rider fitness and riding style, so a good fit usually requires several iterations over a period of time.
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Old 07-07-05, 04:00 PM
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Love that bike fit you got...did it come with some vaseline. Take it back and don't let them tell you that you will get used to it.
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Old 07-09-05, 11:01 PM
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I've had an almost identical situation-- I am a convert from road biking to spinning to my first road bike. I'm 6"3, 250, and feel comfortable riding my new Felt F55 60 cm bike. The "fitting" I received from my lbs was about as awesome as the one you described-- maybe a little crappier even. I've been riding around just fine on mostly flat rides, with minor back pain. I did a really hilly ride and haven't been able to walk properly due to lower back pain for about a week now. it totally sucks. I'm planning on coughing up a few bucks when I get better to go do a thorough kinetic fitting from pros. Sometimes you get what you pay for. a "free" fitting in your case and mine meant a crappy 10 second review. At least I scored a bunch of vikadin from my doctor... argh.
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Old 07-09-05, 11:34 PM
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Fit might be a problem, but it could just be your back isn't used to the new stress. How's your core? Have you done much in the way of situps/crunches and back extensions? Do you have a desk job where you're sitting most of the day?
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Old 07-10-05, 03:11 PM
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i think my low back pain has more to do with being new to the road. the pain may have caused me to panic and think i got the wrong fit?? i am stretching it and will work on my core. plus i plan to stop by the lbs next week to get some fine tuning on the bike and ask some "fit" questions. later.
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Old 07-10-05, 04:49 PM
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<i>i think my low back pain has more to do with being new to the road</i>
That is a real possibility especially if your MTB had high bars. Try short frequent rides and stay off the drops at first. The riding position on a road or XC bike takes some back strength to be comfortable but once you are you won't go back
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Old 07-10-05, 04:57 PM
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aham...

I had the exact same problem... although my pain was more... nagging than "severe"..
two things..

Work out your abs at the gym... you need lower back/ab muscles to hold you up..
Stretch your back every so often during the ride to ease yourself into it - hold on the flat bar, straighten out your back and lean back....

Those should hopefully end your back woes...

Good luck & happy riding
-Peter
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Old 07-10-05, 05:07 PM
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I've had lower back problems for a while and still do. The more I ride, thought, the better it gets. The think I've found is that it hurts more the more intense I pedal. It really has little to do with my position as I found out. It hurts whenever I'm pushing down hard on my pedals. As I found out, some of your leg muscles attaches themselves to the sides of your spine. That was precisely the area when it hurts. It's never down the middle of my spine but always to the side and mostly on the right side. My right leg probably pedals much harder than my left so that would explain it.
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Old 07-10-05, 06:14 PM
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I'd agree with several others that your back pain is very likely due to your not being used to the road riding position/lack of flexibility in your back/lack of core muscle strength. By changing out your stem to something taller and shorter, you could compensate for physical issues and be comfortable.
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Old 07-10-05, 06:17 PM
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Originally Posted by aham23
only got about 50 miles on my new trek 1000 and i am suffering from severe low back pain. the kind that takes your breathe away and makes it hard to stand straight up after prolonged sitting. i had some low back pain before but never this long and painful.

prior to the road bike i was a mountain bike guy but only 200 miles of it this summer. i am 6'3'' 230 lbs and the bike is 63cm. the shop felt it was the right size for me and after testing it so did i. the lbs did not fit me just kinda looked me over and sized me up and sent me out to test the 63cm. i have the stem in the "race" or lower position. since the pain started i now think i am too "strecthed out." also i feel like i am sitting on the end or nose of the seat. shouldnt my arse cheeks be on the fat pads of the seat?

thanks for any help. laer.
I got through the first sentence and gave up on reading your post, sorry.
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Old 07-10-05, 06:54 PM
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Definitely flip the stem from the lower to the upper position. That will make a big difference. Also, it takes time to get used to a road bike. You definitely will feel too stretched out at first. I'm 6' 4" and went from a hybrid to a road bike a few months ago. At first I felt too stretched out and suffered from back pain after the first few rides. Then after getting used to the new position it gradually went away and now everything is fine. But, definitely go back to the shop and have them work on your fit and remember it will take time to get used to!
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Old 07-10-05, 06:59 PM
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a 63cm is probably too large for anyone 6'3... I don't think I have ever put anyone under 6'5 on a 62cm+, and to date I have never had anyone exchange or return a bike due to fit problems. Try a 60cm at another shop and see how you feel.
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Old 07-10-05, 07:03 PM
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I put 60 miles on my bike today, about mile 50 my back, neck, hands, toes and butt started hurting. So far I have about 2000 miles on this year. Do I need to get fitted for a bike?
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Old 07-10-05, 07:11 PM
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Just a geuss, but unless you have a very long torso, a male 6'3" would usually ride about a 60-61cm. I am 6'2", and usually take a 58-60cm frame, with a 58.5c-t-c top tube. That's just a reference I use when comparing to others of similar height. Also, the fact that you are a pretty big guy at 230lbs, your core muscles will take time to develope as well. This may be a combination of both proper sizing, and muscle strength.
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Old 07-10-05, 07:19 PM
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I am new to road biking. I am about 6.2 - 6.3 tall and just recently got fited and the shop recommended me a 63 Trek 1000 road bike. I have been have problems with the right side of my back and the hoods are a long reach. I have not done much riding yet but hope it fits right. I have a sort upper body and very long legs thats why the shop might have gave me 63 frame instead of 60?
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Old 07-10-05, 07:22 PM
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Read this. A low stem is for people with strong legs. If yours need work, then a higher stem will probably be more comfortable. There are more adjustments you can make. If you don't understand it all, the try some professional help.
http://www.peterwhitecycles.com/fitting.htm
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Old 07-10-05, 07:27 PM
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Originally Posted by seely
a 63cm is probably too large for anyone 6'3... I don't think I have ever put anyone under 6'5 on a 62cm+,
I'd disagree with that generalization. I'm 6'4" with a 36.25" bike inseam and ride a 64cm (c-t) and probably would have gone with a 65cm if I could have found one. The bigger frame allows the bars to be higher and possibly a longer top tube allowing for more comfort.
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Old 07-10-05, 08:07 PM
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thanks for the tips and i agree that my "core" needs work. dropping some pounds would help too. as it has been said, "i am a big guy."

i am a bit worried that the 63cm is too large. i did the wrench science measuring stuff and it spit out 60 to 61cm for my measurements. i am sure if i had purchased a more expensive bike they would have given my fit more attention. but i dont want to let the back pain panic me into thinking the size is wrong.

i dont feel too stretched with hands on the hoods but totally do when on the drops. i dont really ride in the drops. plus, i dont feel like i am sitting on the seat correctly. kinda like i am sitting on the tip. the seat is level and in the most forward position? i will hit the shop monday or tuesday and hope they can help me out. later.
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Old 07-10-05, 08:44 PM
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Here's a great article about proper position from Rivendell that I think you'll find helpful. It provides practical ways to determine if the bike really fits. They recommend that you "buy the biggest bike you can straddle with an inch of clearance between the top tube and pubic bone."

http://www.rivbike.com/html/rr_comfposition.html
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Old 07-11-05, 12:26 AM
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In this article it mentions You should the brake hoods with a good, noticeable bend in your elbow, so your forearm is more horizontal than your upper arm. You should be able to remove your hands from the hoods, stick them behind your back, and hold your upper body position without a strain.
I cannot do this and their is allot of weight on my hands and my arms are locked. How would I be able to solve this problem?
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Old 07-11-05, 07:44 AM
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Originally Posted by Marty232
In this article it mentions You should the brake hoods with a good, noticeable bend in your elbow, so your forearm is more horizontal than your upper arm. You should be able to remove your hands from the hoods, stick them behind your back, and hold your upper body position without a strain.
I cannot do this and their is allot of weight on my hands and my arms are locked. How would I be able to solve this problem?
Hard to say without seeing your setup. For starters, is your saddle height correct (slight bend in knee at bottom of pedal stroke)? Assuming it is, are your handlebars higher, equal or lower than your saddle? If lower, how much lower?
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Old 07-11-05, 08:07 AM
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My 2 cents worth:

Try working up to it. 50 miles may be too long for your first rides.
Make sure you stretch really well AFTER you ride.
Read a book about cycling to get an idea of technique or ride in a group ride so other riders can help point out issues with proper form. I read several when I switch from mountain riding to road cycling.
Try doing some lower back exercises and other upper body exercises in addition to riding.
For me, riding helps improve my back problems, but I do all the above. Also, I shift my riding position often while riding, including my position on the seat and on the handlebars.
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Old 07-11-05, 09:12 AM
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Originally Posted by Marty232
In this article it mentions You should the brake hoods with a good, noticeable bend in your elbow, so your forearm is more horizontal than your upper arm. You should be able to remove your hands from the hoods, stick them behind your back, and hold your upper body position without a strain.
I cannot do this and their is allot of weight on my hands and my arms are locked. How would I be able to solve this problem?
Read this article. By moving your seat backwards, you can take some of the weight off your hands. You may also need to lower your seat or shorten your stem.
http://www.peterwhitecycles.com/fitting.htm
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