Road Cycling ďIt 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.Ē -- Ernest Hemingway

Lower Back Pain

Old 03-01-01, 11:42 AM
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GirlzNGear
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What can I do for lower back pain?? I just recently purchased a road bike and am trying to adjust to the new position. After about 10 miles, i start feeling lower back pain. I used to have the same problem on my hybrid, but after adjusting seat height, handlebar height, I could last a good 30-40 miles before I started feeling it. I've been doing crunches (250/3 days a week). Any advice??? Thanks.
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Old 03-02-01, 03:24 AM
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MichaelW
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You say you are adapting to the road bike position. WRONG. You should adapt the bike to YOUR position.
There is no rule that says you have to ride with a horizontal back, like those pro riders. You can ride a road bike with drop bars in a more upright position; most touring bike riders ride with their back at about 45 degrees.
If your bike is too long in the top tube, get rid of it and find a shorter frame. If the stem is too long or the bars to large and deep, change them. Check that your cranks are not too long or your seat too high.
Assess your riding position, and maybe invest in a fitting session with a Serrota trained expert. (See the Serotta web site)


Extreme aerodynamic positions are only of use in very fast time trial races. The faster you go, the more important aerodynamics become. For just cruising along, or training, it is not so vital to be aero.
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Old 03-02-01, 07:18 AM
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TriBob
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I had the same problem. I ended up getting a shorter stem and that really helped. The rule of thumb is when in the drops the handlebar should cover the hub in your front wheel. Mine was way off. I have been using the new stem for a year and feel great.
 
Old 03-02-01, 03:08 PM
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That rule of thumb about the bars obscuring the hub may happen to work if you are an average (athletic) male racer, riding a classic mid-sized Italian racing bike in the style of a 1970s Italian rider.
If you are a petite woman riding a 650c time trial bike, or a big guy riding a criterion bike, it aint neccessarily so.

I can see my hub spinning, and I'm comfortable and happy with my position after years of getting it just so.
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Old 04-06-01, 11:40 PM
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mike
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Man, GirlzNGear, I feel your pain. I had the same problem - especially on my racing bike which transmitted every bump right into my spine. My lower back just ached constantly.

I ended up puting a spring saddle on my bike. It is actually an old Schwinn comfort form seat from the '70's. I think it was off of a Varsity or Continental. The springs are really stiff, so not to much power is lost to them, but they still absorb the bad jolts.

Ya, it's not fancy schmancy, and it sure isn't all "gear", but it works and it let's me bike a lot.

If you want something more modern, look into suspension seatposts.
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Old 05-18-01, 11:56 PM
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I suffered, too. Instead of trying to adapt my road bike, I looked instead "outside the box" and changed the type of bike I ride. Now instead of leaning forward 45 degrees, I'm reclining at about that angle when I ride my recumbent. Say what you will about these "geeky-looking" machines, all I know is my energy is now totally focused on forward propulsion through my legs and not wasted in supporting a sore back, shoulders, neck and wrists - not to mention the butt! The more aerodynamic position also wastes less energy overcoming wind resistance. The bottom line is I'm riding farther, faster and more often than I ever did before because it is so comfortable. The pure joy of riding is back for me - you know, the kind of feeling you had the first time as a small kid when you dropped off the training wheels and the world was yours to explore on your bike.
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Old 05-20-01, 04:35 PM
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Most new road bikes are built for an unrealistic, uncomfortable riding positions. I agree with MichaelW that raising stem height helps a lot. Bikes with quill stems are easy to adjust. Bikes with threadless headsets are more challenging and expensive.
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Old 05-21-01, 12:03 PM
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Thanks for the advice. I ended up swapping out the stem and riding at a less aggressive angle - and that seems to have helped alot. I also had a massage after doing a long ride this weekend - and after seeing stars when she hit the sore spot, it actually helped. My second day riding was painfree in my lower back (we won't talk about all the other parts that were screaming in pain!!). I suspect that the 'goofy looking' recumbant would be the solution for all the other aches. I'm not quite ready for it yet, but it will be something to think about in the future!!
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Old 05-21-01, 12:22 PM
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Just a little blue-sky talk here, but...

If your massage the****** found a specific sore spot in your lower back - is there any chance you may have irritated your back doing a specific action - yes I know riding the bike! What I mean is generally if I am off my adjustment on the bike I have a general back pain in the lumbar region. But if I have point tenderness, I suspect that something other than general ergonomics is the problem.

btw - I'm not a doctor, I just play one on televison....

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Old 05-22-01, 08:45 AM
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Dr. Dirt - has a nice ring. Hmmmmmmm, you may have a point there. I am going to have an x-ray of my back, just to make sure there is nothing else going on - during the time I was riding in that old aggressive position, I was also relandscaping my house - and lifting alot of heavy rocks and such - which was probably the main contributor, the riding probably just aggravated it. Word to the wise - don't lift heavy rocks until you have your bike adjusted properly!!
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Old 05-22-01, 09:39 AM
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My approach is to ride instead of doing yardwork. Much safer that way -

I've only had one bad back episode - borrowed an MTB on a trip to Boulder that was too small. My back killed me for about 3 weeks. Massage, ice, heat, rest ibuprofin, nothing took the edge off. I finally broke down and saw a chiropractor. Took me 3 adjustments and I was back in form. (hey a pun!)

I'm generally pretty skeptical of that particular medical field, but it worked for my specific problem.

Good luck and stay out of the yard on on the saddle!
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Old 05-25-05, 01:24 PM
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Originally Posted by TriBob
I had the same problem. I ended up getting a shorter stem and that really helped. The rule of thumb is when in the drops the handlebar should cover the hub in your front wheel. Mine was way off. I have been using the new stem for a year and feel great.
I though it was the tops or the hoods where you should see the bar hiding the hub.
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Old 05-25-05, 02:53 PM
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I got rid of back discomfort by having the seat even with the bars. I also do some specific stretches for the back.
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Old 05-25-05, 03:15 PM
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A quick and easy fix, is to check/adjust the drop from the saddle to the bars. In most cases, raising the bars will alleviate lower back problems. Also, make sure that your saddle is level. I'd try these two adjustments before other more costly/time consuming remedies.
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Old 05-25-05, 03:22 PM
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i have an gary Fisher MTB --the top of the sadle is about even with the bars--i also have curved bar ends at about a 45 deg angle ---i ride a lot on the bar ends b/c strechign out and leaning forwards seems to help w/ teh back pain


edit---oops ..sorry-- i had a similar post in the training/nutrtion section---got confused--please disregard

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Old 05-25-05, 03:48 PM
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Remember your back has not yet the level of fitness to ride in this new position.
You need to work out, and Iím not talking only standard abdominal and back training,
but even more important the smaller muscles like the multifides etc.
If you canít stay in the drops for a longer period of time or you need to have the handlebars at the same height as your saddle,
youíre no more aero than on your hybrid and purchasing a road bike is money out the window.
Already at 20mph 80% of the power you produce is to overcome the air resistance.

Take control of your back and skip the granny position.
Give it a little time before you do any big adjustments.
Donít know what your saddle heightís like, but make sure itís not to high.
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Old 05-25-05, 09:21 PM
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Originally Posted by Lectron
Remember your back has not yet the level of fitness to ride in this new position.
You need to work out, and Iím not talking only standard abdominal and back training,
but even more important the smaller muscles like the multifides etc.
If you canít stay in the drops for a longer period of time or you need to have the handlebars at the same height as your saddle,
youíre no more aero than on your hybrid and purchasing a road bike is money out the window.
Already at 20mph 80% of the power you produce is to overcome the air resistance.

Take control of your back and skip the granny position.
Give it a little time before you do any big adjustments.
Donít know what your saddle heightís like, but make sure itís not to high.
Interesting info. I'm not new to road bikes but i am new to modern road bikes and they seem to ahve a little more aggresive geometry then i'm use to and i find myself "up" quiet a bit mroe then i use to be. When i get cranking hard i tuck down, or going down hills etc, but when you guys are just kinda cruisin are you still tucked?
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