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How upright for touring?

Old 04-13-22, 07:35 PM
  #51  
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Originally Posted by robow View Post
Something that needs mentioning if you are going to tour with a trike. I have two friends that have gone to this mode because of health issues and they have to be very knowledgeable where they will be riding. As more and more of the states are adding rumble strips to their state highways and even county roads, it's almost impossible for my friends to avoid those rumble strips without actually riding well inside the lane as they have 3 distinct wheel paths to be concerned with (not to mention my friend below that uses a trailer and has 5 distinct wheel paths
...
It is not just trikes that have that problem, the ACA group tour I was on had two people with Bike Fridays with the suitcase trailer, three tracks.

Even us solo bike riders can have a problem. The left and center part of the shoulder here was solid rumble strip, only a few inches of the right side of the shoulder was not rumble strip. With the gusty side winds, it was impossible to stay in that 8 inch wide bit of the shoulder to the right of the rumble strip for long. And that rumble strip was so nasty that I thought my teeth would fall out. With that much vibration I could not see in my rear view mirror mounted on my helmet either. And the traffic in the traffic lane could not give me much room if I was in the traffic lane because of their barrier on their left, and I was in the traffic lane most of the time.



I would ride for about a minute and a half, then pull over an let the long line of cars behind me pass, then I would pull back into the traffic lane and ride for another minute and a half or so, repeat, ...
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Old 04-21-22, 08:18 AM
  #52  
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Touring with multiple long days of riding should be comfortable. So get the bars that will be most comfortable for you. It is your tour; do it your way.
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Old 04-21-22, 10:19 PM
  #53  
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I'm in the 45 degree group, but as I get older, more upright is the direction I'm going.
There is a Youtuber : Paul Suchecki. He rides completely upright and he does some impressive daily distances, so, debunking many theories.
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Old 04-30-22, 09:57 PM
  #54  
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Originally Posted by greatbasin View Post
My idea of bike touring is riding a bike through an area of interest to see it, while being dependent on the bike for transportation throughout multiple days. I've not done what I consider "bike touring," but have a mind to. I'm considerate of the fact I may not understand everything about it. If I were to tour, my focus would be on seeing the area I'm touring and not on covering a certain amount of distance so I could say I did it.

As I've begun to explore the "touring" bikes that are available, I've noticed that they often trade-off lightweight components for comfort and load-bearing ability. They're likely to have heavy high-profile tires at lower pressures with greater rolling resistance and heavier steel frames for "comfort," and to have heavy wheels, long chainstays and wheelbases for increased luggage capacity. With the added weight of the bike and cargo, they're likely to have more and a wider range of gears.

So with this focus on comfort and load-bearing ability at the cost of low weight and high speed, why do all the touring bikes put the rider in an aerodynamic crouch?



This is a Surly Long Haul Trucker -- a bike lauded for it's upright riding position. Why is the guy hunched over? He's not even in the drops and he's hunched over at 40 degrees (with 90 being vertical). I know Americans tend to prefer drop bars and straight bars might be more popular in Europe, but a straight bar isn't going to put him that much more upright than where he is on the hoods. What is the meaning of this hunched over position for touring? When I ride a bike like this, I just get the front edge of the helmet in my eyes and I can see mostly the road in front of me. My back is arched and my neck craned back and my chin is out over in front of my knees. How is this comfortable and what is the purpose of this?

I considered whether a smaller touring bike would bring the handlebars closer to the rider for a more upright position. Here is a comparison:


The larger bike is a medium-sized 56cm/700c Surly Trucker. The smaller bike is a size 46cm/650b.
I've matched the bottom brackets and what we can see clearly is a shorter seat tube and lower stand-over height. The top of the head tube, however, is much lower and only a little closer to the rider. This will result in just as much or more hunch to reach the bars. It seems like the smaller rider is better off with the biggest frame that allows a proper seat height so the bars will not be so low. They'll have to reach forward but not so far down.

I've used the Surly Trucker as an example, but I've found the same thing with most touring bikes: the top tubes tend to be substantially longer, sometimes 20 or 30mm longer than the seat tubes and so the reach is in greater proportion to the stack than one would expect for an upright riding position.

Is there a reason I should not want to have an upright position for touring, a position more like a "comfort bike" or beach cruiser? Obviously it's much less aero, but I wouldn't think that touring is often done at high speeds. When I ride, I go about 4mph up 5% grades, about 12 to 15mph on the flats, and perhaps 25mph down the grades. It never occurred to me to "tuck." Why are tourists doing it?

That rider is not in an aerodynamic “crouch”. At low energy outputs you can try all manner of positions, you can ride at 8 mph without much effort sitting straight up, slouched back or forward. But if you ride a lot you’ll eventually opt for efficiency and not ease of hopping on or off the bike or looking up at the sky. When you ride up a long hill you’ll find that there’s a technique to putting out effort efficiently and that involves engaging your arms and back to anchor your pelvis and that photo is a good example of how to do it. Although his lower back should be flatter. When you speak of an aerodynamic position imagine the riders back nearly parallel to the ground and arms bent more than that rider in the picture. You seem to be caught up in an argument of your own making.
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Old 05-01-22, 08:37 AM
  #55  
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I started riding again at 60 and am now 66, my first bike was a hybrid with flat bars. Knowing that I had not ridden a bike in decades I resisted the temptation to start changing out the seat and bars even though I was horribly uncomfortable at times, at one point I was convinced that the flat bars were just not for me I pretty much hated them. I went on some weekend club rides to push my limits and get stronger which it did but those longer rides of 30 miles were really hard the last 8 to 10 miles felt like torture, arms shoulders and butt OMG the butt. After a few months I realized I was no longer thinking about the seat because it was not bothering me anymore and the bars were much better but still uncomfortable. I decided to get a bar extender for a more upright position and boom I was a happy camper. The bike (Giant Escape City) proved not to be a comfortable ride for more than 15 to 18 miles but for my 6 mile one way commute it was great.
I just bought a Kona Sutra SE and after getting used to the flat bars I am having to get used to drop bars, very different ride, so again I shall resist the temptation to start changing parts on a well thought out bike until I have ridden it long enough to know for sure what works for me and what does not.
Being older I assume it will take me longer to acclimate to new things physically so I try not to rush it.
My first 25 mile ride on the Kona illustrated to me why I do not want to get rid of the drop bars, going down a hill on a rough unmaintained asphalt road was terrifyingly a terrific, the prospect of hitting something unexpected at speed was high but the bike wanted to go fast and I did not want to slow down so I went to the drops and my confidence and control was much better, hen you are hauling ass the drops are the ticket and who does not want to take advantage of a hill on smooth tarmac, really I'm not that old yet.
Still not sure if I may want to raise the bars a little they are already almost even with the seat so I shall wait and see.
I made a 50 mile ride longest ever for me and honestly towards the end of the ride I was feeling pretty good I could have gone for more but I was running out of daylight.
So for me, I say the bike matters a lot, I would never do a 50 mile ride on the Giant.
I also think that many new riders start looking to change things prematurely, the riders lack of conditioning my be the major culprit at first and until you address that issue you really should not start tweaking things, changing a seat before you break in your butt is not going to solve that issue. If you read to much you are going to be convinced you need a new something or other.
I am not at all sure I need to raise my bar but I have decided that I need to get just a little closer to the hoods so I am fixing to move my seat a little forward go fo a ride and test that theory. I don't thing it is possible to ride for hours and hours and not experience some discomfort, even in my car on a long day trip sometimes I just want to get out walk around and stretch a bit.
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Old 05-02-22, 09:32 PM
  #56  
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Originally Posted by boomhauer View Post

Fun fact. You only use half the energy going 10 mph vs 15 mph.
I'm not saying that you're wrong, but educate me. Please tell us your source or the formula that you used to come to this "fact".
Thank you.
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Old 05-02-22, 11:34 PM
  #57  
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Originally Posted by MAK View Post
I'm not saying that you're wrong, but educate me. Please tell us your source or the formula that you used to come to this "fact".
Thank you.
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Old 05-11-22, 09:21 PM
  #58  
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There is a sector of the bike world that rejects the "racer" approach to biking. Check out grant Peterson and rivendale bikes.

when I finally bought a real touring bike it had a very long steerer tube, allowing the rider to use spacers to set the bars high if needed. Rather than cut it down right away and set it up the way I would have years ago, I left the steerer poking up past the stem so I could adjust if I felt it necessary to maintain a comfortable position. In the end I ended up with my bars higher than they have ever been, and after 10 or 12 hours on the bike I was still reasonably comfortable. Combined with trekking bars and a lower seat height than I used to use and I can remain comfortable for a long time.

The important thing is that it took me some trial and error and going back and forth to determine what worked for me.

i think the mountain bike world has changed a lot of minds about frame geometry. The newest mountain frame designs are just the best things I've ever used and they redistribute the rider load. Some touring bikes seem to be under this influence, which I believe is a good thing. The long haul trucker is more traditional. Check out the Salsa Fargo, or look at velo orange and soma, who both have bike packing influenced designs.
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Old 05-14-22, 04:08 PM
  #59  
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As someone planning an "upright" tour I'm enjoying this discussion. I'm 54, not the most flexible human, and I started riding on a hybrid, so that's basically what I know. Bought a used Salsa Marakkesh and detested the drop bars, immediately switching them out for Velo Orange crazy bars to be more upright but have at least one other hand position. I'm not convinced I could ever get comfortable with the brake position on the drop bars, but I do wonder how much of my dislike was just that I wasn't conditioned physically to riding in that position. With only a few months to go, though, I need to pick a lane, so I'm sticking with the Velo bars and trying to get the rest of the things dialed in.
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Old 05-14-22, 08:00 PM
  #60  
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Originally Posted by here hold my ha View Post
...I'm not convinced I could ever get comfortable with the brake position on the drop bars, but I do wonder how much of my dislike was just that I wasn't conditioned physically to riding in that position. With only a few months to go, though, I need to pick a lane, so I'm sticking with the Velo bars and trying to get the rest of the things dialed in.
I think that you made the right choice, if you have a tour coming up soon then this is a bad time to try something different.

I used to detest using the drops, but after I dropped about 15 percent of my body weight, much of that in the abdomen area, drop bars are much more comfortable. I now use drop position for headwinds on a regular basis. Some days use that position a third of the time.

A friend of mine never used the drops, he switched to a different set of bars and he is not looking back. So, it is an acquired taste.

You mention brake position, on my touring bikes and rando bike I run drop bars AND interrupter type brake levers. There are photos of those bike handlebars at this link:
Racks/Bags and Interrupter Levers

I posted that link for a different purpose, but all four of the photos show the interrupter brake levers, the second photo shows the one closest to the camera best as that bike has silver ones that are easier to see. Thus, I can use the brakes from the hoods or I can have my hands up near the stem and use the interrupter brake levers there.

I do not use the interrupter levers much during the first couple hours of a ride, but after six or eight or ten hours, I have my hands up in that position more often.

It is very easy to see the interrupter lever on the right side in this photo, teh left side lever is behind the stem.



More on the levers here, they call them cross top levers instead:
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Old 05-15-22, 05:10 AM
  #61  
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Originally Posted by boomhauer View Post
I'd add a caveat to the distinction between those numbers for hoods and drops. You can typically be just as low on the hoods as on the drops of you bend your elbows and have your forearms parallel to the ground. Your body winds up just as aero and your arms more so.
If you watch pro racing you will see most riders doing that these days. When they do use the drops it is more likely to be for comfort or biomechanical reasons.
https://road.cc/content/news/133598-...r%20extensions.
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Old 05-15-22, 11:44 AM
  #62  
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Originally Posted by MAK View Post
I'm not saying that you're wrong, but educate me. Please tell us your source or the formula that you used to come to this "fact".
Thank you.
From Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Drag_(physics)
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Drag_(physics)
Under the assumption that the fluid is not moving relative to the currently used reference system, the power required to overcome the aerodynamic drag is given by:


Note that the power needed to push an object through a fluid increases as the cube of the velocity. A car cruising on a highway at 50 mph (80 km/h) may require only 10 horsepower (7.5 kW) to overcome aerodynamic drag, but that same car at 100 mph (160 km/h) requires 80 hp (60 kW).[23] With a doubling of speed the drag (force) quadruples per the formula.
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Old 05-15-22, 07:06 PM
  #63  
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Copied from the OP, an OMG don't do it like this. He's probably on a Brooks B17 with the nose tilted up and that's the reason he can't roll his pelvis forward and flatten his back. Looks painful.



This is my wife and I on our tandem in sport trim. That's also our touring trim with the aerobars traded for a bar bag and 2 panniers on the rack with tent and sleeping bag on top. Same position for us. In our 60s, we rolled at about 18mph on the flat


with the bike set up like this. That's full camping gear for the two of us. Having only 2 panniers is a big saving in weight and air drag - especially on a tandem. We were only .5 mph slower in touring trim on the flat. Avenue of the Giants.
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Old 05-15-22, 10:53 PM
  #64  
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OP, do you have a visor on your helmet. Removing it will allow better visibility with less head tilt.

My wife's custom built touring bike puts her in a good riding position. It puts her torso at a good angle for her, and is very comfortable. She averaged a little over 50 miles a day on a tour for 74 consecutive days without any complaints. Actually, that bike has over 27,000 miles, and I never heard her complain about position issues, except for saddle height, which was an easy fix.

She is on the top, not on the hoods in this picture. Drop bars offer several hand and body positions, which is nice on a long day.


This is the position when she is on the hoods, and is little more aggressive. Her back is still straight, but still does not require tilting the head up.

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Old 05-16-22, 06:38 AM
  #65  
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an observation over the years:

riders who tend to "soft pedal" and or coast a lot and or generally put out much less pedalling power consistently, tend to experience the concerns expressed by this person--who hasn't actually gone touring yet.
When we pedal a touring bike all day, which is always going to be 20, 30, 40lbs heavier than an unloaded bike, we simply naturally are having to put out more effort to bike along.

Greatbasin--in simple terms, when we consistently put more effort into pedalling, more leg effort--we take pressure OFF our bum and our hands. The position that you think is uncomfortable (your Surly photo example) is actually more efficient for all day riding for finding that sweet spot of balance of pressure between the three contact points--hands, seat and pedals.

the more we ride, the stronger we are legs wise and core wise, and ones "sweet spot" of positioning of the three contact points is where one can be most efficient for forward motion and body comfort.

in the end, you just gottta ride a lot, and you'll see what works for you, but that position will change over time the more you ride most likely as you get stronger--but go with what feels ok and adjust--no amount of "theorizing" without lots of riding will change that, other than an internet forum experience.

enjoy getting out on a bike regularly
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Old 05-16-22, 06:49 AM
  #66  
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Originally Posted by djb View Post
an observation over the years:

riders who tend to "soft pedal" and or coast a lot and or generally put out much less pedalling power consistently, tend to experience the concerns expressed by this person--who hasn't actually gone touring yet.
When we pedal a touring bike all day, which is always going to be 20, 30, 40lbs heavier than an unloaded bike, we simply naturally are having to put out more effort to bike along.

Greatbasin--in simple terms, when we consistently put more effort into pedalling, more leg effort--we take pressure OFF our bum and our hands. The position that you think is uncomfortable (your Surly photo example) is actually more efficient for all day riding for finding that sweet spot of balance of pressure between the three contact points--hands, seat and pedals.

the more we ride, the stronger we are legs wise and core wise, and ones "sweet spot" of positioning of the three contact points is where one can be most efficient for forward motion and body comfort.

in the end, you just gottta ride a lot, and you'll see what works for you, but that position will change over time the more you ride most likely as you get stronger--but go with what feels ok and adjust--no amount of "theorizing" without lots of riding will change that, other than an internet forum experience.

enjoy getting out on a bike regularly
Very good points. I'll add that on a long tour by the time you are 10 days to 2 weeks in (and from then of for the weeks and months of a tour), at least if doing much daily mileage you are likely about as acclimated to the bike as you'd ever get at home so riding in the more aggressive posture is likely easier and more comfortable than when at home and likely riding less.

My usual suggestion would be for a rider starting out touring to use as agressive a posture as they find comfortable and slowly adjust to more aggressive posture over time as they acclimate. Don't push it beyond what is reasonably comfortable though.

That may all go out the window if you just noodle along on tour with low mileage and tons of breaks. No that there is anything wrong with that if it is what you want to do. Also if you ride only really short tours you may never really do much acclimating on tour and all acclimating will need to happen at home. Again if that is what you want to do nothing wrong with it, but my comments above will be pretty much moot in that case.
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Old 05-16-22, 07:53 AM
  #67  
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Yes, something magical happens after 10 days to 2 weeks when your ”touring legs” kick in 😊

I ride in the drops in headwinds, or when really bombing along for fun. I think I can put out more power in the drops than on the hoods with bent arms as mentioned above.

Dang I’m looking forward to my tour in september in france and spain. I’ve got to work all summer first. I’m a live sound engineer and now we’re back in business! 😄✌🏼
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Old 05-17-22, 01:39 AM
  #68  
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I would not consider the position in the OP as "aerodynamic". Sure, more leaned than a Dutch town bike, but much more upright than a racing position.

I think this "in between" position is perfect for touring. Comfortable enough for long distance, but It is great to be able to get into a more aero position when you are going long distances into a headwind, let me tell you. An upright position would be downright annoying.

If you find the position on an average touring bike too be uncomfortable, I am sure you can tweak it to be a bit more upright. Those "Butterfly" touring handlebars can help a lot to achieve that. But I would never take a Dutch town bike on a long distance tour for example.
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Old 05-17-22, 05:06 AM
  #69  
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Originally Posted by imi View Post
Yes, something magical happens after 10 days to 2 weeks when your ”touring legs” kick in 😊

I ride in the drops in headwinds, or when really bombing along for fun. I think I can put out more power in the drops than on the hoods with bent arms as mentioned above.
...
Those of us that are lucky enough to be able to tour longer than a week or two get that benefit. Before I retired, my trips were limited to a week long.

I find that the drops are much more comfortable to maintain for long periods when I do not have much fat in my mid-section area, and I find that I steadily lose some of that fat in the early weeks of a bike tour. I think that is part of the reason that I find using the drops on a tour to be reasonably comfortable.

In this photo, my hands are on my hoods, not the drops. But from this angle it looks like I am more upright than I actually am. Then ended up being a 14 hour day from start to finish. Fortunately minimal wind that day.



The tops of my handlebars are at about the same height of the top of my saddle, or maybe up to 10mm lower. But I do run short stems for touring, so the bike is setup without a lot of reach.
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Old 05-17-22, 12:50 PM
  #70  
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Here's Heinz Stücke & his bike. You can see how he's had a second, higher bar welded to his bike for a more upright posture.



The solons on this list who have toured more than Mr. Stücke will point out how he's doing it wrong.
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Old 05-17-22, 04:03 PM
  #71  
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TCS, that's the neat thing with bikes, different setups can work just as well as others, but one can have preferences and or try out different stuff.
I never thought I'd like an upright bar like I set up my Jones riser version, but I do. The neat thing is that with a big headwind, I can change hand positions and it's way better than a standard wide MTB type bar.

But still love my dropbar setup, but it ain't an aggressive road bike setup.
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Old 05-17-22, 04:05 PM
  #72  
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Originally Posted by tcs View Post
Here's Heinz Stücke & his bike. You can see how he's had a second, higher bar welded to his bike for a more upright posture.

The solons on this list who have toured more than Mr. Stücke will point out how he's doing it wrong.
I do not know who Mr Stucke is, but I call it personal preference. I rarely tell someone that they are doing it wrong.

Yesterday on a ride out on a local bike path, I saw some guy out for a ride (not touring) and he had an extra high stem on his bike, and his handlebars were those chopper type bars that were popular in the 60s or 70s that were WAY up there. He was sitting so upright that he was almost leaning back a bit. I bet he can't ride far on that bike before his bum on the saddle starts to really hurt.
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Old 05-17-22, 04:48 PM
  #73  
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Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN View Post
I think that you made the right choice, if you have a tour coming up soon then this is a bad time to try something different.

I used to detest using the drops, but after I dropped about 15 percent of my body weight, much of that in the abdomen area, drop bars are much more comfortable. I now use drop position for headwinds on a regular basis. Some days use that position a third of the time.

A friend of mine never used the drops, he switched to a different set of bars and he is not looking back. So, it is an acquired taste.

You mention brake position, on my touring bikes and rando bike I run drop bars AND interrupter type brake levers. There are photos of those bike handlebars at this link:
Racks/Bags and Interrupter Levers

I posted that link for a different purpose, but all four of the photos show the interrupter brake levers, the second photo shows the one closest to the camera best as that bike has silver ones that are easier to see. Thus, I can use the brakes from the hoods or I can have my hands up near the stem and use the interrupter brake levers there.

I do not use the interrupter levers much during the first couple hours of a ride, but after six or eight or ten hours, I have my hands up in that position more often.

It is very easy to see the interrupter lever on the right side in this photo, teh left side lever is behind the stem.



More on the levers here, they call them cross top levers instead:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gtPBPn3kXlM
Thank you for the brake interrupter lever info and visuals.
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Old 05-17-22, 07:37 PM
  #74  
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Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN View Post
I do not know who Mr Stucke is...
His bike tour lasted 50 years. 197 countries. Guinness Book of World Records' "World's Most Traveled Human".
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Old 05-17-22, 08:12 PM
  #75  
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Originally Posted by here hold my ha View Post
Thank you for the brake interrupter lever info and visuals.
Here is another at a slightly different angle:


I put a set on my bike when I had shoulder surgery to ease the pressure on my shoulder. Now they are on 3 of my bikes.

I did a count of bike tourists on one of our European rides that were using drop bars vs. Flat bars. I quit at 100 and the score was: 95 flat bars, drop bars 5.

What nobody mentioned is that the way Europeans ride flat bars puts them in a similar position as the pictures posted above. I did not see many riding in an "upright" position. The people sitting upright were usually the older folks on cruiser type bikes. I've even seen aero-bars mounted on flat bars,

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