Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > General Cycling Discussion
Reload this Page >

Cycling Posture - Upright is Right!

General Cycling Discussion Have a cycling related question or comment that doesn't fit in one of the other specialty forums? Drop on in and post in here! When possible, please select the forum above that most fits your post!

Cycling Posture - Upright is Right!

Old 09-30-10, 06:30 AM
  #26  
steve0257
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Rochester MN
Posts: 922

Bikes: Raleigh Port Townsend, Raleigh Tourist

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 27 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
The right style may vary from person to person. I recently switched from a road bike to an upright, and for me it was the correct decision. For me it is more comfortable and I enjoy riding more. I'm a slow rider anyway so the speed isn't much of a factor. Don't know about long rides yet, the longest I've done on my upright is a couple of 60 milers.
steve0257 is offline  
Old 09-30-10, 07:24 AM
  #27  
Azreal911
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Posts: 926

Bikes: Wheeler Mtn bike, Strida 5.0, Tern Link Uno, FSIR Spin 2.0, Dahon Mu P8

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 34 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I don't understand why everything is saying an upright will crush your junk and your spine will take too much shock. I've done like 60km straight with an upright and neither my spine or my wrists where hurting by the end it felt great. You don't use a road bike seat for an upright bike guys, there's different tools for different styles or riding. With a road bike you don't have much weight on the seat when you go over bumps and stuff because your arms and legs will absorb it easily. But with my upright I chose a seat with springs and a cutout in the middle so ergonomically all the weight is only on your sit bones and zero pressure in your "junk" area.

Everyone should choose the correct tools to the bike they are using, my bike originally had a seat without spring or a cutout. Lets just say in 2 days I had to go to the bike store to get a new seat cause it was splitting me apart over every bump I went over! But the same crappy seat worked great on my mtn bike though because of my seating position there and replaced the older seat on that said bike .
Azreal911 is offline  
Old 09-30-10, 01:31 PM
  #28  
Doug5150
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2005
Location: IL-USA
Posts: 1,864
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 111 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Upright is much more comfortable (if the bike is designed for it!) but IME is slower.

The prime example of this presently (in the USA) is the RANS crank-forward bikes, such as the Fusion:
http://www.ransbikes.com/Fusion10.htm

I have had one a few years now.
It's much more comfortable than any regular bike, but it also feels quite a bit slower too (feels like more aero drag). For a lot of casual riders, that doesn't matter much though. The custom seat doesn't require padded shorts, and there's much less hand pressure and neck strain. If you want better comfort but don't want a recumbent, test-ride one of the RANS bikes.

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.
~
Doug5150 is offline  
Old 09-30-10, 01:37 PM
  #29  
DataJunkie
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 14,277
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Nope.
DataJunkie is offline  
Old 09-30-10, 02:34 PM
  #30  
FunkyStickman
On a Mission from God
 
FunkyStickman's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Thibodaux, LA
Posts: 2,010

Bikes: '10 Surly LHT, Rat-rod Klunker, '82 Peugeot PH12 Centennial

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by Doug5150 View Post
Upright is much more comfortable (if the bike is designed for it!) but IME is slower.

The prime example of this presently (in the USA) is the RANS crank-forward bikes, such as the Fusion:
http://www.ransbikes.com/Fusion10.htm

I have had one a few years now.
It's much more comfortable than any regular bike, but it also feels quite a bit slower too (feels like more aero drag). For a lot of casual riders, that doesn't matter much though. The custom seat doesn't require padded shorts, and there's much less hand pressure and neck strain. If you want better comfort but don't want a recumbent, test-ride one of the RANS bikes.

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'd have to agree with this, in my experience. I rode a "crank forward" bike with a regular saddle, and it was horrible. I got a hornless seat made for upright riding, and it was a world of difference. Much more comfortable, but as you said, it's slower. Sometimes speed just isn't an issue.
FunkyStickman is offline  
Old 09-30-10, 03:19 PM
  #31  
canyoneagle 
Senior Member
 
canyoneagle's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Chapel Hill, NC (temporary)
Posts: 4,512

Bikes: Jamis Dragon 29er. Frame waiting for roads: 1990 Zullo EL-OS

Mentioned: 4 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 116 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by DataJunkie View Post
My lower back has issues with excessive upright riding. Yet I am fine with a huge amount of saddle to bar drop. Hence the reason even my flat bar bike has the bars lower than the seat.
I have always found this strange.
Me too. Strange, huh?
I was contemplating that very thing this past weekend when I was remarking to myself how natural I felt on my bike. My bars are easilty 4" below my saddle. When I raced 7-9" was pretty typical for me. I'm pretty tall - 6'2 - and am "long and lean" gymnasitic body type, so perhaps that has something to do with it.

I'd like to try a bike with the "French fit" (fist ful of seatpost) such as a Rivendell, properly measured and set up for me, just to check it out. Even so, such bikes still promote a forward-leaning bias, just not as extreme as the big drop setup.
After commuting for about 2 months on my Bianchi Milano (with it's swept back handlebars) on a 24-25 mile roundtrip commute with 3-4 miles of steady grades on the trip home, I swapped in a flat bar and dropped the stem - it was MUCH better for me. I couldn't stand the upright position for that particular commute.

My current transportation/commuter is a drop bar cyclo-cross-ish bike with about 4" of drop and I love it.

For a casual ride to the coffee house, well, maybe I'd consider the upright thing, but I'd probably walk if it was that close.

Last edited by canyoneagle; 09-30-10 at 03:25 PM.
canyoneagle is offline  
Old 09-30-10, 09:15 PM
  #32  
Loose Chain
Senior Member
 
Loose Chain's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: USA
Posts: 1,934

Bikes: 84 Pinarello Trevisio, 86 Guerciotti SLX, 96 Specialized Stumpjumper, 2010 Surly Cross Check, 88 Centurion Prestige, 73 Raleigh Sports, GT Force, Bridgestone MB4

Mentioned: 5 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 215 Post(s)
Liked 17 Times in 14 Posts
I don't find upright comfortable at all, no thanks on that.
Loose Chain is offline  
Old 09-30-10, 11:18 PM
  #33  
roadrebel
Member
 
roadrebel's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Thousand Oaks, CA
Posts: 29

Bikes: '10 Cannondale CAAD8 Cyclocross - '94 Peugeot Hardtail Offroader

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
The thrust one can apply from the legs to the pedals in an 'upright' position is very limited.
Getting out of the saddle in order to apply more force to the pedals from an 'upright' position is even more awkward.

Just 2 of the reasons why I prefer having a good drop from the seat to the handle bar.
roadrebel is offline  
Old 10-01-10, 05:04 AM
  #34  
Amuro Lee
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Amuro Lee's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Hong Kong
Posts: 366

Bikes: A-bike, Strida & ,etc.

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Another lively discussion about cycling posture here:
http://www.ecovelo.info/2010/09/13/w...n-on-position/

Alexander Technique to cycling
http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandsty...itness.cycling
Amuro Lee is offline  
Old 10-01-10, 06:22 AM
  #35  
vol
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 3,751
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by Amuro Lee View Post
"'Push down with the heels.' " Not how most people pedal?
vol is offline  
Old 10-01-10, 06:35 AM
  #36  
meanwhile
Senior Member
 
meanwhile's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 4,033
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by twinquad View Post
If the point is to get people to buy bikes, then yeah, maybe they're more likely to buy something that looks like a comfy chair. But if the point is the practical use of the bike, then there are valid reasons, for comfort as well as speed, for the leaning-forward position.

First, distributing weight between the arms, legs, and seat protects the seat from pressure fatigue on rides of longer than a couple miles. Second, if all the weight is on the seat and the spinal column is aligned directly above it, then pavement shocks are transmitted directly up the spine. If you can anticipate the bumps, you can lean forward and put more weight on the feet, but it's a lot easier if you're already in this position.
True, which is why an upright should have fatter tyres. And, to be fair, they usually do.
meanwhile is offline  
Old 10-01-10, 11:48 AM
  #37  
StephenH
Uber Goober
 
StephenH's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Dallas area, Texas
Posts: 11,650
Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 154 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 4 Times in 4 Posts
I broke a spoke on the Sojourn, so last night, I took the ol' Worksman out for 20+ miles. Coming back, I was riding into the wind. I kept wanting to get in the drops and there weren't any.
__________________
"be careful this rando stuff is addictive and dan's the 'pusher'."
StephenH is offline  
Old 10-01-10, 01:56 PM
  #38  
Doug5150
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2005
Location: IL-USA
Posts: 1,864
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 111 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I would also point out however that using the Dutch cycling model for what is best, simply doesn't work everywhere else.

The use of bicycles in places like Amsterdam is very high, but then again, the average trip length is VERY short (something like 90% is under 2.5 miles one-way) and bicycle use in the rural areas there is much, much less.

Amsterdam riders do sit upright with all their weight on their saddles, but they usually simply aren't going very far. For bicycling use to expand to similar figures beyond the dense urbanized areas, riding efficiency would become a much bigger factor.
~
Doug5150 is offline  
Old 10-01-10, 02:05 PM
  #39  
Dolamite02
Senior Member
 
Dolamite02's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Houston, TX
Posts: 960

Bikes: Bianchi Pista, Bianchi via Nirone 7, GT Zaskar 9r Sport

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by Doohickie View Post
So Mel Gibson loved the enemy army in Braveheart?
'Taint what he meant.
Dolamite02 is offline  
Old 10-02-10, 05:30 PM
  #40  
silverwolf
Bluegrass Atheist
 
silverwolf's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2010
Location: Houston, TX, USA
Posts: 126

Bikes: Schwinn Le Tour Tourist vintage fixed-gear

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by abdon View Post
The funny thing is that this whole discussion does not apply to most of the planet.

Bicycles are the most prevalent form of transportation. Today, there are two bikes for every car. The overwhelming majority of those bikes are utilitarian and upright for a good reason.

On a daily basis I see ladies on high heels, long skirts, and a hand bag get on their bikes and pedal away to take care of business. I also see grannies get on theirs to go grocery shopping. I would love to see you guys explaining to them how a crouched stance is better

On a healthy society, utilitarian upright bikes have a more important role than any other bike type.




Not that I would be caught dead riding one of those

My "upright" roadster-type bike (which is what most of the world uses) doesn't actually give me an "upright" position- I still have some lean even in the most upright position, and when I move my hands toward the inside curve of the bars (north road/mustache style that is standard on utilitarian cycles) I stretch out considerably.

Cricisms of uprights are very true when they're referring to bolt-upright seating positions, either on crappy comfort bikes or poorly informed people raising their bars and lowering their saddles to where the bike feels like an easy chair. But in terms of standard utility cycles, which do have some natural lean in all hand positions and allow considerable lean if set up correctly, it's very much opinion, and depends on the individual rider. I personally can't use either drops or flats, so a multi-position bar with a slight to medium drop is my only option.

Last edited by silverwolf; 10-02-10 at 05:34 PM.
silverwolf is offline  
Old 10-02-10, 09:35 PM
  #41  
Sylv
Philly Fanatic
 
Sylv's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Philadelphia, PA
Posts: 168

Bikes: 2010 Tarmac Expert

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Drops are perfectly comfortable if you have moderate flexibility and your lower back muscles are stronger than cookie dough.
Sylv is offline  
Old 10-03-10, 11:41 AM
  #42  
Kimmitt 
Senior Member
 
Kimmitt's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Oceanside, CA
Posts: 952

Bikes: Electra Townie 3i with xtracycle, Surly Cross-Check

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I ride both upright on a cruiser and down on drops. They're for different things. I like upright in traffic, because I wasn't going to go that fast anyway and I prefer how easy it is to see and balance. I like down for long distances, for the obvious reasons.

It's almost as though bikes are awesome and we can change how we interact with them to achieve our own personal goals.
__________________
I see unexamined people. All the time. I don't think they know they're unexamined.
Kimmitt is offline  
Old 11-23-11, 05:55 AM
  #43  
Human_Amplifier
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Posts: 89

Bikes: Folders, MTB's, Road bikes, Omafiets

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3 Post(s)
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
'nuff said >>> http://issuu.com/michael.neubert/docs/thebicycle/16

Chicago, USA, 1892 :-)
Human_Amplifier is offline  
Old 11-23-11, 05:59 AM
  #44  
late
Senior Member
 
late's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: Southern Maine
Posts: 8,547
Mentioned: 92 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 8851 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 25 Times in 24 Posts
Raise Dat Stem!

by Bob Gordon

A flat back is one of the hallmarks of an experienced cyclist, particularly a racer, and over the years I have seen the prevailing attitudes towards rider positioning devolve to the point where if you don't cycle with your back parallel to the ground, you're cast off as a beginner.

But like many other concepts recreational riders adopt, the low back originated in the professional ranks after extensive research in aerodynamics proved this would help the fast go faster. Competitive athletes routinely sacrifice both their short and long term health for the express purpose of winning, but you may have a different agenda.

Lower back disc problems peak the ages of 30 and 50. There are many causes, but if your back pain is exacerbated by riding, it's a good bet the cause is bouncing around on your bike while your lower spine is extensively flexed (loss of lower back arch). A low, forward torso causes the inner portion of the disc (the nucleus purposes) to press back against the outer restraining fibers (the annulus fibroses). This pressure eventually causes the disc to bulge or herniate. The nearby nerves get squeezed, and the next thing you know, someone like me is telling you you have sciatica.

Cycling mitigates some of the problems of a habitually flexed lumbar spine because of the "bridge effect" that's created by resting some of your weight on your hands. But the lumbar region and its soft tissues are still at risk just by being continuously hyper flexed, and if you sit all day at your job, the danger is compounded.

On the flip side, cycling entirely upright does not solve the problem either. True, the inter-vertebral discs and spinal ligaments are in a more neutral position and absorb shock better, but the load is now transmitted axially, which is fatiguing and jarring. Also, in a bolt-upright position you can't use your gluteus or hamstrings to great advantage, which means your thighs (quadriceps) get overworked, you lose a lot of power, the unused hamstrings and gluteal muscles go flabby, and you catch all that wind. It's hard to be happy about all that, racer or no.

There is, however, a position that allows good performance while minimizing risk of lower back injury. I like a stem height and length that puts your back about 50 degrees from horizontal, while your arms and legs bend slightly at the elbows, as shown in figure 2 up there. To achieve this, you'll probably have to raise your bars, and assuming you want to keep the same bar style (as opposed to riding with stingray bars or something), that usually means getting another stem, one with a taller quill or a steep rise to it. If you hit the sweet spot, a photo of you from the side will reveal a nice pyramid composed of top tube, torso and arms.'
late is offline  
Old 11-23-11, 01:10 PM
  #45  
tadawdy
Faster than yesterday
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Evanston, IL
Posts: 1,510
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Sorry, but there are plenty of postures between "bombing down a fast descent" and "I wish this were an easy chair." People should have options, but it's entirely possible for many people to ride a relatively relaxed road position and get around efficiently and safely.

Knowing what I do about biomechanics, I would rather have a slight arch through my thoracic spine (it is very rare to injure a disc in this region) than have the jarring on my lumbar spine from sitting straight up. In reality, I actually generally ride with a flat back and my hips rotated forward. I can tolerate a fair amount of pressure on my hands, so my erectors to not see an undue workload.

The average person should not experience excessive rounding in the low back, as they should not need such an aggressive position. If they put it there because pros do, that's their choice. The problem is with a "one-sizefits all approach."

Last edited by tadawdy; 11-23-11 at 01:14 PM.
tadawdy is offline  
Old 11-23-11, 02:06 PM
  #46  
Keith99
Senior Member
 
Keith99's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 5,866
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I do no tlike their version of upright at all. To me it seems a very unstable postion. That might be fine for trips on nice near perfect sidewalks lasting a couple of miles, but first pothole or surprise and you are going dowwn.

I've never ridden a bent, but I'd find that far preferable.

Also with a more traditional posture, either street or mountian bike yuo have options. The very straight bike seems to me to provide no way to change position. Again fine for rides short enough to walk, and fine if a bike is nothing more than a faster way to walk.

But for me position options is important. I'de be uncomfortable trying to watch a half of football in a comfy chair if I was not allowed to alter my position.
Keith99 is offline  
Old 11-23-11, 08:06 PM
  #47  
fietsbob 
coprolite
 
fietsbob's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: NW,Oregon Coast
Posts: 41,928

Bikes: 8

Mentioned: 188 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 6832 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 211 Times in 176 Posts
still think these are cool bikes , if there is not a Gale to ride into.
http://www.dursley-pedersen.net/index.html
too bad about the business getting ugly and taking down the Copenhagen builder
http://www.pedersenbicycle.dk/

resolved the comfort issue 100 years ago..
fietsbob is offline  
Old 11-23-11, 09:46 PM
  #48  
Jeff Wills
Insane Bicycle Mechanic
 
Jeff Wills's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: other Vancouver
Posts: 8,957
Mentioned: 26 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 424 Post(s)
Liked 17 Times in 13 Posts
Originally Posted by Human_Amplifier View Post
'nuff said >>> http://issuu.com/michael.neubert/docs/thebicycle/16

Chicago, USA, 1892 :-)
Beware! You have awakened the dead!

__________________
Jeff Wills

Comcast nuked my web page. It will return soon..
Jeff Wills is offline  
Old 11-23-11, 09:53 PM
  #49  
shokhead
05 Roubaix Comp Double
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: So Cal
Posts: 4,665

Bikes: 2012 Trek Madone 6.2

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I think a lot of riders are in the drops when they don't need to be.
shokhead is offline  
Old 11-24-11, 12:17 AM
  #50  
dmbaile2
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2011
Posts: 52
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
My neck always hurts after a long ride. Maybe i need to quit being a hunchback.
dmbaile2 is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service

Copyright 2018 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.