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Cycling Posture - Upright is Right!

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Cycling Posture - Upright is Right!

Old 09-29-10, 03:23 AM
  #1  
Amuro Lee
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Cycling Posture - Upright is Right!

A view ahead for the bicycle industry by Mark Sanders
http://issuu.com/mark77a/docs/uprigh...e_view_ahead/1
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Old 09-29-10, 07:41 AM
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Recumbent is right.
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Old 09-29-10, 10:19 AM
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meh, after 4 months of commuting 30 miles per day around town on my drop bar road bike, i can honestly say that the hunched over aero position is completely comfortable for me and inflicts no back pains or aches what-so-ever.

upright might be great for some people, but i'll gladly take greater speed any day of the week.
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Old 09-29-10, 10:52 AM
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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.

I've never ridden a recumbent but I can see how they would work in terms of both ergonomics and performance. If this guy doesn't like leaning over, he should advocate laying back. But I can't see how sitting up straight is practical except for short distances, with no hills.

Here's Robert Hurst's take on the issue.
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Old 09-29-10, 11:06 AM
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Upright into a headwind would really stink. I don't have drop bars, my posture is most like the second one in the article. What about the saddle? It would have to be quite padded, since none of your weight would be on the bars, and the article suggested pedaling more gently, which would place even more weight on the seat. I could see it working for short commutes, but if they're so short, why worry about posture?
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Old 09-29-10, 12:37 PM
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each one of those positions has a place. I wouldn't want to race a crit on an upright cruiser, nor would I want to ride on single track on a drop bar road bike. You could ride either anywhere, but one is more likely to work better for it's designed purpose than the others.
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Old 09-29-10, 12:59 PM
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The problem with completely upright is ALL of your weight is on your junk.
Add to this the fact that our spines are a row of pointy bones with little silly-putty pillows between each which must absorb every joule of every impact. The lower down the spine you go, the more weight those disks must bear. Which is why the L4, L5 & S1 are well-known nomenclatures to many people over the age of 40.

A slightly sportier position, with an elongated spine, and which distributes some of the upper body's weight to the hands is superior, IMO. Not only is it faster, it's also better for long-term spine health.

The spiffy little diagram is quick to point out with red blotches the problems with a racing position (being ridden by someone slouching rather than elongating the spine), but fails to assign the blotches to the bum and lower back of the completely upright rider.

Last edited by calamarichris; 09-29-10 at 01:03 PM.
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Old 09-29-10, 01:03 PM
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Just somebody trying to sell Dutch-commuter-style bikes. I think they're impractical for riding more than a few FLAT SLOW miles at a time. The guy in a suit on page 3 does wonders for the image, riding on a flat rear tire.
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Old 09-29-10, 01:11 PM
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Unlike a lot of the saddle jockey's here I ride upright all the time since any other posture is very painful to me. Not everyone is a racer wanna be.........
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Old 09-29-10, 01:29 PM
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Originally Posted by calamarichris View Post
The problem with completely upright is ALL of your weight is on your junk.
Really? Not for me it isn't. My sit bones are well aft of that.
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Originally Posted by bragi "However, it's never a good idea to overgeneralize."
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Old 09-29-10, 01:45 PM
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Originally Posted by Doohickie View Post
Really? Not for me it isn't. My sit bones are well aft of that.
Sorry, imprecise use of the term. By "junk" I was referring to the crotch, butt, & region that only mommies & daddies show each other when they love each other very, very much.
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Old 09-29-10, 01:54 PM
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Originally Posted by oban_kobi View Post
Upright into a headwind would really stink.
You know, it's really not that bad to be honest. I think the worst is on a flat bar bike. Upright seems less severe than that.
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Originally Posted by bragi "However, it's never a good idea to overgeneralize."
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Old 09-29-10, 02:01 PM
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Originally Posted by calamarichris View Post
Sorry, imprecise use of the term. By "junk" I was referring to the crotch, butt, & region that only mommies & daddies show each other when they love each other very, very much.
Oh, most people equate "junk" with "the boys". Still, I think that part of the body is better designed to take the weight than, say, the wrists.
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Originally Posted by bragi "However, it's never a good idea to overgeneralize."
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Old 09-29-10, 02:02 PM
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Originally Posted by calamarichris View Post
region that only mommies & daddies show each other when they love each other very, very much.
So Mel Gibson loved the enemy army in Braveheart?
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Originally Posted by bragi "However, it's never a good idea to overgeneralize."
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Old 09-29-10, 02:12 PM
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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.
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Old 09-29-10, 02:35 PM
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Originally Posted by DataJunkie View Post
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.
i really like the feelign of being stretched out on a bike as well. it's not because upright riding causes me back problems, i just find that a stretched and down posture is really comfortable (it's also more aero, so win-win), which is why even my old hardtail mountain bike that i have "hybridized" has a good 4" of saddle to bar drop.
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Old 09-29-10, 02:37 PM
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If upright is right, why do most tourers and randonneurs use drop bar bikes? These are people who put more miles on a bike than just about anyone.

And the dude in the blue shirt on page two sure doesn't look like he has a nice S-shape in his spine.

Many people (like me) have started on more upright bikes, only to get bitten by the cycling bug, start riding a lot more, and realize that an upright posture just isn't for them anymore. Others are happy staying upright. Whatever floats your boat.

Dumb article.
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Old 09-29-10, 02:41 PM
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And the guy's punctuation use is horrible.
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Old 09-29-10, 03:21 PM
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Originally Posted by Doohickie View Post
Oh, most people equate "junk" with "the boys". Still, I think that part of the body is better designed to take the weight than, say, the wrists.
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.
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Old 09-29-10, 05:00 PM
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I think it also depends how the bike is set up, I was very comfortable on my old upright 3-speed, even with some rides over 10 miles. And I could still beat my dad in a race with him on his hybrid if I tried hard enough. I've also been comfortable on a MTB with flat bars a few inches lower than the seat, drop bar road bikes, and other stuff.
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Old 09-29-10, 07:38 PM
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I think Sanders is correct for the type of riding he's talking about, "around town, casual everyday use" sounds like relatively short distances at lower speeds.

Surprised he didn't cast a few stones at wheel size given his involvement with small wheelers.
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Old 09-29-10, 09:08 PM
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For my tastes, I can't stand an upright posture when on the road, but for some people it is important to keep a straighter back.
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Old 09-29-10, 09:33 PM
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that article is completly loaded and bull. a more vertical position is gonna put more pressure on your base, and will increase the risks of impotence and other issues related to your junk. it will also be a lot more rough on your spine and can cause serious back problems. when you are bent over in a more aero position, bumps etc get spread out evenly among your spine.

most importantly, drop bars and risers (like in hybrids) dont hurt your neck or lower spine whe you are using proper form like that article was saying.
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Old 09-29-10, 11:10 PM
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Comfort aside, the problem with the crouched-down posture is that in case of a fall, your chin and face and head will hit the ground first.
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Old 09-30-10, 05:58 AM
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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
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