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The Historian
05-13-2007, 07:57 PM
Hi,

I'm a new poster here, and I'm newly diagnosed with scoliosis. I'm also a new cyclist, having just learned to ride a couple of weeks before I was diagnosed. I have about a 5-10 percent curve upward and forward to the right, giving me the appearance of 'leading' with my right shoulder. I've managed to train myself to get into a good posture when standing and when sitting on a normal chair, but even with having the handlebars raised on my bike, I'm still leading with my right shoulder. I'm having a lot of muscle fatigue in the right shoulder blade area. Since I'm riding up to 100 miles a week currently, this is of concern to me.

I ride a Trek Navigator 3.0, a bike that's designed to keep the rider in a more upright position than most bikes. I have the handle bars raised as far as they will go. I'm 6 feet, 250 pounds, and age 41. I've also lost 137 pounds over the past 17 months through proper eating and exercise alone.

Any suggestions for how I should proceed? At this point, I feel I have five options:

1. Find a way to keep upright on a diamond frame bike such as my Navigator;

2. switch to a recumbent bicycle or tricycle;

3. see if a change to a forward riding position, such as on a road bike, could work for me. Transferring some of the weight to my arms and shoulders might force them to remain level, provided I could keep a flat back. I've come across a case of at least one man with scoliosis who rides this way.

4. Try one of the new design bikes with lumbar support like the Giant Revive or the Day Six bicycle.

5. Give up riding.

Number 5 is not an option I'm willing to consider. Please, any suggestions to help me avoid that fate are welcome.

Thank you,
Neil Brennen
http://historian2wheels.blogspot.com/

sam_newyork
05-13-2007, 10:10 PM
Hi Neil,

Welcome to the forum. I have not seen a post about this topic, although I would be very interested in hearing folks' response. My daughter has kyphosis and we enjoy bicycling together quite a bit. She uses a hybrid bike and I notice that her posture is much better when she leans forward (with her back flat) and puts more weight on her arms. Our local bike shop guru tells us that that's the best posture for bicycling for most people. However, she complains of getting tired in this position - perhaps becuase she's not used to riding in this position. Anyhow, she's having a fusion surgery in June, after which we will be looking around for a new bicycle for her (she's almost outgrown this one).

I have heard great things about the recumbent bikes (in terms of relieving stress on the back), but we have never tried one. You may want to give it a trial run.

I agree with you that option 5 would be a complete shame!

Sam

The Historian
05-14-2007, 02:12 AM
Hi Neil,

Welcome to the forum. I have not seen a post about this topic, although I would be very interested in hearing folks' response. My daughter has kyphosis and we enjoy bicycling together quite a bit. She uses a hybrid bike and I notice that her posture is much better when she leans forward (with her back flat) and puts more weight on her arms. Our local bike shop guru tells us that that's the best posture for bicycling for most people. However, she complains of getting tired in this position - perhaps becuase she's not used to riding in this position. Anyhow, she's having a fusion surgery in June, after which we will be looking around for a new bicycle for her (she's almost outgrown this one).

I have heard great things about the recumbent bikes (in terms of relieving stress on the back), but we have never tried one. You may want to give it a trial run.

I agree with you that option 5 would be a complete shame!

Sam

Hi Sam,

Here's a comment from the Internet newsgroup rec.bicycle.misc:
*******

"It's already a very upright bike by anybody's standards. Personally I
consider any handlebars above saddle to be upright. You could get a new
stem and go higher, but be warned that sitting perfectly upright isn't
too nice to your back either, as it compresses as you hit each bump. A
bit of forward lean is good for most folks. Learn to lean forward at
the hips, don't hunch your back, and you'll be fine.

"Once your back learns the form, you'll do it automatically. Just focus
on having a flat back, and your hips will likely do their thing
automatically. If you don't have back pain, don't worry about it. I've
got scoliosis and find that a little discipline in form really helps
prevent pain."

And another post:

"Personally I like to rock my hips forward a
couple degrees and ride in the hoods--but I've got scoliosis and the
old back likes being stretched out."
********

There's next to nothing available online on just HOW a person with scoliosis should ride a bike, so this discussion has the potential to help more than just one rider.

My physical therapists and I were the ones who came up with the idea of sitting as upright as possible. The therapists were NOT bicyclists, however, and perhaps we were riding down a wrong path. An upright riding position carries its own problems, such as increased weight on the 'soft tissues' and difficulty getting a good strong pushoff for starting, and besides I can't get properly supported. Bikes with a lumbar saddle such as the Day Six and Giant Revive have the reputation of being cumbersome to ride and very slow. My Navigator suffers the same problem - I'm probably bigger than some of the cars passing me on the road.

I may need to adopt the 'standard' riding posture for an upright bike, although it's going to take some getting used to the increased pressure on the shoulders and arms. A recumbent bike - or trike for that matter - should allow an inexpensive lumbar support, such as are sold for car seats, to be added to the saddle.

I've started the same discussion topic on rec.bicycle.misc and Bike Forums, and anything of interest that arises I'll post to here. Again, there's little online on bike fit and positioning for riders with scoliosis, so this thread could serve as a resource.

Best wishes to you and your daughter!

sam_newyork
05-14-2007, 09:21 PM
Thanks for posting the comment.

Best,

Sam

The Historian
12-05-2007, 10:44 PM
Thanks for posting the comment.

Best,

Sam

Hi Sam,

How did the surgery work out for you and your daughter?

As for me, I've made fit adjustments to my bikes - the Trek Navigator I mentioned previously, and a Trek 7.5 fx I purchased in July. The 7.5 keeps me in a less upright position compared to the Navigator, although I'm still pretty upright. I completed two 50 mile rides on the 7,5 fx on back to back days without any scoliosis - related back pain. I've logged nearly 3000 miles this year, and the longest ride was over a 100 miles in the MS City to Shore.

This June I'm going to ride from Philadelphia to Los Angeles. I'm going to ask the NSF if they want me to use the ride for fund-raising.

Neil

dailystrength
04-07-2010, 08:43 AM
This is a great resource post - old but worthwhile. Thanks, Historian, if you are ever still on!

I, also, am trying to figure out the proper fit for a bicycle. I rode a new one Sunday for 12 miles in which I was bent forward at the hips, and I was sore afterwards for 2 days. But perhaps that is just from the stretching, which is not at all bad. I am about to give my older, more upright bike away, but wanted to make sure the newer, with it's lower handlebars, is okay first. I will try also to get them raised.

The Historian
06-02-2010, 12:05 AM
This is a great resource post - old but worthwhile. Thanks, Historian, if you are ever still on!

I, also, am trying to figure out the proper fit for a bicycle. I rode a new one Sunday for 12 miles in which I was bent forward at the hips, and I was sore afterwards for 2 days. But perhaps that is just from the stretching, which is not at all bad. I am about to give my older, more upright bike away, but wanted to make sure the newer, with it's lower handlebars, is okay first. I will try also to get them raised.

Hi DailyStrength,

I've read your stats, and like many people here you are more "bent" than I am. Still, I'm pleased some of what I posted was of use.

I've found that fit is very important for me. I envy folks who can ride anything. However, I've also found it takes a few days to get used to even small changes in fit. It could be a long process to find the "sweet spot", and to get soreness to go away. Work with the fitter at the bike shop, or on your own, to get to the point the bike disappears when you ride.

foofer
06-02-2010, 10:02 AM
Historian,

It's fun when some of the characters from the past resurrect themselves. When I first got on the forum, I did a few archaeological digs on past subjects of interest, and you were one of them. How are you doing?

Daily,

http://bikedynamics.co.uk/guidelines.htm

I miss you! Here is a good link for a bicycle fitting. Don't know if you bought a new bike yet, but this was from my spin class instructor who has his PHD, and is the first guy I would go to for ?'s. When I was taking his spin class, my left knee hurt after suddenly decided to take its turn, all the bike boys in class suggested I let my left leg fan out the way it wanted to rather than trying to have my legs straight as if I was normal-bodied. It helped the knee enormously. When I ride (outside now...Yes!), my left leg does this galump thing as it goes around. Oh well.

How are you?!

The Historian
06-02-2010, 10:49 PM
Historian,

It's fun when some of the characters from the past resurrect themselves. When I first got on the forum, I did a few archaeological digs on past subjects of interest, and you were one of them. How are you doing?

Daily,

http://bikedynamics.co.uk/guidelines.htm

I miss you! Here is a good link for a bicycle fitting. Don't know if you bought a new bike yet, but this was from my spin class instructor who has his PHD, and is the first guy I would go to for ?'s. When I was taking his spin class, my left knee hurt after suddenly decided to take its turn, all the bike boys in class suggested I let my left leg fan out the way it wanted to rather than trying to have my legs straight as if I was normal-bodied. It helped the knee enormously. When I ride (outside now...Yes!), my left leg does this galump thing as it goes around. Oh well.

How are you?!

Hi foofer,

I wasn't aware I was active enough here to be considered a 'regular.' I'm flattered.

Yes, it's best to let the knees and feet assume whatever position God intended for them, instead of wherever Shimano thinks they should go. I'm angled out 25 degrees on the right, and I've found the best solution is to get extenders on the crank arms. Bike shops can order the part, or you can order them online. The best known product is called Knee Savers, but I'm sure there are others. Also, I have big feet, so I purchased large platform pedals.