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Bicycling

Jon
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Bicycling
I am a former competitive bicycle racer and still enjoy athletic riding. After reading your book, I am at a loss how to maintain an anteverted pelvis while riding. Doing so shifts the pressure off of the sit-bones and onto the soft tissue in the groin. Do you have any ideas for a back-healthy bicycle position? I would be especially interested in any images of bike riders (ideally racers) who show a healthy posture that is still aerodynamic. Thank you for a fabulous book. Jon
gumba61
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I have the same issue. I really hope we can get some discussion going on this. Many bike racer types have back pain. I think that the position basically is quite awful. I wonder if there are some small adjustments we can make to fix it.
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Here's an answer from a student via email: As you know, I suffered serious lower back disc bulges - and was an endurance cyclist. I was able to increase anteversion of my pelvis by getting a bike with a suspended seat post, and using a staddle with a hole in it (made for men to reduce pressure on the prostate).  I also increased my stretching during cycling events (both on the bike and off).  I learned that my abdomen muscles should "override" my back - and strenghthened my core as a result.
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Hi i also do a lot of road cycling, approx 8000km a year with many 150+km days.  i have recurring lower back issues. 

Just stumbled on your method and  i want to see if i can train myself to use better posture for standing and sitting through your book and webinar.  unfortunately you do not have any classes in the Montreal Canada area  : (    am a bit confused on how to keep a good or right posture on bike.   is there such a thing?  probably following your "girdle" method will help but do you have any other special advice for cyclists? or any feedback from other cyclists?   am just starting to follow your  methods so am at early learning curve my questions are probably premature but i thought i would ask just in case.

best regards and thanks

Ingrid  ~ Montreal Canada

lisahahnel
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I too am a keen cyclist and have been riding on the road and mountain bikes since college, 20 years ago. I also tried to implement the method on the bike and had similar issues with soft tissue. I am sure cycling is not "natural" but I do love it, and have had to back off my riding - because at the 1 hour mark lower back pain always kicks in. Its not as bad on the mountain bike, as your posture is less static and you use more of your whole body to maneuvre around complex terrain, but it will start to fatigue around hour 2. 

I'd love to see an example of someone set up with great posture on the bike - any other ideas?

postureguy
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Here's a simple way to look at it.  Cycling is not how we naturally evolved because we don't travel on our butts somehow with our legs moving in little circles.  In fact, cycling encourages muscle imbalances that will work against you when you try to walk or run--let's face it--it requires a lot of quads and calves, try as we might to use our butts and core (abd obliques). For guys, anteverted pelvis on a bike seat is a sure way to impotence and even prostate and testicular CA. Males do NOT want to sit on their perineum. Hip Anteversion is a silly concept for bike riding because we don't locomote by bicycle and aren't built for same. Hip anteversion Esther says it needed for good walking and running, and if we assume she is correct, then that's what it's for. Not bike riding.  We need sitz bones to keep us up off the seat so that our prostates and urethra are not being compressed (along with the nerves).

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Hello Esther and Cycling Folks,

I stopped riding several years ago because of back pain, but recently wanted to take a fresh look, especially in the light of Esther's class (which my wife and I took in '07).  I read the ideas above, and was especially intrigued by the idea of a suspended saddle with the hole or groove in the center.  But the mention of an image/photo of someone with good bicycling posture really caught my attention.  Does it exist?  I went looking online and found a photo and an article with an interview of a chiropractor at :  http://ibikeblog.net/cycling-fitness-speed-and-power-through-posture/   Is this good biking posture??  If so, maybe the answer is to try some bikes and have a friend take a side-view photo while you do.    I also found mention of the importance of the seat design relative to the ischial tuberosities at  http://www.livestrong.com/article/341040-the-best-bike-seat-for-males/  How much could that affect back health?

I also wonder if the answer lies in recumbent bikes, which I'm seeing more often on the road.  Do recumbents overcome the downfalls of traditional bikes when it comes to posture and back health?

Thanks to all!

e9guernsey
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I just saw the reference on this website to an article written by Esther in the Cycling California magazine titled "Biking and Keeping the Back Healthy".  There's a link with the reference, supposedly to a pdf of the article, but the link just took me back to the reference, not the article.  Nor could I find the article on the Cycling California website.  Does anyone know where the article can be found?

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I think recumbents are the answer to staying with cycling. But not just any recumbent. You want something with the architecture of an Azub, Streetmachine or Grasshopper. Those allow for fairly natural back posture.

The older recumbent style with a sit-up seat and "ape hanger" type handle bars encourage pushing against the seat back similarly to a leg press, and curling the lumbar region as much as a standard diamond frame bike when applying force. These are more laid-out, and shops will work with you to get the seat support right.

http://www.azub.eu/azub-5-five-recumbent-bike/ - This is a pretty good design. There is a seat upgrade that's worth it. I recommend fully-sprung front and rear because recumbents can be pretty rattley without it.

http://www.kinetics-online.co.uk/recumbents/hpvelotechnik/streetmachine/ - This is also quite good and has full suspension. As a person gets more comfortable with the bike, you can lean back farther.

http://www.hpvelotechnik.com/produkte/ghp/index_e.html - Grasshopper is very good, and it folds up pretty fast which can be a good thing. Recumbents are a little long, and odd to get onto bike racks. And taking one on a train could be hard, although I've never tried it.

However, you'll need to relearn your bike technique. Recumbents require spinning. Going up hill is different, and it's not uncommon for the feet to go to sleep on a long up-hill. That can be disappointing for riders used to muscleing up hills. Take a bit before using cleats, and when you do, use the "sissy cleats" made for women, and adjust them all the way loose. Wothout body weight on the cleat mechanism, you can get stuck, and fightint out of stuck cleats at an intersection is embarrassing. On downhills, they handle better because the CG is lower. You can corner with more lean. But, if you hit sand or gravel and slide out the rear wheel, you'll still go down. It's not as bad though, because you don't fall as far. Your head is a bit lower than on a diamond frame bike when down on the drops, but not much.

Some riders have a flag in back to be seen. It's probably a good idea although I've never used one. (I have my pride). I've found the worst problem is a few drivers who pass, swerve over to the side of the road and stop in order to video as I went by. It can require fast reactions if they don't give you enough room. So far, I haven't flipped anybody off for that.

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