Ride your Bike!
I was recently visiting family back in the US. The weather was warm there and I found myself riding bikes everywhere. I don’t normally ride very much in the winter months in Tassie. Maybe it’s just me being a wimp, but I think more people tend to ride when the weather warms up. So here is a bit of advice for those looking to get their bicycles out of hibernation.
Posture is always at the forefront of my radar. Finding the correct position for your body while riding is key. I see a lot of people rounding their backs when riding. This is not going to do you any favours as it puts strain on the low back, neck and shoulders. This position held for any length of time along with riding on uneven or bumpy roads, can cause low back pain, neck pain and damage to the joints. You do not want to tuck the pelvis under you. Instead, remember to hinge from the hips with a straight back. My motto is, getting your backside out behind you lessens the tendency to round the upper body. Unless you’re racing, It’s far better to sit in a more upright position with your sit bones under you.
Choose the appropriate Frame size: For good bicycling posture, you will need an appropriately sized bike frame that allows you to maintain a relaxed shoulder and neck position, and allows you to touch your feet to the ground from your seat. A frame that is too small can cause you to scrunch up, tuck your pelvis, and round your spine. A frame that is too large can pull your shoulders too far forward.
Bike style: In some areas, road bikes and touring bikes—styles that require a deep bend to reach the handlebars—are very common. In other places, cruisers, hybrids, and flat-foot ‘comfort bikes’ are the norm. Pick a style that works best for you, but if you experience back pain, an upright model will likely be more comfortable and conducive to good posture.
Seat shape and angle: On most bike seats, it’s possible to change not just the height, but the horizontal position and the tilt of the seat. Make these adjustments carefully on any bike you plan to ride regularly. A small difference in the seat position can have a big difference on your posture as well as your comfort.
My Favorite is the older “saddle” style bike seats that cradle your pelvis, distribute your weight comfortably, and promote stacking. The slightly bowl-shaped curve of these seats provides lift in the back like a wedge, but catches your from sliding forward with the projection in the front.
I hope these tips have helped. Now all you have to do is get out there and enjoy the ride!
Contributed by Michelle “Mickie” Ball – Massage therapist and Gokhale Method® Teacher and Posture Coach. PH: 0428 223 271