Welcome Chip! I would love to start riding a bicycle again. I have had lower back issues in the past (herniated discs). Is there a bicycle for someone like me, that will not put undue strain on my lower back?
Hey Gail - I know you didn't ask me, and frankly, I don't know much. So I sure hope Chip answers your question. But I can share my personal experience. When my hybrid mountain/road bike got stolen years ago, I didn't bother to replace it because riding it caused so much back pain (not a herniated disk, but nerve impingement). But as time went by I wanted to be able to ride with my kids. It happened that I was able to use airline frequent flier miles (I was in a job that required travel at the time) to get a really good deal on a Trek bike that is very similar to their current Shift model. http://www.trekbikes.com/us/en/bikes/town/recreation/shift_comfort/ The seat is slightly behind, not directly over the pedals, and the handlebars are above the seat. I was amazed at the difference. The natural, upright posture causes absolutely no problems for me at all.
I don't know what will work for you, but offering this in case it helps.
I'd say you're going to want to do some serious bike shopping to find The Right One. I've heard good things about recumbent bikes for bad backs, but due to their low profile in traffic, I can't recommend them for road use. Maybe a semi-recumbent or crank-forward? There's honestly no way to tell what will work until you try it. This gives you a great excuse to go bike shopping, and to try all different sorts of machines. (Wish I could go with you!) Start by checking out every bike shop you can get to, as that's the best place to buy. They offer qualified service both before and after the sale, so you get the bike you need set up the way you need it. That's important. If you buy a bike and it hurts to ride, we did not win that one.
And when you go shopping, remember: You are shopping for a bike shop as much as you are a bike. Buy where you feel welcome, where the staff listens to you and offers you the best solutions, and is willing to modify your pruchase to make sure you are happy. Go where you want to go back.
Touch not the cat but a glove.
Location: Medford, OR
posted 6 years ago
Thank you, Myron and Chip for your input and suggestions. I had never heard of a crank forward, so I now have a launching pad for a bit of research. I do live in a relatively small town. However, bicycling is huge here, so there are more than a few shops for me to look in. Yay...I am going bicycle shopping and hope to be on a new bike by spring!
My Rans Stratus XP with both wheels being 26" is by far the most expensive bike that I've ever owned but I think it is worth every penny. The rolling recliner is hard to beat. The slow speed balance and inability to handle sand is a bit of a compromise, I suppose, but I've never regretted buying it. I went down to Seminole Florida, to Bicycle Outfitters, because I wanted to try a few before buying anything and to try an Easy Racer model in particular. I'm glad that I went because I wasn't even thinking of the XP until I tried it.
Location: Clearwater, Florida
posted 6 years ago
Hey, I know those guys! Bicycle Outfitters is about 10 miles from Casa Loco (my house), and they have a GREAT shop down there, right on the Pinellas Trail. Be sure, when you go, to doff yer cycling cap and pay your repsects to that ORIGINAL Gary Fisher Klunker they've got hanging up in there. I got to ride it once, a long time ago, when it was new. Lovely machine. Shoulda bought it.
Fred Morgan wrote:If you have back issues, you might want to look at a recumbent. I have been a cyclist for years and I know a lot of my friends as they get older will try one, and then fall in love with them.
I don't have back problems but I started riding recumbents a few years ago for the efficiency and fell in love with the comfort. I wish I'd switched years ago. They're a little more aerodynamic than regular bikes and usually (except for high end ones) a bit heavier. This means you will go slower uphill and faster down, so they have wide gear ranges. And it takes getting used to not only the balance but a different set of muscles. When I get done riding, my legs may be sore but my butt isn't, and my hands haven't been numb. Not staring at the front wheel is an added bonus.
Once you're used to a recumbent they're not much different on the road than a regular bike. Other than the attention they draw... I've gotten dozens of 'cell phone salutes' - pictures taken. I ride "high racers" so I'm pretty much at eye level with drivers, but some ride "low racers" and tadpole trikes on roads.
I've had back issues ... compressed disk, but love to bike.
For me proper sizing is key, and if I detect any irritation I wear one of those spandex back braces so as not to aggravate the issue. Also a bike that puts you in more of an upright position works for me ... like a long distance touring bike.