When Riding a Bike, Protect Your Back
- Correct frame size should leave at least one to two inches of space between the top bar and the rider’s crotch when the rider straddles the bike with both feet flat on the ground.
- Seat height is right if the rider’s leg can almost straighten out completely when the pedal is at the bottom of its arc. When pedals are in the three and nine o’clock positions, the kneecap of the forward leg should be right over the pedal. If it’s not, slide the seat forward or back accordingly.
- Seat position should be angled so that the front part is slightly upward.
- Handlebars should be level with or just below the top of the seat. If you place your elbow against the tip of the saddle, the tips of your extended fingers should just touch the handlebar.
The type and quality of bike that you buy can matter a great deal. For example, a racing bicycle’s low-drop handlebars place greater strain on your back and neck, where as mountain bikes have straight handlebars that allow you to sit more upright, placing less strain on your back. Lean over in your chair, then sit back in a straighter position and you’ll see what we’re talking about. Plus, mountain bikes have fatter tires that absorb more shock and provide more cushion for the ride, a great way to care for bad backs.