The earliest bicycles placed the rider in an upright position. Racing bikes of today (both road and mountain) have the rider in an aerodynamic forward lean--much more so for road cyclists.
Effects of Position
The effects of a very upright position in cycling can be lower back and buttocks pain from the pressure of having all the cyclist's weight on the sit bones and lower back. The forward posture better disperses the rider's weight but can lead to neck and back pain from the more forward stretched posture.
Pain and Performance
If a rider's back is hurting, she can't perform as well or enjoy the ride. Proper positioning is key to alleviating back pain where no outside issues are present.
Think of the body as a bouncy spring. Do not tense up. Ride bending forward from the hips, but keep a gentle roundness in your back to absorb the bumps of the road. Do not lock your arms; keep them loose to absorb road shock. Bent, supple arms will also give you better control of the bike.
Customizing Your Bike
Get your bike personally fitted to your body at a professional bike shop. The expense and time will be well worth the comfort and increased performance you will experience.
Article Written By Tanya Wyr
Tanya Wyr has 12 years experience as a professional writer and editor both in print and online. She has written for major retailers such as Wal-Mart, Macy’s and Mervyns. Wyr has also edited college-level textbooks. Wyr earned a B.A. in political science from the University of Minnesota in 1991.