Looking Good on a Bike

When you feel good on a bike then you must be looking good on your bike. One way to gauge this truism is to smile if you are feeling good. Another gauge is to look around at other bike riders and check out their form and how they look. I know when I pay attention to other riders I become cognizant of my form and my smile factor. Since I have over 4 decades of bike commuting behind me I pretty much feel good about my bike experience all the time. That means I look good too. But, what if you are just starting out and you aren’t sure what good form is and how to get into the groove so to speak. The best illustration is with some photo’s and an explanation.

I saw this poster in Chicago at the Congress theater the night we saw Manu Chau. The simple figure has a certainty to it. The “dummy” looks at ease and is smiling. Like the dummy a bike rider is attached to the bike at the pedals, handlebars and seat. Legs, arms and backside absorb much of the road shock so having slightly bent knees and elbows along with a slightly bent torso leaning towards an upright position is the basic form for looking and feeling good.

Here is an example of racing bike form for urban riding. The rider is smiling and with his hands resting on the hoods he has multiple hand positions that will allow his elbows to bend and his torso to straighten as he moves back to the tops.

This image was taken in Florence Italy. Bike riding is the fastest way to get around and most bikes are the traditional upright riding posture. The slightly bent arms are key for comfort. The smile is there too.

The next picture illustrates problem form and less than optimal form for urban riding. The characteristics of component choice for “the look” and when the look compromises the feel.

The two New Orleans riders illustrate seat height, rider reach and component choice. The young woman is unhappy or “hung over”. She has adapted modified components for the “hipster” look. Her seat is higher than her handlebars and her reach to her brake levers overextended her neck and torso. Her “chop and flop” handlebars are too narrow for her shoulders. Handlebar width is ideally fitted to the width of the bike riders’ shoulders. Her bike fit appears to be all wrong. Her arms are locked at the elbow and this could be that her seat is too far backward on the seat rails or her handlebar stem is too long or the top tube length and bike are the wrong size for her body type. I recommend the young woman to convert her set up to a REV2. Simply remove her brake levers and tape then rotate the handlebar 180 degrees in the stem and then re-assemble and make adjustments to the seat if needed. Just by rotating the handlebar will decrease her reach by no less than 2 inches and increase the height of the handlebar by no less than 1 inch. Her brake levers will also be within easy grasp when attached in the traditional “hooded” position. She also will have added both the power grip and hood position.

Now take a look at the guy who is riding a standard “ten speed” and has the basics down, bent elbows, racing upright position and slightly bent leg. I recommend the guy repurpose his racing handlebar to REV2 for better comfort and performance. A step by step do it yourself page and more information on Rider Reach is linked at top of Banner. Every little bit helps. Ride your bike more and drive your car less.

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