Written by Kento Pollard

Cycling is becoming an increasingly popular mode of exercise and in particular people over the age of 50 are turning to cycling as their main form of exercise as its low impact – and great fun.

Although cycling seems like a relatively straight forward sport, it’s important to ensure you have good form to reduce the risk of lower back pain/injury. Setting up your bike to suit your body should the very first thing you do when starting out.

Here are two simple steps we recommend you follow to help you to cycle on!

  1. Ensure you have a slight bend in the knee at the bottom of the pedal stroke.

To accomplish this, adjust your seat to roughly hip height while standing on the ground.
Next, sit on the seat and place your heel on the pedal at the very lowest point. If your leg is completely straight or bending too much (more than 30 degrees), adjust your seat so that your knee bends at a 25 to 30-degree angle.

  1. Focus on maintaining an upright posture.

Traditional road bikes require a forward-leaning posture which can stress the lower back. A bike that promotes a more upright posture is beneficial if you’re a little bit older.
Two ways to accomplish this are to raise the handlebars so they’re above the seat or to purchase a bike made specifically to allow riders to have an upright posture, such as a Dutch bike. Dutch bikes also have the added benefit of having a low step-over frame which helps those unable to lift their legs high over a straight bar. Dutch bikes also have a basket to hold bags and possessions while riding.

Looking at other countries who have a high demographic of over 50’s cycling as their main form of exercise, like the Netherlands, it’s clear aging shouldn’t be a major obstacle for cycling.

By simply making some adjustments to your current bike or getting a one that is better suited to your body, you can cycle safely with minimal risk of lower back pain.