Are road bikes bad for your back? The truth is, they can be, but they aren’t always bad for your back. This may not sound like an especially cut-and-dried answer but the truth of the matter is that if you already have back problems, there are a lot of things that can aggravate your back pain that probably wouldn’t bother someone else who does not already suffer from the condition. If you don’t suffer from any type of back pain currently, you can probably get away with riding road bikes without noticing any new pain, especially if you are already in relatively good shape. However, a back that is already sensitive or that gets stiff easily could be aggravated a great deal by this particular activity.
The biggest problem results from the way that you sit when you are on a road bike or virtually any other type of bike, for that matter. In most cases, you are forced to lean slightly forward. Depending on the design of the handlebars, you might be forced to leave much farther forward than you are actually accustomed to doing on a regular basis. This forward movement, coupled with the leg action required to ride a bike, can sometimes stretch your lower back. At times, it stretches it beyond its limits, causing pain.
This is generally not a problem for someone who has a certain level of fitness and has never really experienced any previous back injuries, as stated in the above paragraphs. However, individuals who have sensitivity in their lower back or even those with upper back problems can sometimes find themselves in a situation where attempting to ride a bike only makes the pain worse. In some rare instances, pain that was long forgotten or that isn’t usually significant enough to cause a problem with daily activities can be made so severe that it becomes almost impossible to bear.
Therefore, you have to assume that if you have never had any type of back injury, you can expect to ride a road bike safely without experiencing any additional difficulties. The other side of the coin is that if you have had back injuries in the past or you deal with daily pain, you should approach this particular activity with caution or in some cases, it might be more appropriate to avoid it altogether. The general consensus is that if riding a road bike makes you feel more back pain or causes additional stiffness, you should back off for a few days. If that doesn’t correct the problem, it might be better to find a different activity to participate in and leave the road bike to someone else.
As a whole, riding a road bike isn’t necessarily bad for your back. The caveat is that doing so can make your existing back pain even worse than it already is. The best thing you can do is listen to your body and make it a point not to push it beyond its limits. This will allow you to enjoy being active without causing new or worsening pain.