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Aero Bars for the commute ?

mr_eddymr_eddy Posts: 762
In the last month or two my back injury (sustained a few years ago whilst skiing) has kicked off again. Every now and then it flairs up , When it does it does not matter what type of bike I am on I get a lower back pain after about 30 mins on the bike - I even get it when I am on my Pashley Guvnor which is about as comfortable as bikes get (literally sat bolt upright in a mega comfy Brooks saddle).

Note - I have been to GP and a specialist and they say there is nothing they can do, Being a bit overweight does not help but I am working on that just taking longer than I thought to shift the pounds :)

Through experiment I have found that if I rest my forearms on the drops of my road bike the pain subsides somewhat however this is pretty unstable and not very safe. To that end I am thinking that maybe Aero bars maybe worth a shot ?

FYI - I have no other option but to cycle to work (no car and no bus route, I live 10 miles from work - That would be a hell of a walk).

Just wondering if anyone who uses them can confirm the following:

* Are they comfortable for rides of 10-25 miles ?
* Does the added weight on the bars cause steering problems ?
* I have a carbon drop bar - Will adding Aero clip ons be safe ?

My other thought is if the Aero bars make me faster than there is a greater chance of me getting to work before the back issue kicks in

I don't care that I may look a bit daft on the commute - I commute on rural roads so not really an issue anyway.

Thoughts ?

Posts

  • mr_eddymr_eddy Posts: 762
    Also forgot to mention my drop bars square off almost immediately from the stem so they are flattened, With rubber inserts can I still fit clip ons ?
  • FlâneurFlâneur Posts: 3,027
    edited July 2017
    Andy Wilkinson does a regular 20 ish mile commute each way on his do it all bike. Not sure where he starts or ends, but given the various points I have seen him riding it would be logical. Aero bars and panniers. I drive past a few others, but he is (for obvious reasons) the standout.

    I suppose comfort comes with time, TT position is horrible when you start because it is different. Plenty of TTs fit the 10-25 mile distance and people ride them all the time.

    Safety, depends on your handling and route I guess. Lots of hairpins? probably bad.
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  • fenixfenix Posts: 5,437
    * Are they comfortable for rides of 10-25 miles ? Well mine are good for >100 miles - but they're set up properly for me. So yes they CAN be.

    * Does the added weight on the bars cause steering problems ? Not really - if you're doing turns you'll be on the brakes anyway so they won't stop you turning or whatever.

    * I have a carbon drop bar - Will adding Aero clip ons be safe ? Depends on the bar. Some are designed to be used with their specific brand tri bars - but most aren't - so you probably need to swap the bars I'm afraid.

    I think you should look into Pilates too - go see a teacher and go through your problem with them - if you can strengthen up your core muscles it will help support your back. Ask around the area for a good one.
  • joey54321joey54321 Posts: 1,297
    Many people use TT/aero bars for long distance record attempts partly because they are comfortable. The 'aero'/TT position is only uncomfortable if you go very low at the front. No issue with weight (except maybe slightly less stable when no handed) or carbon bars IME.
  • mr_eddymr_eddy Posts: 762
    Thanks for all the advice - I may get some cheap aero bars from Decathlon and get one of their alu drop bars as well that way I can give it a go without spending lots of cash (all in it should be sub £50). If its not for me then no major issue.

    I will have a look at Pilates thanks , I have started swimming as well which I am lead to believe should help my core, I suspect things will improve when I drop some weight. I am currently about 10kg overweight so not massive but its all around my middle / lower back area

    Ta.
  • mr_eddymr_eddy Posts: 762
    Recumbent would fix my issue but I am not quite ready for that yet :)
  • fenixfenix Posts: 5,437
    I should have said - my wife is a pilates coach and she's treated quite a few cyclists/triathletes that have had bad backs and got them back to full racing speed.
  • mr_eddymr_eddy Posts: 762
    I will defo check out the local classes, Worth a shot.
  • slowbikeslowbike Posts: 8,490
    I've ridden my road bike with TT bars to work - and latterly, my TT bike too ... for me it was just so I could use the quiet stretches of the commute to get used to the TT position and being further from brakes (& shifting on the road bike).

    If you google Steve Abraham - you'll find he has TT bars on his bike too - although his rides are somewhat longer :)

    So, yes, perfectly doable - but it depends where you're riding - if there's a lot of traffic you won't nescersarily be comfortable away from the brakes and if it's hilly then similar situation.
    Carbon bars without spacers won't appreciate the clamping force required on TT bars - so swap it out for a cheapy.
    then I'd practice with them on a quiet section - it can be a bit wobbly getting on and off the bars and nerve wracking when you realise you've left it too late to change off the bars and need to avoid a pothole ... but it's fairly quick to get used to it.
  • joey54321joey54321 Posts: 1,297
    mr_eddy wrote:
    Thanks for all the advice - I may get some cheap aero bars from Decathlon and get one of their alu drop bars as well that way I can give it a go without spending lots of cash (all in it should be sub £50). If its not for me then no major issue.

    I will have a look at Pilates thanks , I have started swimming as well which I am lead to believe should help my core, I suspect things will improve when I drop some weight. I am currently about 10kg overweight so not massive but its all around my middle / lower back area

    Ta.

    The decathlon ones look very similar (tho more expensive) to these (http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Bike-Bicycle- ... SwIWVY~yYd)

    I've recently bought a pair which I might be able to pass on to you as I found an old pair that I'll likely use instead. They aren't the best but for ~£10 it might be enough to give you an idea.
  • fat daddyfat daddy Posts: 2,632
    mr_eddy wrote:
    * Are they comfortable for rides of 10-25 miles ?

    yes ... but then again a bike is comfortable for ~6hrs .. but you can only manage 30mins, so aerobars for you is going to be guess work
  • daniel_bdaniel_b Posts: 8,643
    My thought would be to try and fix the issue.

    If you google Jo McRae, she is a genius with back issues, and cyclists too, she sorted me out in two sessions.
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  • mr_eddymr_eddy Posts: 762
    Thanks for the info - Gonna get those bars from Decathlon and re the none round carbon bar issue I forgot that I have some Alloy bullhorns from a fixie that I can pop in - The shared the same 31.8mm clamp size and crucially are round rather than squared off. It will look slightly odd having the STI levers on the end of the bullhorns but they will fit, I never used the drops anyway and I can keep the carbon bars for when my back is sorted. It would only be temporary until my back is sorted.

    On that note I will heed the advice given and try and get my back sorted , Defo going to get on the Pilates case and keep up with the swimming. I am hoping that when I have dropped 10kg of gut it will improve somewhat.

    In an ideal world I would stay off the bike for a bit but as mentioned I have no other option, short of getting a cab to work everyday (£££) I have to cycle. I have toyed with the idea of a little scooter but I would need to get my CBT done and spend a load on boots etc - People who ride those things with no gloves and flip flops are NUTS!

    Ta.
  • StillGoingStillGoing Posts: 5,207
    I think your problem is maybe more to do with posture.

    http://thewellnessdigest.com/iliopsoas- ... -leg-pain/
    I ride a bike. Doesn't make me green or a tree hugger. I drive a car too.
  • mr_eddymr_eddy Posts: 762
    Thanks - Its not posture, I have had a bike fit and in addition as mentioned I get the back pain even when using a sit up and beg Pashley. My bike position is exactly as it should be. I have a slight elbow bend when on the hoods , Slight bend when at the bottom of the pedal stroke. I have tried 60/90 and 110mm stems etc.

    Ultimately by back problems are present even when not on the bike but a more acute when on the bike. I have already found a Pilates class at the gym that I am going to go to, I have also found a place near work that does Hot Yoga which might be worth a shot.

    The aero bars are on and feel a bit strange at the mo so going to give a few days before reserving judgment !
  • mr_eddymr_eddy Posts: 762
    In addition to the above starting from today I am making a conscious effort to get up and have a walk around my office building every hour or so - Just 5 mins to the end of the building and back, I had gotten into the habit of sitting down all day so gonna see how that helps.
  • JaymeJayme Posts: 48
    Can't answer any of the questions in direct relation to aero bars other than you wouldn't be the only one to ride on aero bars to work. I see it quite often on my commute, which is quite busy with cyclists, peds, children, dog walkers, etc. I've even seen people on their TT bikes. If it makes your commute comfortable and you feel safe, go for it.

    With regards to Pilates, make sure it is not fitness Pilates, but proper pilates. My wife is a pilates instructor, and while there is nothing wrong with fitness pilates, it will not help with your issues. You may also benefit from some one on one or very small group pilates classes where you can get individual attention and work on your back issues.
  • cyclecliniccycleclinic Posts: 6,865
    I commute on a bike daily but I dont use aero bars. Cant figure out how you can ride them safely in traffic. You can be comfortable on the right bike without aerobars.

    Riding to work is not slumming it. I have a car and a bus route I choose to ride instead it way better than driving or getting the bus.
    http://www.thecycleclinic.co.uk -wheel building and other stuff.
  • StillGoingStillGoing Posts: 5,207
    mr_eddy wrote:
    Thanks - Its not posture, I have had a bike fit and in addition as mentioned I get the back pain even when using a sit up and beg Pashley. My bike position is exactly as it should be. I have a slight elbow bend when on the hoods , Slight bend when at the bottom of the pedal stroke. I have tried 60/90 and 110mm stems etc.

    Ultimately by back problems are present even when not on the bike but a more acute when on the bike. I have already found a Pilates class at the gym that I am going to go to, I have also found a place near work that does Hot Yoga which might be worth a shot.

    The aero bars are on and feel a bit strange at the mo so going to give a few days before reserving judgment !

    I wasn't referring to your position on the bike, but when off it. That you feel relaxed when doubled over suggests something is tight when upright causing back strain?
    I ride a bike. Doesn't make me green or a tree hugger. I drive a car too.
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