August 9, 2005

    I hope you can give me some advice as to what kind of bike to get.
    Right now I have a mountain bike that I do not like because of the way my posture is on it. All my weight is on my arms and hands; after riding about half an hour my fingers get tingly like when your hand goes to sleep.
    I want to get a bike that would allow me to sit more ergonomically correct (upright) and, I hope, be able to ride for longer periods of time. Someone suggested I get a hybrid.
    I live in the Lincoln Park neighborhood of Chicago and all my riding is around the city.

Phyllis F.

    Unlike most parents, I find bad posture one of the easiest things to correct.
    But first let’s talk basics. Except for the posture problem, do you like your bike? I mean, do you like the color, how fast you can go on it, how it handles, how you look on it? If you answered "yes" to all of these, it seems wasteful to get a new bike when you can fix the posture thing easily.
    A lot has to do with the upside-down L-shaped piece of metal that connects the handlebar to the bike. We call this piece the handlebar stem.
    On many mountain bikes, the long part of the stem sticks way forward and sits almost parallel to the ground. Imagine that instead your bike had a stem about a third of the length, sticking almost straight up. This would make you lean over a lot less. If your bike, however, already has a stem like the latter, then you might just need a smaller bike (I mean one with smaller front-to-back length).
    I suggest you go to a trusted bike shop and ask them how much it’d cost to replace the handlebar stem—perhaps with an adjustable one that lets you dial in the posture you want.
    But what if you don’t really like the bike you have? Then I’d advise getting a new one. In my book Urban Bikers’ Tricks & Tips I’ve provided a bunch of guidance on matching your needs to bike types, plus a list of manufacturers with bike models specially made to fit women. Also look at my "Ask Mr Bike" Web page: Under BUYING BIKES click on "What type of bike to buy?"

Mr Bike

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