Bike shop conversation:
- “Riding my road bike my hands hurt, the seat hurts an my neck hurts.”
- “Changing hand positions should help. The rest, you have to get used to.”
- “Could a person put different handlebars on a bike? To sit up?
- “You’d have to change out a few other parts, or you can ride a different type of bike.”
The upright riding position dates back to the earliest days of cycling. From the nineteenth century onward, riders could sit up as if in a chair, whether they tooled around on velocipedes, penny-farthings, safety bicycles, roadsters or cruisers.
The rider-friendly features of uprights tend to encourage a different style of riding than the more racy oriented norm. In countries where the bicycle is a broadly accepted means of travel (like the Netherlands), people frequently ride simply for transportation, commuting or relaxed cycling, wearing everyday clothes.
Straight or slightly swept-back handlebars are a common denominator of upright bicycles, but there are additional elements such as a longer, upright stem (the part that attaches the handlebars to the frame), wider, shock-absorbing tires, a “relaxed” frame geometry (i.e. long chainstays and less-vertical head tubes and seat tubes) and a shock-absorbent, gel padded saddle. Upright bikes often have additional convenient features like racks, front- and rear wheel skirt guards, internal gear hubs and chainguards, allowing riders to carry luggage, shift gears reliably and protect their clothes.
The increased wind resistance riders encounter in the upright position does result in aerodynamic sacrifices. Road bikes enjoyed a wide popularity many countries. They’re appreciated for speed and long-distance riding because their handlebars encourage riding postures that help cut wind resistance – also, the bars’ shape and multiple points of access to the brakes offer multiple hand positions, useful for lengthy rides.
Our upright recreational cycling tours
Our racy road bike cycling tours