The Problem That Plagues Cyclists

The first bicycles were marketed in the 1830s and were expensive and exhausting to operate. In the 1880s, the first “safety” bicycle was developed, with wheels of the same moderate size, pneumatic tires, and pedals. Suddenly, cycling became a popular pastime. Physicians began to debate the health benefits and hazards of cycling, with some calling it the century’s greatest contribution to health, while others warned of its dangers. Aside from the obvious — cyclists running into each other, horses, pedestrians or lampposts — there was also “kyphosis bicyclistarum,” otherwise known as “cyclist’s spine.” It was a condition brought on by stooping over bicycle handlebars and thought to lead to all sorts of disfigurements. Today, cyclists are better educated and know that movement is the key. Cycling puts you in the same position as the desk, so it’s important to do exercises the encourage extension and rotation in the mid-back. These include swimming, yoga, and Pilates, but anything that gets you moving is beneficial.