One of the toughest things I’ve had to adapt to since being back on the bike is the idea of riding with a relaxed posture. Elbows bent, shoulders and neck relaxed. It’s always been second nature to me to ride with straight arms, which pushes my shoulders up, so I’m a bit hunched at the neck.
I’ve read articles in magazines and on web sites, chapters in books, and heard from experienced cyclists to relax. “Bend those elbows!” they say. I comply immediately. For about a minute and a half.
When I was being fitted for the new bike, the salesperson had to remind me several times to bend my elbows and drop my shoulders. “I know it,” I said. “But it’s hard to break a bad habit.”
So this afternoon, I decided to concentrate on riding relaxed. I bent my elbows as I pulled out of the driveway, and pretty much kept them that way. The position felt all right, but not all-out comfortable. I tried varying the amount of bend in the elbows. Mostly, that just helped me move around on the bike. Any change is good for comfort, but I’m not discovering that one go-to position that I’d like to have. Then, the hills come, and I’m sitting back on the saddle with my hands on top of the bar. Once the road flattens out, I’m searching again for the elusive go-to position. When my hands are on the hoods, the handlebar blocks my view of the front hub, which is as it is supposed to be, from what I’ve read. So, I must be in more or less the right position. But it just doesn’t feel normal. What’s a fella to do?