Group therapy

As I get around by bike, I thought it was time I checked out the various newsgroups devoted to cycling. The most established are forums like rec.bicycles.misc, rec.bicycles.off- road and rec.bicycles.rides. There are also national bike groups set up by cycling surfers in places such as Australia.

I was hoping to pick up some tips on interesting routes or places to get deals on cycle gear. But some of the busiest discussions were on medical matters.

"How to prevent haemorrhoidal discomfort?" was the first posting I came across. The anonymous American writer sounded desperate. "Please give me some suggestions on how to gain relief from this problem. I am in my twenties, single, male and had no prior problems until I started to race competitively. Thanks for the help; I wear some of the best cycling shorts available and I have a Vetta saddle. I mainly road-race." But he had yet to get a response.

"Does anyone have any experience with cycling while suffering from sciatica?" Tim wanted to know. This obviously touched a nerve (couldn't resist that one), as riders suffering with the condition wrote in from all over the world.

"I have a touch of it now and again but relate it to a fall from a bicycle a couple of years ago," replied a doctor from Ireland. "Most very localised sciaticas (in a particular part of the leg) are due to slipped disc," he continued. "Whether you should or should not cycle with this is impossible to say. The chances are statistically that it will settle down eventually. Exercise is recommended but if it's making it worse then maybe you should try a substitute for a while, like walking or swimming."

Ray from Australia agreed with the doctor's advice, but added his own. "I wonder if you have tried 'hanging'. (No, not by the neck ... although this would probably alleviate the symptoms!)" He suggested fixing brackets on to the wall, from which you suspend yourself, resting on your elbows. "OK ... so it sounds crazy. But I personally have 'fixed' my back when I have had similar symptoms to those described."

Henry from Glasgow had found yet another technique for dealing with his sciatica. It sounded difficult. "What I had to do was lie face down on the floor and raise my shoulders off the ground, keeping my pelvis in contact with the floor. I had to do this for 30 seconds about 12 times a day."

Where else but the newsgroups can you get such a variety of detailed advice for free? But after all that sciatica, I couldn't face the request from an American woman for advice on something she called "Pelvis Tilt".

To be fair, the cycle forums are not all about medical complaints.

In addition to the many equipment questions and cycle campaign news, there was also an alarming discussion on the growing threat cyclists face from muggers. One cycle route in Wales has become notorious for such incidents.

A British cyclist visiting South Africa reported that he had been robbed by four youths when he wheeled his bike across a pavement in Johannesburg. It brought home how vulnerable cyclists are when they are not actually pedalling.

But a South African writer was not sympathetic. "You are extremely lucky and, dare I say it, a bit foolhardy ... I wouldn't recommend anyone taking a cycling holiday in South Africa - unless in a very large group. Mugging is a certainty"n

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Ashdown Group: Junior Web Developer - Kent - £40,000

    £30000 - £40000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Junior Web Developer - ne...

    Recruitment Genius: Production Team Leader / Chargehand

    Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A vacancy has arisen for a Chargehand to join ...

    Ashdown Group: Client Services Manager - Relationship Management - London

    £30000 - £32000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, int...

    Recruitment Genius: Credit Controller / Customer Service

    £18000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This rapidly expanding business...

    Day In a Page

    Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

    Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

    One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
    The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

    The enemy within

    People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
    'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

    'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

    Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
    Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

    Autumn/winter menswear 2015

    The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
    'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

    'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

    Army general planning to come out
    Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

    What the six wise men told Tony Blair

    Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
    25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

    25 years of The Independent on Sunday

    The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
    Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
    Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

    Smash hit go under the hammer

    It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
    Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

    The geeks who rocked the world

    A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
    Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

    Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

    Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
    America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

    America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

    These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
    A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

    A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

    A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
    Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

    Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

    A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
    Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

    Growing mussels

    Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project