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I ride about 6 miles a day to work and back. I would like to ride more, but because of a bum shoulder I am increasingly getting into dangerous situations and I want to give up riding.

I have a Giant bicycle that I got used off a guy. It's a fine bike, but the angle is such that all my weight is pressing down toward my hands. I have dislocated my shoulder at least five times from things that should not have even caused a problem (e.g. I ran over a walnut and my shoulder dislocated. Another time a dog barked and the startle made my shoulder dislocate. Both times I fell off the bike in the middle of the street).

Hopefully in the near future I can get some surgery to rectify the shoulder problems. But I am looking for a bike that I can use for getting to work and back, with a more upright seating position that would put the weight on my butt, not on my arms. I would also appreciate a bike whose gears do not ghost shift while going up a hill. Any suggestions for what I should be looking for in a more suitable bike?

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    Yeah, a more upright style bike would be better, or, in the extreme, you could get a recumbent. – Daniel R Hicks Nov 10 '15 at 13:06
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    Ghost shifting is nothing to do with the rest of the question. That's caused by your frame flexing under load, or the cable tension changing as you pedal harder, or the rear derailer bending under load and changing for you. Its either a tweak needed to your transmission, or the bike's too lightweight for you. – Criggie Nov 10 '15 at 22:51
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    I'd try the townie bike because it's a pretty cheap option, but you may be better off looking at recumbents ASAP, specifically a recumbent trike. That avoids the whole problem of falling off, because even (especially?) after surgery you may not cope with falls very well for quite a while. If you can afford a trike, and it seems plausible that it will work where you want to ride and park, at least start looking now so you have an idea of what your options are – Móż Nov 11 '15 at 9:20
  • Not just upright. Also consider hand angle and how the bike handles. Your shoulder is going to be more stable with certain hand positions. Pick a geometry that you can steer with one hand let that other just be along for the ride. I tore a rotator cuff and getting back into biking a mountain bike was most comfortable for me. – paparazzo Nov 11 '15 at 14:26
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    Realistically after shoulder surgery you won't be riding for weeks to months, you may want to take that into account when choosing how much to spend and when. – Chris H Nov 11 '15 at 20:03
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I don't have the rep here yet to upvote or +1 a comment re: @jqning 's answer so instead; I offer this "I second what he said about Townie." I suggest Townie (w/ admitted/disclosed bias) because it is what I ride. I don't have a bad shoulder but I do have 1 artificial knee, 1 artificial ankle and nerve-damage in my right hand; all of which limit mobility. The model I chose is a 2011 18-spd 2200d electra. It suits my physical handicaps more-than adequately; being a "bike-person" few of my materiel possessions out-rank it. it would be almost impossible to replace; if I had to I'd go with their current model; which would not be optimal for me...but for someone with shoulder problems -- it would.

the problem with your current bike is the stance. you're pitched too far above and in-front-of the bike's center of gravity.

for your shoulder, you want to be hanging-back...behind it--like on a cruiser-style frame--- where the handles are elongated and reach back (even downward a bit) to get to your hands. **This needs to be done comfortably, safely and most of all, the bike still needs exceptional vel. & accel. (because it's a commuter) and primarily, **it needs to be fun to ride.****

check out their specs .... test drive an Electra -- the current models comes in 7speed (1 up front, the 1st gear in back is extra-extra low-low). try similarly-designed-bikes too. if I could list other brands/models I would...well Schwinn and the brand you have now likely produce a similar style - many of the larger brands have knock-offs; some =ly good; some (possibly) better; depends on your budget. This style can easily (prob. w/o a custom/after-mkt handlebar, seat, etc) be adjusted to lower your center of gravity so when ur ON the bike, it takes all (an extremely significant amount of...)the pressure off your shoulders and redirects/displaces it to parts your body that can bear it.

bottom line - in your question you said "...I want to give up riding." even though I take this a bit out-of-context...there it is; in the lead of your question - if you really did? you would not be on SE asking other OCD socio-paths what to do.

The bike is the problem - scrap it:

  1. try a bunch of new bikes
  2. new designs
  3. new brands

Change "I want to give up" to "I should change bikes- don't give up."

Hope I don't sound like an advert-- the company no longer manufactures the 2200d - which to me, is a neg on their business strategy. in all fairness this statement should bring some objectivity back into my inherently biased answer.

If you LIKE riding; please don't quit. it beats walking, it's healthier and safer on your bones & joints than jogging and is comparatively FREE as opposed to a combustion engine, electric or hybrid ANYTHING. ALSO; the energy spent makes YOU healthier, as opposed to the spent energy of other vehicles; which mainly damage pocketbooks, the economy and the air.

Stay up, Tapper

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  • wow! thx for the positive feedback guys! – Tapper7 Nov 19 '15 at 13:07
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Look into a style of bike called a townie, or town bike, or maybe even a cruiser.

These bikes seat you almost upright with all your weight on your butt.

If you don't find the style by name, you are basically looking for a bike with handlebars higher than the saddle. You might even say, the higher the better but you'll need to test-ride to be sure.

The ghost shifting is a maintenance problem. But be aware that low quality components can be impossible to tune into accurate and consistent shifts.

But be aware that none of this will keep you from crashing into walnuts or getting scared off your bike by barking dogs.

EDIT: I meant to also include recumbent bikes, especially the ones with steering under the seat aka under seat steering aka USS.

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    The question was for suggestions on a bike that will keep the weight off my arms, not for suggestions on how to stop from crashing into walnuts or being startled by a dog. – nonremovable Nov 10 '15 at 13:08
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    I have no suggestions, and made no suggestions, about how to stay on your bike. I myself ran over what appeared to be a small piece of dog food yesterday and crashed in front of a team of lunch-eating construction workers. A few months ago I switched bikes to accommodate a broken arm which was in a cast and I crashed that while taking a corner too sharply. My intention was to reinforce that the bike which protects your shoulders can still injure your shoulders. – jqning Nov 10 '15 at 13:13
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    I see. Yes but I think I could minimize shoulder injury if the weight of my body was not bearing down on my arms. Thank you for the suggestion, I will look into these townie or cruiser bikes. – nonremovable Nov 10 '15 at 13:16
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    also bikes known as dutch bikes, or dutchies, or sit-up-and-beg bikes. The aim of them all is the same, to move your centre of gravity back towards the saddle (so that your butt is taking your weight), and to bring your back into a more vertical position. – PeteH Nov 10 '15 at 13:56
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You can make much more comfortable bike by fitting stem raiser (+5") and adjustable stem, I've used a few made by Zoom, +5". You don't have get a cruiser bike to get a cruiser handlebar...

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Mentioned in the comments and in one line in an answer, it is overly ignored.

Recumbent bikes or trikes might be the solution.

There is no weight on your hands at all, there is less weight on your behind which is a big step further than sitting up bikes.

Recumbents come in many different styles, from slow and comfy, can not fall off trikes to super fast racers, both as bikes and as trikes.

It takes a bit of adjusting, mentally, to switch to a recumbent.
Learning to ride one is mostly easy, a few minutes in a safe area, like an empty parking lot and a few days taking it easy when starting from stand.

For those people who fall because they are easily spooked or because they have a very poor sense of balance, trikes are available. Almost impossible to fall off one of those, they can even be outfitted with safety belts. And do not think a trike has to be slow, trikes with full fairings usually beat the time of top racers, often by quite a percentage.

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First of all, make sure your saddle position is correct. With proper seating position and strong enough pedalling the stress on your hands and shoulder is greatly reduced. Otherwise professional cyclists wouldn’t be able to ride for dozens of hours per week.

If saddle position alone doesn’t help you should be able to raise the bar with a different stem and more fork shaft spacers.

If it’s impossible to solve your problem with the existing bicycle I’d suggest a recumbent.

Cruisers and Citybikes are highly inefficient, heavy and have lots of aerodynamic drag.

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  • -1: Plenty of people comfortably do 6 miles on Cruisers and Citybikes and they are more popular than recumbent for a reason. – mattnz Nov 10 '15 at 23:38
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    @mattnz Because BSOs are cheaper than recumbents? – Michael Hampton Nov 11 '15 at 6:35
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    This answer does completely miss the point, though. Professional cyclists don't have wrecked shoulders that dislocate at the sight of a bump, for starters. And the changes required are more than you can get with non-crazy tweaks of stem and saddle position (you could reverse the stem, and probably satill ride the bike) – Móż Nov 11 '15 at 9:19
  • he asked about his shoulder, not his ass. -1 – Tapper7 Dec 31 '15 at 9:24
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    Take a road bike and while riding hover your hands above the handlebar. You’ll immediately start to pedal stronger and faster to keep up the weight. That’s one of the reasons why professionals are able to ride their aggressive positions: Because they pedal much stronger. – Michael Dec 31 '15 at 15:12

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