Have you ever heard of a “bike fit?” Bike fits are commonly done with road cyclists… James and I have both had them. An expert will spend hours with you adjusting your bike, measuring you in weird ways, and doing all sorts of math…all to ensure you have perfect riding form. Bicyclists tend to spend hours in the saddle, and so bike fits can save riders from things like hand numbness, back pain, poor circulation, etc. It’s also supposed to give competitive cyclists an edge in races, which is why people fork over hundreds of dollars without batting an eye for bike fits. Competitive bikers LOOOOVE to spend money on “faster”.
I’ve been thinking recently, as much driving as we’ve been doing lately, that someone should offer “RV fits” in the same way. Not because we want to go faster in the RV obviously, but for the other reason. We RVers drive for hours on end, and without proper posture and seat adjustment, we’re just as vulnerable to injuries and ailments as those bikers are. Which brings me to this:
It’s not quite the same as paying someone $800 to put you in a wind tunnel and blow air over you while they move your seat 2 millimeters (ahem… James…), but hopefully this picture can give you a little guidance on what healthy driving posture looks like. Below is a list of The Fit RVs recommendations on proper driving posture.
How To Adjust Your Seat For Long Drives:
- Recline the back rest to an angle of 100-110 degrees. This will decrease the pressure on your spine, and improve circulation through the hips.
- Adjust the lumbar support so you feel even pressure all along your back. You shouldn’t feel more pressure on your upper back, for example. A lumbar cushion can be added when that happens.
- Align the bottom seat cushion so your hips and knees are in line. Again, you should feel even pressure all along the backs of your legs. Avoid the “bucket seat” effect…when your seat tilts so that your hips are down low and your knees up high. This will affect your circulation.
- Make sure your knees are bent around 120 degrees when the pedals are fully depressed. Any less than that will decrease the circulation in your legs.
- Move the seat forward enough so that you can keep your heels down when you depress either pedal.
- Bring the steering wheel down and toward you to lessen the strain on your shoulders, neck, and upper back.
- Forget 10 and 2! Instead, hold the steering wheel at 9 and 3 (or even lower). You’ll immediately notice your shoulders relaxing.
- Move the seat closer if you can’t grip the topmost portion of the wheel without locking the elbow or taking your shoulders off the back rest. Now that you’ve done this test, get your hands back to 9 and 3.
- Other than while turning, don’t hold the very top of the wheel with your one hand or any other grip that would have you reaching across your body. This is hard on your shoulders and will even throw your spine out of whack.
- Try to keep your wrists fairly neutral (straight) when driving. Bending them for long periods causes strain in the joint.
- Adjust the headrest so it’s just above your eyelids, and as close to the head as possible (2-3cm) and USE IT! It gives your neck a break from holding up that big brain of yours when you use the head rest.
- Always remove your wallet from your back pocket before driving. Sitting on a wallet can cause the pelvis to twist which places even more stress on the back.
So there ya go. The very first “RV fit,” to keep us all more comfy and healthy in the driver’s seat. That’ll be $300 please! Oh, just kidding. A nice comment below would be payment enough.
Stay healthy on the road, gang!
(Post originally seen on TheFitRV.com)