Monday, October 29, 2007

Stiffer bikes for stronger bones and weight loss

I really like the vibration absorbing properties of my old steel bikes as well as my Specialized Roubaix. The Roubaix features Specialized's "Zertz" inserts, which supposedly enhances the vibration damping qualities of my carbon fiber frame.

Zertz, apparently, is also making me fat. According to recent research, sitting on a vibrating platform can build bone mass and reduce fat. The vibrations apparently trigger stem cells into becoming bone instead of fat. The same principle is probably in action when you sit in a reclining chair, which tend to be very well padded to minimize vibrations.

To lose weight, then, you need more vibrations. Them hipster kids on the harsh-riding track bikes are so skinny, so maybe it's time for me to trade in my comfy Roubaix for something like the ultra stiff Scott CR1. Maybe Fatty needs to ride bumpy singletrack on a fully rigid mountain bike.

Read or listen: Vibrations Shown to Build Bone, Reduce Fat.


  1. So that's why I've gotten so fat. I got a Roubaix for RAAM last year. I'd been riding a steel road bike. I still ride a hardtail mountain bike though. I think the real problem is I haven't been riding any of my bikes enough.

  2. Kinda need to read to the end of the article. Vibrations cause stem cells to become bone cells instead of fat cells; however, once u r fat --- "One important thing to note is that the vibrations do not remove fat cells. Rubin said that once fat cells form, they tend to stick around. And vibrating won't get rid of them.

    "If you have a fat mouse, in order to get rid of the fat, you need to metabolize it, just as we've all learned," Rubin said. "You need to get those mice out running marathons or pumping iron, or whatever it is that mice do to reduce their fat mass."

    Scientists are pretty clear that the techniques for reducing fat mass will work in humans, too."

    Or riding bike at 80-90% heart rate.

  3. So that's what my problem is! I gimped my wrist a few weeks ago and started riding my steel hybrid again, and this weekend I found that I'd slipped back into the Clydesdale Club (the name lovingly given to those of us who are above 200 pounds) after several months of losing weight while riding my aluminum Trek 1200.

    Or, maybe I just need to ride more and eat less.

  4. Anon, it makes it so much harder to blame something else if I'm actually better informed!

    Noah, don't believe that ridiculous propoganda that you should ride more and eat less. You need to BUY NEW GEAR to lose weight! You too, Rob.

  5. I need to ride my wife's mid-90's Specialized Sirrus then. That's as stiff and unyielding as any High School Nun I've ever had...

  6. Not so fast. The study was done at 90Hz and 0.2g. The frequency is just about right for riding over 4" cobbles at 20mph, but you'll probably need a pretty squishy bike to keep the acceleration that low. Vibrate too hard and you're killing cartilage faster than you're building bone.

  7. Art saves the day! We all need new squishy bikes that will maximize the benefit of bumpy riding while minimizing the damage.