An innovator's mission to reduce back pain and bicycling injuries

Not all bicycle riders know how to prevent injuries to the lower spine that can come from cycling for an extended period of time. A young innovator from India is on a mission to reduce back pains and injuries through an innovative solution.

People ride bicycles for exercise, recreation, and as a primary means of transportation. Over 50 percent of the human population knows how to ride a bike,1 but not all riders know how to prevent injuries—particularly to the lower spine—that can come from cycling for an extended period of time. A young innovator from India is on a mission to reduce back pains and injuries through an innovative solution. 

When I completed a 300-kilometer bike ride, I felt some pain in my lower back. This led me to think about cyclists who go for longer rides, especially endurance cyclists.

—Kunj, Dedhia, 17-year-old Cyclist and Inventor

It is a general misconception that knees are particularly prone to injuries due to overuse, since legs do most of the moving when riding on a cycle. But a study of professional road cyclists showed that 45 percent of bicycling overuse injuries were related to the lower back, compared to only 23 percent to the knees. Of the cyclists studied, 58 percent had experienced lower-back pain in the previous 12 months.2

Kunj Dedhia, a budding innovator from Mumbai, India, experienced low-back pain after completing long bike rides. The 17-year-old realized that much of the cause was due to incorrect posture, and that back pain could be prevented by making small, but constant efforts to fix back posture while cycling.

Inspired by the Intel® Innovation Generation program, he created Cyclos, a smartphone app that alerts riders every time their posture needs adjustment. Sensors placed on riders’ backs read movement and muscle activity. The app processes the information and causes the system to vibrate when riders move out of alignment, so they can adjust their posture as needed.

Bicycling is growing in popularity since it offers people a fast, flexible, inexpensive, and eco-friendly way to travel while getting some exercise and avoiding traffic congestion.

By some estimates, more than 2 billion bikes are in use around the world today, and that number could rise to 5 billion by 2050.1 With Cyclos, Kunj’s innovation can help prevent a corresponding rise in the number of cyclists with lower back injuries.

Product and Performance Information

1Sibilski, Leszek J., The World Bank, “Cycling is Everyone’s Business,” Feb. 4, 2015.  https://blogs.worldbank.org/publicsphere/cycling-everyone-s-business
2Cycling Weekly, February 25, 2017. http://www.cyclingweekly.com/videos/fitness/lower-back-pain-dont-blame-the-bike