Bike-Fit: the right position on the bike
Whether you are riding to work or across the country, you should be comfortable on your bike. If you have neck, back, or knee pain, saddle sores, or hand or foot numbness, your bicycle probably doesn't fit you properly.
Good bike fit can also improve your pedalling efficiency and aerodynamics and actually make you faster.
Here are the basic bike-fitting principles:
Handlebars too high, too low, too close, or too far away, may cause you neck, shoulder, back, and hand pain. This can be resolved by a simple intervention such as changing the handlebar width or height.
Knee pain is usually associated with a seat position that is too high or low or far forward or back. Improper bike shoe or cleat position can also cause knee pain.
Another cause of knee pain is using too high a gear. Try to use a gear that allows you to pedal quickly, from 70 to 100 strokes per minute.
Neck pain is another common cycling complaint, and is usually the result of riding a bike that is too long or having handlebars that are too low. Tight hamstring and hip flexor muscles can also cause neck pain by forcing your spine to round or arch, and your neck to hyperextend.
Foot pain or numbness is often the result of wearing soft-soled shoes. Special shoes designed for cycling have stiff soles that distribute pressure evenly over the pedal. This also helps you pedal more efficiently. Foot pain can also be caused by using too high a gear which results in more pressure where the foot meets the pedal.
Saddle sores can be caused by your cycling clothing. Cyclists typically wear shorts made without seams - and no underwear - to eliminate sources of chafing and pressure points. Cycling shorts also have padded liners that provide more comfort than street clothes. Don't wear cycling shorts loose, it is essential they fit tight on you !
To get a good start in cycling, the first step is choosing the right bike size and adopting the correct position on the bike. Do not spend money buying the wrong bike ! Talk to the specialists and get a bike fit done.
Bike fit is available in our SportActive Cycling Centre in Mallorca.
We did NOT have to correct Sean Kelly's position on the bike ! He is studying the machine to make sure it'll be perfect for you.
submitted on 18/6/2010