How to Ergonomically Set Up Your Bike for a Proper Fit (Part 1 of 2)

Categories: Industrial Health

June is Colorado Bike Month!

The weather is getting nicer outside where cyclists all alike, whether competitive or recreational, want

to get on their bicycles and enjoy riding outdoors. When getting the bikes back out for use, a bike fit

would be a great consideration when there has been an injury over the holiday season, weight gain,

purchase of a new bike, or letting someone else borrow your ride. It is great to blow the dust off the

bike, but we need to do the same for our bodies. No matter the reason for initially getting involved into

cycling, whether commuting, racing, or participating in a family day ride, how you feel on the bike is

what is important.

There are angles, positions, and ergonomics that need to be considered when spending some time in

the saddle. Each bicycle is different. The most common bike fit errors include saddle heights that are

too high or low, handle bar reach that is either too long or short, and misalignments of the pedal and

shoe.

Good flexibility of the hamstrings, quadriceps, and gluteal muscles is crucial. These muscles generate

the majority of the pedaling force.  Equally important to proper bike fit is a rider’s physical condition.

Riders should have their bike fit re-examined after bad falls or crashes due to possible re-orientation of

handlebars, brakehoods, cleats, or saddle. Proper stretching, balance, and flexibility exercises help with

coordination of cycling related skills, such as breaking and cornering. Changes in riders’ strength and

flexibility affect the ability to attain certain positions on the bicycle and also may require them to re-

examine their bike fit.

Proper bicycle fit will minimize discomfort and possible overuse injury, and ensure safe bicycle

operation. Common bicycling complaints include front knee pain, neck pain, lower back pain, hamstring

tendinitis, hand numbness or pain, foot numbness or pain, and ilio-tibial band tendintis. Bicycle fit is an

individual matter that reflects a person’s coordination, flexibility, strength, and skeletal parameters.

National Bike to Work Day is coming up on Wednesday, June 28, 2017, and this would be a great

community event to participate in.

It is about the bike fitting to you, NOT you to the bike. Cycling should be about enjoyment, not pain.

Physical therapists are health care professionals who diagnose and manage individuals of all ages, who

have medical problems or other health related conditions that limit their abilities to move and perform

functional activities in their daily lives. They examine each individual and develop a plan of care using

treatment techniques to promote the ability to move, reduce pain, restore function, and prevent

disability. Physical therapists also work with individuals to prevent the loss of mobility by developing

fitness and wellness oriented programs for healthier and more active lifestyles.

If you would like to have a free screen to have any physical issues addressed, learn more about bike fits,

or learn more about our clinic, please visit our website www.coloradoinmotion.com. Amy LaTendresse Glaser, PT, DPT, OCS, COMT, FAAOMPT, BikePT bike fitter can be reached at amy@coloradoinmotion.com or (970) 221-1201.