Bike riding is great exercise and lots of fun, setting up your bike correctly before you begin your ride will improve your performance on your bike, making sure that you get the most out of your ride! When cycling it is important to make sure that you’re not in pain, when you’re in pain you may be injuring yourself, your performance drops and you don’t enjoy your ride as much as you should!
When adjusting your bike’s saddle or seat height, it is important that it isn’t positioned too low. If it is too low, this puts pressure onto your knees, especially your knee cap. To avoid this, set the height of your seat so that your knee is angled at approximately 15 degrees (or slightly bent) at the bottom of the pedaling motion or when you are in the ‘straight’ leg position on your bike. Make sure that you keep your knee marginally bent when your leg is extended. When your knee is bent to its maximum position (i.e. the top pedal position ‘top dead centre’) your knee should be flexed to approximately 110-115 degrees.
Make sure that your seat isn’t set too far forwards, when pedaling downwards your knee should be vertically in line with the pedal. If your seat is placed too far forwards this will position your knee too far over your ankle when pedaling downwards, putting pressure onto your knee cap. This increases your risk of an injury due to overuse, affecting the overall function of your leg.
The upper surface of the seat should be in line with the surface of the road, make sure that it is comfortable without putting too much pressure onto the saddle region.
The bike’s handle bars shouldn’t be positioned too far from or too close to the seat. Setting the handlebars too close to the seat will force your spine into a bent position, putting strain onto your lower back, upper back and neck.
Positioning the handle bars too far out or too low, creates muscle tension in your shoulders and neck forming neck pain, headaches and shoulder tension. Set your handle bars at a relaxed distance and height, allowing you to easily control your bike. To reduce the amount of stress that is placed on your body, your shoulder muscles (upper traps) need to be comfortable, slightly angle your elbows and make sure that you aren’t holding onto the handlebars too tightly.
Getting a Physio to help you set up your bike will enhance your ride, reducing the risk of injury whilst you are cycling meaning that you can cycle more! Our Marion practice offers bike fitting services provided by a Physiotherapist. To make an enquiry or booking visit this link.