Biking is ideal for the times when you feel like getting out for some exercise but aren’t in the mood to run. It’s also great when you need to run a quick errand around town – it’s a shame to get in the car and drive just three minutes. Besides, biking is physically healthier than taking the car, it cheaper, and when you ride a bike you notice things about your neighborhood that you don’t see when you’re in the car. And, the fresh air is a welcome bonus. You can ride your bike year round, even in Michigan – there are some really nice days in the off season, plus its great time to tune up the bike, and yourself!
Whether you’re out for a leisure ride, or on the path of weight loss, it can all come to a screeching halt if pain or injury occur. But did you know that bicycle-related pain and injuries are commonly associated with poor bike fit. So if you have pain related specifically to cycling, you might have a bike fit problem.
Bike Fit Basics
– Keep a controlled but relaxed grip of the handlebars
– Change your hand position on the handlebars frequently for upper body comfort
– When pedaling, your knee should be slightly bent at the bottom of the pedal stroke
– Avoid rocking your hips while pedaling
Problems and Possible Solutions
Problem: Anterior (Front) Knee Pain
Possible causes are having a saddle that is too low, pedaling at a low cadence (speed), using your quadriceps muscles too much when pedaling, misaligned bicycle cleat for those who use clipless pedals, and muscle imbalance in your legs (strong quadriceps and weak hamstrings).
Problem: Neck Pain
Possible causes include poor handlebar or saddle position. A poorly placed handlebar might be too low, at too great a reach, or at too short a reach. A saddle with excessive downward tilt can be a source of neck pain.
Problem: Lower back pain
Possible causes include inflexible hamstrings, low cadence, using your quadriceps muscles too much in pedaling, poor back strength, and too-long or too-low handlebars.
Problem: Hamstring Tendinitis
Possible causes are inflexible hamstrings, high saddle, misaligned bicycle cleat for those who use clipless pedals, and poor hamstring strength.
Problem: Hand Numbness or Pain
Possible causes are short-reach handlebars, poorly placed brake levers, and a downward tilt of the saddle.
Problem: Foot Numbness or Pain
Possible causes are using quad muscles too much when pedaling, low cadence, faulty foot mechanics, and misaligned bicycle cleat for those who use clipless pedals.
Problem: Iliotibial Band Syndrome (ITBS)
Possible causes are too-high saddle, leg length difference, and misaligned bicycle cleat for those who use clipless pedals.
If you have questions on how your bike fits, or how to get on the right fitness program, we can help. Contact any of our clinics and one of our sports rehab specialists can get you rocking and rolling in no time!