Late summer and fall are ideal times to go for a bike ride; however, if your bike doesn’t fit your body you could be causing unnecessary pain and injury. So whether you’re a serious cyclist or you bike occasionally to enjoy the scenery you’ll want to read this post to learn how to align your bike to fit your frame.
Adjust the saddle
Fine-tuning the height and tilt of your seat is going to have more impact than any other bike alteration. Your bike saddle should be level, fully support your bodyweight, and allow you to move around when necessary. If your seat is tilted upward it can lead to painful pressure points, and if the seat is tilted too far downward it causes you to slide forward when riding and puts undue pressure on your arms, hands, and knees. To move your seat to the correct height for your frame you need to first wear the clothing and shoes that you usually wear while riding. Now sit on your bike seat and place your feet on the pedals, you want your knees to fully extend in the downward position when you pedal backwards. If you rock side to side while doing this, it means that your seat is too high. After fixing your seat you should be able to place your feet in proper pedaling position with the balls of the feet over the pedals and you should have a slight bend in your knees.
Tweak the handlebars
If your handlebars are not in the correct position it can cause neck, back, shoulder, and hand pain. A proper reach allows you to comfortably use all the positions on the handlebars and to comfortably bend your elbows while riding. There are some more advanced adjustments for fancy bikes such as changing the handlebar width or height.
Common bike related pain and what it means
Your body is not perfectly symmetrical, you probably have one arm and or leg that is longer than the other, and so you will need to use a little trial and error to find the best fit for your body. The slightest adjustment can make a huge difference, and give you a pain free ride.
Pain in the knees while riding is very common and where the pain presents itself will tell you a lot about which adjustment you should make. A seat that is set too high will give you pain in the back of your knees, while a seat that is too low will cause pain in the front of your knees and cause your hips to rock side to side. Your pedal position will also have an impact in correcting knee pain.
Neck pain is an extremely common complaint for cyclist and this is usually the result of a bike that is too long for your frame or handlebars that are adjusted too low.
Pain or numbness in the feet
The main culprit in this case is your shoes, if you are wearing shoes that have a soft sole your feet will not distribute weight evenly over your pedals which can result in numbness and pressure points. Another possibility is that you are riding in too high of a gear, which results in more pressure where the foot meets the pedal.
Hand pain and saddle sores
The cure for both of these aliments is to buy better gear. For hands, try wearing biking gloves, and for the saddle sores, try buying a seat that will adjust for your individual needs. For example, women have wider pelvises and there are seats that will accommodate for this.
There’s no reason to live in pain, especially pain that comes from doing the things you love. Adjusting your bike will help you have better body alignment, less pain and pressure points, and can even make you a more efficient rider. In this case it’s a win-win!
At Structura, we are concerned with the overall alignment and function of your body, and we recommend aligning your bike to your body to help you stay active and live pain free.
Please contact us today for any information needed related to massage or structural integration. 801-897-8711