Hello all! As the weather is improving, we are all looking to the outdoors for some fun in the sun! One activity that may be on your mind is dusting of that bike either for a leisurely stroll or a good workout. Not only should you check the tire pressure, brake cables and oil the chain, but also consider a “do-it-at-home” bike fit. Having a correct bike fit will not only improve your performance and increase ease with which you ride but decrease risk of future injury. This allows you to maximize participation and decrease the likelihood of injury. Below is a list of objectives to consider when fitting your bike. If you have questions or concerns, please feel free to come see us at Fyzical – Bellingham. We have many therapists who would be more than happy to perform bike fit.
- Cleat position (if your bike has cleats)
- Fore/aft- Position of the foot relative to the pedal. Forward placement of the cleat increases calf involvement and ankle plantar flexion, while aft placement requires increased dorsiflexion of the ankle. For most individuals, placing the cleat aft as far as possible with adequate dorsiflexion is best.
- Rotation - this depends on hip alignment and tibial rotation.
- Width - how far the foot is from the inside of the pedal. Typically, this is determined by the width the hips. For most individuals, wider is better. This means moving the cleat to the inside of the foot.
- Seat Height
- A bend of 25-40 degree angle of the knee when pedal is the furthest distance away from the hip joint. Increase your knee angle for elevation changes and a lesser knee angle for flatter rides.
- Fore/aft position
- Knee over pedal spindle (KOPS). This would indicate moving the seat forward or backward to align the knee above the middle of the pedal at maximum knee bend. This can be changed dependent on lower extremity anatomy, but for most individuals having the front of their knee over the pedal spindle is going to reduce likelihood of further injury.
- Handle bar height
- The amount the front handle bars drop in relation to seat height. This can be lowered or raised for several reasons including hip flexibility, low back pain, thoracic curve, aerodynamics or power increase for hills. For the novice biker, higher is better for reduced low back injuries.
- Handle bar width
- Wider is better for increased breathing ease and improved bike handling, while a narrow width improves aerodynamics.
Again, if performing bike changes at home, the most important factor is to always assess what one change does to the big picture before adjusting the next piece. Always feel free to reach out to us, we have several therapists with years of bike fitting excellence! And always stop by your local bike shop to make sure you bike is tuned up for the summer.
Now get out and enjoy that sun!