The right set-up for your bike is important for all cyclists. Whether you're a casual rider or a top-class athlete, there are many aspects to consider to ensure an efficient and comfortable ride.
Most bike shops will only adjust your bike to suit your current body position, but they will not take in to consideration the adaptability of the human body. At Physioimpulse we consider the biomechanical limitations your body may present as well as the measurements of your bike, establishing an optimal balance between the two in order to ensure a maximally efficient, pain free and sustainable ride (Dinsdale and Dinsdale, 2011).
What common limitations could I have?
Leg length discrepancy -
Studies have shown up to 70% of the population presents with some form of leg length discrepancy, whether its bony or soft-tissue related (Hanada et al. 2001; Kaufman et al. 1996). For many people, this can be a cause of lower back, knee or foot pain and is often overlooked in cycling. If significant, we can often resolve such imbalances through the use of cleat wedges or orthotics, or by addressing related mechanical problems (Dinsdale and Williams, 2010).
Thoracic spine immobility -
In order to sustain a good riding posture, in addition to flexibility, a cyclist requires an adequate amount of spinal mobility (McHardy et al., 2006; Schulz and Gordon, 2010). If your upper back is particularly stiff and rounded, you may struggle to adopt more aerodynamic and comfortable positions from your seat to handlebars. Through manual therapy and a bespoke home exercise programme, we can help to reduce limitations of your spinal movement.
Torso-to-leg ratio -
People come in all different shapes and sizes. This can also effect the set up of your bike position. For example, those with long legs but a short torso may find adopting a dominant riding position more difficult if they can reach the pedals with no problem but not the handle bars. By addressing your flexibility and bike set up, we can provide an optimal balance to match your body type.
Muscular tightness -
Tight muscles are the most common form of functional limitation that can reduce the power of your ride but can also lead to pain. Tightness surrounding the hips can also externally rotate your lower limbs, which can lead to mal-tracking of your knees whilst pedalling and potentially cause knee and ankle pain if not appropriately accounted for. Through manual therapy, and a tailored home exercise programme, we can help to increased your overall flexibility, comfort and power output on your bike (Peveler, 2008).
Arthritis / spinal degeneration -
Many people can source their pain to arthritic or degenerative changes around their joints or spine, particularly as their age increases. Through careful adaptation of the forces applied to specific joints, we can reduce stress on key areas of the body which may normally feel additional strain, whilst also maintaining the power of your ride.
Physioimpulse Chartered Physiotherapists