When you’re comfortable on the bike, you’ll ride with more power and confidence, but the top benefit of a quality bike fit is avoiding injury.
You turn you legs over around 10,000 times every time you ride two hours, so cycling can be a recipe for repetitive strain injuries. All three contact points (pedals, saddle and handlebars) can be adjusted to find YOUR ideal fit and avoid the most common cycling injuries.
Knees, lower back, feet/ankles wrists, shoulders and hips are the most common areas for injury. Pre-existing problems, such as poor flexibility, previous injuries, leg length imbalance, collapsed arches, can be accommodated through your bike fit if they are correctly diagnosed and understood.
Andy Pruitt wrote the definitive book on bike fit, “Complete Medical Guide to Cyclists”, and here are his top three rules.
- Make the bike fit the body, don’t make the body fit the bike: While improvements can be made in flexibility over time, it’s vital to make the bike fit you and not the other way around. Importantly, it’s not just the bike, the angle of your cleats and the arch support provided by your shoe affect the tracking of your knee, and the top injury among cyclists is patellar tendinitis, the inflammation of the tendon structure supporting the knee cap.
- Dynamic bike fit is better than static bike fit: When you are pedaling, your are constantly moving on the bike. As you pedal the angle of your foot changes throughout your pedal stroke. Can you replicate the exact angle at the bottom of your pedal stroke when you static on the bike? Angle measurements taken while your sitting motionless can vary dramatically with those taken while you’re pedaling.
- Remember the fit window. What works for a svelte 25 year old professional cyclist with a physio and masseuse may not work for you. Systems that fit you to a prescribed set of angles do not take into account critical variables, such as previous injuries, flexibility and the natural orientation of your feet (straight ahead, toe in or toe out). As a result, their recommendations are not sufficiently customised for you.
We can also you find the ideal balance between aerodynamics and comfort. Michael Hutchinson, author of Faster and winner of over 50 national titles explains, “Most of the drag comes from the rider, not the bike, and just because were fashioned by evolution for every purpose other than aerodynamics, doesn’t mean you don’t have to make the best of it”
There is little point putting you into your most aerodynamic position, however, if you are unable to breathe properly and lose 20% of your power and endurance. By adjusting your position and simultaneously measuring your power output and heart rate, we can objectively determine a balance point.
If aerodynamics are particularly important to reach your goals, we can experiment with more aggressive positions and give you body a chance to adapt to a new position over a period of weeks before measuring your power output again.