What is holding you back from riding your bike every day, other than your busy life? If you could change one thing about riding your bike, what would it be?
Suffering from neck pain, lower back pain, numb hands, numb feet and other aches and pains is largely due to an ill-fitting bike position.
Employing the services of a professional bike fitter is a common step that is missed when starting out to ride a bike regularly or when purchasing a new bike, but it is one of the most important.
If you wish to ride pain free and reduce the chance of injury visit your local bike fitter.
What is a Bike Fit and how can it benefit you?
All of us are different in terms of physique, fitness levels and aspirations. There are five contact points on the bike our bodies interact with. All of them can be adjusted, changed and moved to fit you better. A professional bike fit will look at each of these in detail, sometimes using high tech equipment, sometimes using rudimentary tools and many with different theories. All bike fitters have the same goals in mind:
- Enhancing overall rider comfort
- Preventing injuries
- Reducing or eliminating pain and numbness
- Reducing or eliminating discomfort associated with riding
- Reducing rider fatigue by enhancing efficiency
- Diagnosing saddle discomfort
- Improving overall performance on the bike
What are the fundamentals of a Bike Fit?
Your bike fitter will start with an informal interview. You will be asked about your current fitness levels, training times and aspirations. Past injuries, broken bones and any current fit issues will be discussed and recorded.
A physical assessment will then take place including flexibility tests and functional movement screens so the bike fitter can gauge if there is anything physical such as poor flexibly, lack of strength or poor mechanics, that might limit you in your position and riding style. Most of which can be accounted for and adjusted.
Your bike will be set up on a trainer and the bike fitter will watch you cycle for a while looking out for your personal habits and cycling style. Depending on what issues you have, the following adjustments can be made to your bike during a fit in varying degrees and depth:
- Shoe, insole and cleat adjustments (relatively small adjustments here can make a big difference in how your knees and hips move as you pedal, which could be the cause of discomfort in those areas)
- Crank length
- Saddle choice (largely over looked but essential to comfort and power production)
- Saddle height
- Saddle fore/aft position
- Saddle tilt
- Stem length and handle bar selection (for reach adjustments and handlebar width)
- Handlebar position (for both height and reach)
- Brake lever adjustments
After all the final adjustments have been made the fitter will measure your bike position and give you a detailed report including details of the physical assessment, adjustments made and the bike position measurements. Recommendations in equipment selection and any areas of improvement will also be noted.
How long will it take?
A professional bike fit should take a good amount of time to complete, especially if it is your first fitting. The whole process, from the initial interview to you walking away with a custom-fitted bike, could take anywhere between 1-3 hours.
What should I wear?
When you head out for your bike fit appointment, make sure you have your cycling clothes that you a regularly using. Getting a bike fit in anything other than the clothes you normally ride in could result in an improper fit. Also, bring the pedals and shoes that you normally ride in, even if you do not use clipless pedals.
Is that It?
A Bikefit is not an event, it’s a process. Over time, your bike fit will change due to injuries, changes in fitness levels, new goals, weight loss and increase/decrease in flexibility. If anything changes with your body, or if it has just been a year, it is a good idea to go get an updated bike fit.
Where Can I Get Fit?
There are a small number Bike Fit businesses in Mallorca, some dedicated to bikefit whiles others offer it as a secondary service. Bicimetrics in La Vileta, offers a large number of bikefit services and is the only company on the island to use the Retül and Gebiomized systems. Global Training near Placa de Barcelona offers bikefit services as well as physiotherapy and coaching services. Tauler Cycling in Son Serra de Marina offers bikefit services using the Specialized BG Fit system as well as coaching services. The Footbed Company in the Palma centre also offers bikefit services.
Who should get a Bike Fit?
Anyone who rides a bike will benefit from a bike fit. Whether you are training sixteen hours a week for an event or you commute regularly to work. Young, old, male and female all have individual considerations. An experienced bike fitter will guide you through the process, tailoring your bike fit to your physical characteristics and personal goals.
Written by Jon Sowerby (Bicimetrics)