Fit your bike to avoid injury.
While cycling is relatively easy on your joints, because of the constrained position and repetitive nature of the sport, it can be easy to develop overuse injuries. These injuries are often attributed to ramping up training mileage too quickly or being improperly positioned on your bike. Training errors can be avoided by following a proper training schedule. Fitting your bike to your body—not the other way around—helps achieve proper positioning.
It’s best to see a professional bike-fitter at a physical therapy clinic or your local bike shop, but here are some tips to alleviate common pains associated with cycling.
Cause: foot positioned too far back on pedal
Solution: move foot forward on the pedal by moving your cleat further back
Cause: foot positioned too far forward on pedal
Solution: move foot back on the pedal by moving your cleat further forward
Anterior Knee Pain
Cause: saddle too low and/or too far forward
Solution: move saddle up so there’s a slight bend in the knee at the bottom of the stroke
Posterior Knee Pain
Cause: saddle too low and/or too far back
Solution: move saddle so there is a moderate to slight bend in the knee
Lower Back Pain
Cause: stem too short
Solution: get a longer stem
Cause: bars too low
Solution: raise your bars by getting a more upright stem or moving headset spacers from the top of the stem to the bottom
Jason Lunden is a board-certified clinical specialist in sports physical therapy at Excel Physical Therapy in Bozeman and a clinical BikeFit Pro Fitter. For more information on bike fitting or injury prevention, visit excelptmt.com.