Whether you’re dusting your bicycle off after a winter of storage or gearing up to set your personal best in the next 100-mile road race, become more efficient in the saddle by considering these pre-season precautions.
Jim Miller, cyclist, physical therapist and the clinical director at Tidewater Physical Therapy’s Laburnum location in Richmond, says he often hears cyclists say that they are uncomfortable on their bicycles. He advises getting fitted at the beginning of cycling season this month.
“You shouldn’t be uncomfortable because of the position of your bike,” he says. “Any discomfort should come from exertion.”
Miller recommends that riders who spend more than two hours on a bike on a single ride should be properly fitted. Riders who cycle for 30 to 45 minutes in one sitting, and who experience neck or back pain, should also consider a professional bike fit. Physical therapists fit athletes to their bicycles from a biomechanical perspective.
“We take into account balances and imbalances in strength and flexibility and position you on your bike that way,” Miller says. “How long are your legs? How long is your torso? How far can you reach your arms? It’s very personalized. We do a head to toe strength and flexibility screen to see how people will be able to support themselves, and propel themselves, on the bike.”
You might have the leg length to set your seat at a certain place, but if you don’t have the hamstring flexibility to accommodate that height, it could lead to back pain.
Keep your body fit for your bike.
Just as Miller takes strength and flexibility into account when fitting clients to their bikes, personal and sports performance trainer Ruth Middleton reminds all cyclists that “it is key to have strong glutes and hamstrings, good hip stability and a strong core.”
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