Tuesday, 3 November 2009

Position and pain with your bike

Whether you are riding to the corner store or across the country, you should be comfortable on your bike. If you have pain — neck, back, or knee pain; saddle sores; or hand or foot numbness — your bicycle probably doesn't fit you properly.

You can eliminate most discomfort by making adjustments. A good bike fit can also improve your pedaling efficiency and aerodynamics, and actually make you faster

Adjusting the Seat

Your bike seat should be level to support your full body weight and allow you to move around on the seat when necessary.
Too much upward tilt can result in pressure points.
Too much downward tilt can make you slide forward while riding and put extra pressure on your arms, hands, and knees, which can lead to injury.

To adjust your seat height, wear your biking shoes and riding shorts and place your heels on the pedals.
As you pedal backwards, your knees should fully extend in the down position.
If your hips rock side to side, the seat is too high.
Now when you move your foot into the proper pedaling position, with the balls of your feet over the pedals, you'll have a slight bend in your knees.
You can also adjust the seat forward and backward. Place your feet on the pedals so the crank arms are parallel with the ground: the proper position will put your forward knee directly over the pedal axle.

Handlebar Height and Reach

If the handlebars are too high, too low, too close, or too far away, you may have neck, shoulder, back, and hand pain.

Knee pain is usually associated with a seat position that is too high or low or far forward or back. Improper bike shoe or cleat position can also cause knee pain.

In general, you'll have these kinds of knee problems with the wrong position:
• A seat that is too high will cause pain in the back of the knee.

• A seat that's too high also will cause your hips to rock side to side, which may cause discomfort.

• A seat that's too low or too far forward may cause pain in the front of the knee.

• Improper foot position on the pedal (or improper cleat alignment) can cause pain on the inside or outside of your knees.

Another cause of knee pain is using too high a gear. Try to use a gear that allows you to pedal quickly, from 70 to 100 strokes per minute.

Neck pain is another common cycling complaint, and is usually the result of riding a bike that is too long or having handlebars that are too low.

Tight hamstring and hip flexor muscles can also cause neck pain by forcing your spine to round or arch, and your neck to hyperextend.

Cycling clothing can also cause saddle sores. Cyclists typically wear shorts made without seams — with no underwear needed — to eliminate sources of chafing and pressure points. Cycling shorts also have padded liners that provide more comfort than street clothes.

Sources : Internet information

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