With gas prices fluctuating and continually threatening to climb to the $4/gallon range, more people are turning to their bicycles to pedal around town so they can limit their trips to the gas station.
Whether you're an avid rider or simply a cyclist who's tooling around town to cut down on cash spent at the pump, it is vital for your bike to be properly-fit.
...But Keep it Safe!
Bicycle-related pains and injuries are commonly associated with poor bike fit. Following these tips will help you minimize the risk of injury:
Basic Postural Tips
- Change hand position on the handlebars frequently for upper-body comfort.
- Keep a controlled but relaxed grip of the handlebars
- When pedaling, your knee should be slightly bent at the bottom of the pedal stroke. Avoid rocking your hips while pedaling.
Common Bicycling Pains
- Anterior (Front) Knee Pain -- Possible causes are having a saddle that is too low, pedaling at a low speed, using your quadriceps muscles too much in pedaling, misaligned bicycle cleat for those who use clipless pedals, and muscle imbalance in your legs (strong quadriceps and weak hamstrings).
- Neck Pain-- Possible causes include poor handlebar or saddle position. A poorly placed handle bar might be too low, at too great a reach, or at too short a reach. A saddle with excessive downward tilt can also be a source of neck pain.
- Lower Back Pain -- Possible causes include inflexible hamstrings, low cadence (pedal speed), using your quadriceps muscles too much in pedaling, poor back strength, and too-long or too-low handlebars.
- Hamstring Tendinitis -- Possible causes are inflexible hamstrings, high saddle, misaligned bicycle cleat for those who use clipless pedals, and poor hamstring strength.
- Hand Numbness or Pain -- Possible causes are short-reach handlebars, poorly placed brake levers, and a downward tilt of the saddle.
- Foot Numbness or Pain -- Possible causes are using quadriceps muscles too much in pedaling, low cadence, faulty foot mechanics, and misaligned bicycle cleat for those who use clipless pedals.
- Illiotibial Band Tendinitis -- Possible causes are too-high saddle, leg length difference, and misaligned bicycle cleat for those who use clipless pedals.
Physical Therapy Can Help
If you're experiencing any of these pains, your physical therapist can assess and help heal most biking-related pains and prevent future injuries. Remember, under Direct Access you do not need a physican referral to make a PT appointment with most insurances. Call one of HARTZ PT's three offices today and we will answer your insurance questions and schedule an evaluation to help you get and stay pain free!
Any reputable bike shop can help fit you properly to your bike. For a list of local bicycle shops, biking routes, and to learn about efforts that are underway to make Lancaster a more bike-friendly community click here. Read about the Lancaster Bicycle Club's scenic tours by visiting this link.
For those who are avid bikers looking for the most cutting edge bicycle fitting experience Lancaster County has to offer, check out Orange Street Velo.