As we have been fitting for several years now, we have seen a myriad of bikes and riders come through the clinic, and thus a wide variety of problems.
Here are the top five preventable problems for those who are new to cycling:
1. Bike is the wrong size/geometry – it is so important to think about what you want to get from cycling, as the dimensions on bikes can vary so much. For example if you want to be comfortable riding over long distance then you might like to consider a sportive style bike. Those who have been riding for some time, and are confident on the bike and well conditioned might like to purchase something more aggressive. It is all down to you as a rider, what your build is like, and what you want to get out of cycling.
2. Saddle too low – it’s perfectly normal when you are new to riding to want to set the saddle lower in order to get used to riding the bike, and feel safe when doing so. However the problems arise when you start to get serious about cycling and don’t ensure the saddle is set at the right height. This is when knee, hip and low back problems can start to develop particularly over high mileage rides. Top tip: as a rough guide only, set the saddle so that your heel touches the pedal with your knee fully extended (approx. 40 degrees of knee flexion).
3. Poor saddle choice – don’t be afraid to change the “stock” saddle that comes with the bike that you have bought. As these are an “add on” to the bike itself, not all brands actually supply a high end saddle that is fit for your needs. How you choose your saddle is dependant on many factors which we will go into detail on in another post.
4. Lack of suitable clothing – if you don’t feel confident riding clipped in then that’s fine. However not purchasing suitable cycling shorts with a decent chamois in our opinion is a bad decision. Once you get used to wearing lycra, you honestly won’t want to go back to your baggy shorts! Joking aside, it really can help cushion soft sports in your pelvis that otherwise don’t like too much pressure. Combined with a decent saddle and bike fit, then you are onto a winner.
5. Cleat set up – if you are thinking about riding clipped in then make sure you get the right shoes, the right cleat system, and set it up to match you. Not everyone can ride with the same system or float, so think about if you want to be able to walk in your shoes vs riding with a larger cleat system. This will help you decided whether to ride Shimano MTB, road cleats or Speedplay (or other variants on these styles).
Of course there are also many other things you can do such as stretch, and condition yourself for cycling to minimise the stress through your body. But this is something we will talk about in detail another time!
If you have any questions feel free to contact us & thanks for reading.
Fit Your Bike