Cycling shouldn’t be painful!

Now that the weather is getting nicer a great way to be physically active is going for a bike ride. Whether your commuting to work on your bike or taking advantage of some of the great bike trails in the city, understanding how to set-up your bike ergonomically can protect you from developing aches and pains.

Here are some tips on how to adjust your city or trekking bike:

Saddle Height

To test whether your bike saddle is the correct height, sit on the seat with your heel placed on the pedal and have the knee in full extension. If you feel your pelvis is square to the handle bars you are in the correct position. When you do start to pedal, the ball of your foot should be in contact not your heel.

Handlebar Height

You will need to determine which arm-to-torso ratio feels the most comfortable. For city bikes the recommended ratio is 60-80°, as there is less supporting work on the arms. For trekking bikes, the recommended ratio is 90° as there is a better loading balance between the upper and lower body. Once the handlebar height has been adjusted to your preferred arm-torso ratio, re-check the saddle height and alter if necessary.

Hand Position on Handlebars

Your hand should rest on the handlebar so that the forearm and wrist are in a straight line, thus no strain is placed on radial, ulnar and median nerves passing in this area. As well having a handlebar that provides multiple positions for the hand to rest, decreases the risk of strain and overuse of the wrist and forearm muscles.

Hope you found these tips helpful and don’t hesitate to contact your local physiotherapist to help troubleshoot your cycling ergonomics.

By Olivia Martins
Registered Physiotherapist