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Do You Have The Right Fit?

The Rider

Do You Have The Right Fit?

We recently reached out to Kelly Henschen, Physical Therapist and Endurance Team Member for The Ohio States University Wexner Medicine Center to help the Pelotonia community ensure the right bike fit as you train and prepare for Pelotonia.  Here are her suggestions:

“As you start to gear up for training and your ride this summer, having a proper bike set up and fit is an essential factor to consider. Having your bike set up correctly can improve your performance, prevent injury, and increase your comfort and safety.

What are some signs that your bike is not set up correctly?

  • You feel like you have to work harder to keep up with other riders
  • You are experiencing pain (not just soreness) from riding, especially symptoms on one side of the body
  • You feel unstable or unbalanced while riding

If any of these things sound like you as a rider, you probably need to look into making some adjustments on your bike.

Here are some things to consider when making adjustments:

Saddle position: This is the most important setup.  Riders should consider height, fore/aft position, and tilt. Proper saddle height allows for appropriate force through the legs and also protects the knees. If you experience pain or discomfort in the front of your knee, it may mean that your seat is too low and needs to be adjusted.  If you have symptoms in your hip or hamstring, this may mean your seat is too high. It is recommended that your saddle should be level.

 

Saddle Fit

 

Proper seat width: Having the proper width of a seat is important for comfort as well, as you want to make sure that your “sit bones” are both fully supported on the saddle. A sign that your saddle may not be the correct fit is if you are getting numbness or tingling in your perineal area or genital region.  If this happens, we recommend getting fitted for a new seat.

Posture and body positioning: Some additional things to consider for your bike setup are posture and body positioning. Starting with your head, you want to make sure your helmet fits correctly. The helmet should be two finger widths above your eyebrows and no more than 1 finger width should fit under the chin strap. This will ensure that you can keep your head up without straining your neck, but also ensures that your helmet is in the correct position if you would crash. As you know, all Pelotonia riders are required to wear a helmet, so make sure you have one that is comfortable, and correctly fitted.

 

Helmet Fit

 

When considering arm and shoulder posture, the shoulders should be relaxed and in a backward position. Your elbows should also remain relaxed, with about 20-30 degrees of bend. Keeping the elbows locked out can add extra stress to your shoulders and neck, and cause pain.

It is also important to maintain a neutral wrist position to decrease numbness, tingling, and pain that some riders experience. A “handshake position” is a good reminder to riders to keep their wrists straight like they are shaking hands with their handlebars. Moving the hand frequently to different grip positions throughout your ride or using padded gloves can also decrease symptoms in the hands.

 

Armstance

 

Cadence: Using an appropriate cadence or number of revolutions per minute can also help reduce injury. Riders should aim for a cadence around 80-100 revolutions per minute. Not only can this increase your performance because it’s efficient, but it can also decrease your injury risk.”

Ohio State Fitting

 

If you’re still not sure that your bike fit is correct, or if you’re having ongoing pain and symptoms, plan a visit to see OSU sports medicine for a fitting or physical therapy assessment. They are hosting a bike fitting day on June 9th for Pelotonia riders, but you can also schedule an appointment in one of their clinics to have your bike setup evaluated. Their locations that offer this service include Jameson Crane (main campus), Gahanna, Lewis Center and Dublin.

If you have additional questions about the OSU bike fit program please email Kelly Henschen at Kelly.Henschen@osumc.edu or call 614-293-2385 to discuss or schedule a bike fit appointment.

 

*The information provided for this blog was submitted by guest blogger Kelly Henschen. The Pelotonia team staff members are not professionals in this field, so all of these items are suggestions based on information provided by a professional.