In the not so distant past, finding you bike fit was as simple as measuring your seat level against your hips. Fortunately, in more recent times we have seen major advancements in bike fitting, and having a comprehensive bike fit is paramount for both competitive and recreational cyclists.
When cycling, athletes are exposed to high accumulative loads, particularly over longer distances. An typical cyclist may average anywhere between 80 – 100 pedal revolutions per minute (rpm), so over one hour of cycling this equates to 4,800 – 6,000 pedal revolutions. To put this into meaningful terms, this would mean that over a 100km bike ride with an average speed of 30km/hr anywhere upward of 16,000 pedal revolutions would be made. This in itself places high repetitive load on the cyclist, and if not adequately positioned on the bike these loads can have even bigger impacts.
Cycling is a sport where the body works in a closed chain environment with three contact points closing out this chain (hands-handlebars, pelvic-saddle and cleats-pedals). To best facilitate this system, and reduce the likelihood of excessive loads, it is important that each connection point between the body and the bike work in unison.
Based on what we have already discussed, it is easy to see how injury can develop due to overuse and overload in the sport of cycling. There are some loads that we can only manage to a certain degree, and the best way to overcome these loads is to be well informed with training management to ensure your body is well equipped to tackle these loads. However, to further reduce injury risk, and to enhance performance, having a professional bike fit is very advantageous.
An effective bike fit should take into consideration;
Bike fitting is essentially about finding balance, with the aim to reduce as much load as possible without taking too much away from power output and performance. The way each athlete performs on the bike is vastly different, similarly is their vulnerability to injury. Therefore, the way each cyclist is positioned on the bike should be individualised, and two identical fit outs would be highly unlikely.
If you’re feeling niggles on the bike, or looking for that extra speed and haven’t had your bike fitted, then make it your next step to pain free and more efficient cycling