Are you thinking about embarking on a cycle challenge?
Well before you dust off your bike and start clocking up the miles with the gusto - make sure your bike FITs you. Why? Because much like walking several miles in ill-fitting shoes, you'll soon start to feel sore and develop aches and pains that could prove debilitating the further into your cycle event you get.
Luckily, our resident mechanic and DA leader Chris is on hand to help. So whether it's London to Paris or through the dirt tracks of Zambia to Victoria Falls that you've got on the horizon, watch this first!
How to fit and size your road bike
Chris, our bike mechanic and experienced DA leader take you through the essentials in this short video:
Fitting your bike correctly should help you to prevent many common cycling pains and injuries. However if you are looking for the root cause of a specific problem, these 7 points of advice should help:
1) The Problem: STIFF NECKThe Advice:
- It's likely that your riding technique needs some work. To prevent this, you might consider bending your arms slightly whilst riding, therefore relieving some tension.
- Alternatively this might be due to the height difference between your saddle and your handle bars. Experiencing a stiff neck can mean that saddle is too high relative to your handlebars. Consider reducing this by lowering your saddle height.
2) The Problem: LOWER BACK PAIN
- As above, it could be that the height difference between your saddle and your handlebars is too great, so consider adjusting your saddle.
- Alternatively, you may want to try standing up out of the saddle periodically to vary your riding position.
- Lastly, take a look at your saddle position. If you are experiencing back pain it's likely that your saddle is too far back ( see point 0:48 in the video above for advice).
3) The Problem: KNEE PAIN
- Adjust your saddle, it could be too far forward or, too low. See Chris' advice in the video on how to correctly position your saddle.
- Alternatively you could be riding too hard for your level of fitness. Consider scaling back your training and refer to our graded training guide for advice on building your cycling fitness.
4) The Problem: NUMB HANDS
- It's likely you are applying too much weight to your hands. This again could be down to the difference between your saddle height and handlebars being too great.
- Check that your saddle isn't pointed down at the nose, if it is, you could be sliding down it and therefore leaning on the handlebars. Take a look at point 0:58 in the video above for advice on adjusting your saddle angle.
- Alternatively consciously move your hands around on the handlebars whilst you are riding to prevent them being in a fixed position.
5) The Problem: NUMB FEET
- Try inserting some softer insoles into your cycling shoes
- Or, your shoes could be too tight - try adjusting the fit or maybe its time to purchase some new ones!
- If you're using cleats, try positioning the cleat so the ball of your foot rests slightly ahead of the spindle of your pedal.
6) The Problem: NUMBNESS / ABRASION IN SENSITIVE AREASThe Advice:
- It's likely that the nose of your saddle is too high - see Chris' advice at point X of the video for how to ensure your saddle is level.
- Your saddle could be the wrong profile or shape for you. In this case, the best thing to do is refer to a good cycle shop for their expertise in getting one to suit you.
- Lastly try periodically riding out of the saddle to allow flow to your crotch area.
7) The Problem: YOUR BIKE HANDLES POORLY AT SPEED
- It could be that your weight is too far forward on the bike.
- Or once again the height of your saddle relative to the handlebars being too great.
We hope this has covered off the basics for you, and help you avoid some potential injuries en route! After all, any cycle challenge is a commitment and we want to ensure your energy is focused on training and getting the most out of your experience rather than nursing an injury.
If you've read this blog and are still keen for more DA golden nuggets (wisdom!) or have a question that still needs answering, please don't hesitate to let us know and we'll get one of our cycle challenge experts on hand to impart their knowledge.
See you on a Discover Adventure cycle event soon!