Just like it’s important to make sure you’re wearing the right shoes for your feet to prevent running injuries, it’s just as important to make sure you have the proper bike fit when cycling.
While biking is definitely a lower impact option compared to running, it can lead to it’s own set of injuries- many of which you can prevent with a few bike adjustments.
Bike Frame Size
Did you know bikes came in sizes (besides kid & adult)?! I didn’t until I bought my first bike. I don’t know too much about this one, but it has to do with your height & leg length. Usually whoever you’re buying your bike from can help you with this. Unless you buy your bike from Walmart…
Take the time to get the right size because you can’t do anything about the size down the road- however, other sizing factors can be adjusted:
It’s as easy as 1-2-3:
1. A good starting estimate is to have the top of the seat level with your hip bone when standing next to the bike.
2. Sit on the bike with your heel on the pedal in the “down” position. Your leg should be fully extended. Adjust the bike seat as needed.
3. Put the ball of your foot on the pedal (the way you would ride). There should now be a slight bend in your knee. Make slight adjustments as needed, but this should get you pretty close.
It might be helpful to mark where you put your bike seat with a Sharpie or electrical tape- my seat falls all the time (awesome, I know) and having it marked on the seat post makes it really easy to fix on a ride.
When sitting on your bike with the pedals parallel to the ground, you should be able to draw an imaginary line from your knee to the pedal. If it’s not perpendicular to the ground, adjust the seat forward or backward as needed. (It might be good to have someone to help you look at this one- it can be hard to tell when you’re looking down at your leg.)
*Make sure your seat is level, i.e. parallel with the ground. Tilted up can hurt your hoohah and tilted down can put too much pressure on your knees and elbows.
Handlebar height is largely based on comfort & type of bike, but they’re almost always lower than your seat. A general guideline for road cyclists: handlebars should be 1-4 inches below your seat; for mountain bikers/casual riders: handlebars should be 0-2 inches below your seat.
Note: You can always get a bike shop to help you with bike adjustments to ensure a proper bike fit, but it’s good to have an idea so you can make tweaks & adjustments down the road.
Also, it’s helpful to wear the shoes you’ll be biking in when making adjustments. More about shoes & pedals in the AM!! 🙂