At our Melbourne city chiropractic clinic we routinely see cyclists presenting to us with injuries and pain which is often related to their bike setup. Our experience as a sports chiropractor has shown us that you don’t need to be an elite cyclist to encounter problems like knee, hip, low back or neck pain while riding, we see it in recreational cyclists and commuters. Hence we thought we would run through some of the basic points to setting up your bicycle correctly.
Bike setup or ergonomics is extremely important, because of the repetitive nature of cycling if your bike setup is only a few millimetres out here or there it can lead to pain anywhere from your feet and ankles all the way up to your neck, impaired performance, generalised discomfort and diminished enjoyment.
The most important first step is making sure your bike frame is the right size for you. If you are buying a new bike any reputable bike store will make sure they match your body shape and size to the correct frame and geometry.
Adjustment 1. Bike Seat height
Using a tape measure, measure the inside seam length whilst standing with no shoes on. This figure is then multiplied by .88. For example, an inside seam length of 67 cm x .88 = 58.96cm. Therefore, the height of the seat measured from the centre of the crank to the top of the seat will be 58.96 or 59cm.
Adjustment 2. Bike Seat tilt
Ideally the seat should sit flat/horizontal as increased downward slope causes riders to slip off the seat.
Adjustment 3. Bike Seat fore/aft position
This is how far forward or back the seat sits. Sitting on the bike with pedals in a neutral position (horizontal or parallel to each other), a plum bolt is dropped from just behind the little bump on the leg just below the kneecap (this bump is called the tibial tuberosity) and should land in line with or behind the pedal axis. If you don’t have a plum bolt you can use a retractable measuring tape.
Adjustment 4. Pedal/Cleat position
For those riders who wear cleat shoes this is very important but is also specific to the individual. As a rule of thumb, the base of your big toe should sit directly over the pedal axis.
If you are still experiencing any pain or repetitive injuries after making alterations to your biks set up, particularly the achilles tendon, knee, hip, low back, mid back, neck, wrist and elbow, sports chiropractor Dr. Shannon at the Shannon Clinic – Melbourne Chiropractic and Sports Care is well placed to assist you. To make a chiropractic or massage therapy appointment you can book here.