CYCLING NEWS & REVIEW:
By Columnist Genevieve Whitson – Professional Cyclist:
A lot of people, who start cycling, have no idea that they could shave a few minutes off their daily commute or get a PB on that nasty climb if they just got their bike set up sorted. Having a safe, comfy bike set up is fundamental to being able to enjoy cycling or racing or just cruising around town and can quite often alleviate bike aches, neck aches and knee problems created by incorrect bike set ups.
So how do you know if your set up is right? What factors need to be taking into account?
Firstly I would ask myself,‘how comfortable do I feel on the bike? And do I have any niggles in my body that maybe I am ignoring?
There are four main things to consider when assessing bike set up:
- Saddle height
- Saddle angle
- Handlebar position
- Stem height
Saddle height is probably the most fundamental of all with bike set up. If this isn’t correct, you won’t be able to maximise your power while riding. Too low and you’ll find yourself doing snail pace, too high, and you’ll look like a ballerina trying to ride a bike. To figure out your ideal saddle height sit on your bike; set one pedal to the lowest point and put your heel on the centre of the pedal spindle. The leg should be dead straight in this position, but not outstretched.
Once you have your correct saddle height, then you can then assess the saddle angle. The starting point is always horizontal. However, a lot of women find it more comfortable to tilt the seat down a fraction, whereas the opposite can be said for men. If you are experiencing lower back pain, a small adjustment here can often relieve systems.
The handlebar position is important because it gives you the opportunity to brake! If your handlebars are hard to reach, you’ll be a terror on a descent for yourself and anyone around you, so make sure you can easily reach the brakes and if not, consider getting a shorter stem (anything down to 80mil is okay) to ensure you can safely navigate your journey!
And finally, one can’t forget the stem. Have a look at your stem and check how many spacers are under it. Most bikes now use an ‘A-head’ stem which can be easily removed to add spacers. If the stem is sitting too low, you will feel outstretched and perhaps feel like you are ‘diving to the handlebars.’ This problem is fixed by adding a few extra spacers under the stem.
Time on the bike should be fun and stress-free – so make sure you get the bike set up right to ensure hours of fun in the sun.
About Our Cycling News and Review Columnist
Genevieve Whitson is a NZ born, British/Scottish cyclist, based in Edinburgh, Scotland. Gen has a raced at the highest level for Road, Cyclocross and Mountain biking, have competed in four World Championships, multiple World Cups as well as riding professionally on the road. Gen has raced all around the globe on the road bike and is currently riding for a Belgium team, Isorex competing in all the major spring classics.
Highlights of her career include gaining a top 30 finish at the World Cyclocross Championships, a stage win in a major USA road tour, and winning the 2015 Scottish National Hill Climb Champs. Gen also loves to ride a rickshaw in Edinburgh for strength training on the side and is heavily involved in supporting/mentoring up and coming female/male athletes to ride to their potential. Her mantra on the bike is: Eat the pain…
Disclaimer: The information published in this column are based on the author’s own professional and personal knowledge, and opinion. This information and opinion are not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment of any manner. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding any medical condition and consult a qualified medical professional before beginning any nutritional program or exercise program. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on InShape News.