With the weather heating up now is the perfect time to strap on a helmet and go for a ride to enhance your fitness.
Bike rides are great for:
- Cardio – they are a great low impact alternative to running
- Leg strength and endurance
- Stress reduction
- Heart health – regular cycling can help manage blood pressure and cholesterol levels
However, before you start out on your bike it is important that you set up your riding position correctly to avoid being uncomfortable and to enable you to ride greater distances with less effort.
Here are five simple ways to get you ready to ride:
- Foot position – Your feet should be placed on the pedals with the balls of your feet centred over the pedal axel, unless you have small feet for which the ball of your foot should be slightly behind centre. If you use toe clips, the ideal distance between your shoe and the clips should be about 2mm.
- Saddle position – If the saddle of your bike isn’t correctly positioned you are more likely to experience tight arms and shoulder tension. To avoid this, the saddle should be adjusted so that it is flat and parallel with the road.
- Saddle height– Sit on the saddle with the heel of your foot placed on the pedal at the 6 o’clock position. If your leg is straight then the saddle height is correct.
- Stem and handle bars – The stem height is correct when it is between level with the saddle height or 6cm below. To check this, sit on your bike with the cranks in the 3/9 o’clock position and if your knee just clears your elbow in this position then the stem height correct. This will help prevent muscle tension that can result in headaches and neck pain from the stem height being in the wrong position. To encourage good chest expansion and breathing your handle bars should be as wide as your shoulders.
- Engage your core – Don’t forget to engage your core to ensure that you are able to maintain your body’s position over the bike throughout your ride.
If you find that you are experiencing pain after adjusting your riding position it is important to not ignore the niggling pain and see a professional to ensure you aren’t doing further damage by continuing to ride your bike without treatment.
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