Bike fitting, comfort and performance (Matt Withycombe) 

The cycling explosion.

Can you believe it has been a year since the Tour De France touched down in Yorkshire? The legacy of this fantastic event is clear to see with a significant number of people taking up cycling.

As with any increase in sports participation we will experience an influx of patients that are experiencing problems related to that sport. It can be multifactorial from people literally starting a sport from scratch to overtraining at the elite level. More commonly I experience cyclists that have been given either the wrong size bicycle frame or that the size they have been given hasn’t had personnel changes to fit the individual. These can be such things as incorrect handlebar width, stem length and the orientation of the saddle as well as shoes and cleats, to mention a few.

Are you sitting comfortably on your bike?

As a cyclist, having the right bicycle for the terrain or type of riding you want to experience is paramount. Certainly, it is worth getting advice about the correct size of frame and there is a lot of information and tables on bicycle companies websites that give an outline to what frame size should be appropriate.

Wattbike cycling, Hallamshire Physiotherapy
The static measurements are important and most bike shops should look at you on the bike and hopefully change your saddle height and more. This is a good start but increasing evidence suggests that a dynamic bike fit is the most accurate in getting close to an optimal bike fit. This involves video analysis using various software to observe anatomical markers on bony landmarks throughout the pedal stroke. There can be a 10-15 degree difference between static and dynamic measurements at certain joints. As physiotherapists we have an advantage in understanding how people should move and we see many musculoskeletal problems so having an initial screening to your bike fit allows us to understand how you move to personalise your position on the bike. Bicycles are not cheap and even entry level road bikes start at around £500-600 so it seems worth getting a bike fit to at least begin the sport with comfort and ultimately enjoy it. Bike fitting will optimise your position on the bike and improve comfort and maximise performance.

If you want more advice or to make an appointment for a bike set-up contact Matt Withycombe at the clinic.

Find out more about our Sheffield bike fit Service

Hallamshire Physiotherapy Clinic (tel) 0114 2671223

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