Cycling is becoming an increasingly popular sport in Australia and lots of people are now jumping on their bikes as a means of commuting to and from work, both to get their exercise fix and avoid the frustration of sitting in traffic!
Safety is first and foremost when cycling; if you practice safe cycling then you can hopefully avoid the injuries that you may encounter from coming off your bicycle. But what about those other injuries that you can get from being on the bike? Is it possible your bike is making you sore, even if you don’t get any pain whilst cycling? The answer is yes!
The two main types of injuries you can endure whilst on the bike are:
- Neck and back pain related to your position and posture on the bike
- Lower limb overuse injuries
Bike Set Up
Getting your bike set up right can really affect the way you load certain joints or areas of your body. There are some general rules with your bike set up but if you are still having trouble you may require a bike fit from a professional.
Seat/ Saddle Height:
When sitting on the bike, if you position your foot on one of the pedals at the lowest point, your leg should be almost straight, but make sure your knee isn’t locked out, it should still be bent slightly or “soft”.
Handle bar position:
The type of bike you ride largely determines the position of your handlebars and therefore how you sit on your bike. If you are riding a mountain bike or a hybrid the handlebars sit higher than those on a road bike. Having the handlebars lower may give you an aerodynamic advantage, but for the recreational rider it is a good idea to have them a bit higher so that you can avoid too much flexion of your spine as it can lead to back pain. Having the handlebars too low can also cause you to put too much weight through your wrists and shoulders which can lead to other problems.
When sitting on the bike with your hands on the handlebars your trunk should be flexed forward at an angle of approximately 40-60 degrees.
As with any exercise that you do, it is important to maintain flexibility, and strength of certain muscles- including your core to help prevent injuries that can come from cycling.
For more information on cycling, bike setup and injury prevention, contact your Bend + Mend Physiotherapist today!