Proper bike fit to prevent injury

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Dr Joseph covered running and osteoarthritis in our previous blog post. However, what we’ve also seen of late is a rise in popularity in cycling. You can see many new bicycle shops sprouting around the Klang Valley as well as casual cyclists along the highways on weekends. The relatively low cost to own a bicycle plus the wide range of brands for sale makes cycling one of the fastest growing sports in Malaysia.

Rolling toward Herndon at Iowa Hwy 141 crossing

Image: Google

However, not only has outdoor cycling risen in popularity, group indoor cycling in large chain gyms like Celebrity Fitness or Fitness First have also been very popular amongst Malaysians. These classes are often packed on most weeknights and each class is choreographed by an instructor along with loud pulsating music.

One of the most common complaint you will hear from any cyclist is pain from their low back or from their knees. It’s not surprising that these are the most common complaints due to the body’s posture when it is hunched over the handle bars. There are a few factors that lead to these complaints, but the biggest contributing factor to low back or knee pain is actually improper bike fit.

For anyone who has been to a group indoor cycling class, they will tell you how the instructor will spend a few minutes before the class starts to help newcomers with their bike settings (seat height, handlebar distance etc.). This is very important as it could lead to serious injuries if not done correctly. As such, just like indoor cycling, anyone who is looking to purchase a new bicycle should get themselves fitted properly for their new bike. Even if you own an existing bicycle and are already clocking a few 100 kms every other weekend, whether on your road or mountain bike, it would be a good idea to see what additional adjustments can be made to have your bike properly fitted. Small changes (even in the millimetres) can make huge differences.

Measuring leg length during pedaling

Image: Google

We once had a practice member who made slight changes to his seat height and handlebar length to supposedly help him climb efficiently on his mountain bike. Unfortunately, these minor changes had devastating effects, causing him acute low back pain and leaving him off cycling for nearly 4 months. He was able to get back in the saddle after intensive rehab sessions with our rehab specialist as well as regular chiropractic adjustments. In addition, he saw a professional bike fitter to get the proper adjustments made to help achieve the same goals he was after.

This experience, as well as existing practice members who are cyclists, have showed us how important it is to have your bicycle properly fitted. In the course of speaking with one of Cycology’s trainers, Don Chan encourages anyone who calls cycling their passion to invest into a few sessions with a certified bike fitter. With the right fit (whether for indoor or outdoor cycling) and focused training on the body’s core muscle strength (to work on other muscle groups that cycling doesn’t), Don says anyone would be able to achieve their intended goals, whether it be to climb better, achieve more power or have better endurance for those long rides.

Don Chan running a class at Cycology

Don Chan conducting an intense session at Cycology

Over here at Spinefit, we work with individuals who are fairly active in their sporting pursuits. Our aim has always been to help individuals through their injuries and then make the necessary changes to help with their recovery. If you’re an avid cyclist and are experiencing pain in the lower back or in the knees, perhaps it would be a good idea to get your bike properly fitted. It might just make cycling more enjoyable for you again! A good place to start would be Pegasus Cycles located not too far away to us. They offer a wide range of services and bike fitting just happens to be one of them.