As most avid cyclists already know, riding a bicycle represents fun, fitness, companionship with fellow riders. Unfortunately, most cyclists at some point in their lives have learned their bicycles can also be a source of aches, pains and overuse injuries. There is hope, however. Ongoing developments in bike fit technology, greater biomechanical understanding relative to cyclists’ needs and sophisticated bike fitting techniques have resulted in a comprehensive bike fit solution capable of addressing the underlying causes of physical complaints, and returning the affected rider to comfort on the bike.
What Should A Comprehensive Bike Fit Include?
Since the above suggests the prospect of a bike fit as a source of ‘pain relief,’ it is important to note that not all bike fit providers are created equal. Instead, the achy rider would do well to ensure his bike fit solution of choice marries physical therapy/biomechanics evaluation and treatment, and appropriate technology with traditional evaluation and adjustments to the bike itself. Only then is a bike fit solution truly comprehensive and able to:
- Accurately evaluate the patient’s physical dysfunction/source of pain on the bike, rather than simply guessing at the problem
- Effectively translate on-table evaluation and treatment, into on-bike changes in patient biomechanics
- Determine a short-term bike position that accommodates and facilitates healing by reducing stress on injured/recovering tissues.
|Lucas Euser of Garmin Slipstream|
As a minimum the following bike fit-related contact point dimensions should be checked (and adjusted, if appropriate):
- Cleat position – Fore/aft, rotation and medial/lateral
- Seat height – Fore/aft, seat angle (this dimension is best determined via motion capture technology such as Retül, a goniometer can be substituted not available)
- Handlebar position – Determined by handlebar stem length/angle
- Handlebar dimensions – Width, reach and drop (road bike)/brake lever position
The above dimensions have ‘neutral/efficient positions’ for the average healthy cyclist; however, they can also be altered to reduce tissue stress if disorders such as hamstring tendonitis, cervical disc injury, and Achilles tendon injuries are present. The bike fitter must know which dimension must be adjusted in light of the patient’s biomechanics. In addition, the fitter must understand which components might need to be replaced or added to the patient’s bike as part of the bike fit process, e.g., addition of forefoot or rear foot shims to patient’s clipless pedal system to address foot tilt, or changing out improperly sized handlebars to achieve appropriate width.
At Revolutions In Fitness, a long-time provider of physical therapy comprehensive bike fits, such adjustments, along with physical therapy evaluation/treatment and advanced biomechanical tools such as Retül (motion capture) and Spin Scan (pedal mechanics), have often eliminated patient pain with a single bike fitting session!
For an in-depth article on comprehensive bike fitting, visit www.revolutionsinfitness.com/articles.html.
Revolutions In Fitness – Who We Are:
Revolutions In Fitness Inc. is a physical therapist-owned outpatient orthopedic cash practice providing a range of services and products to enhance human performance including comprehensive bike fitting, physical therapy, cycling coaching, personal training, cycling efficiency analysis, power/heart rate zone testing and custom orthotics. Founded by Curtis Cramblett, LPT, CFMT, CSCS in 2003, the Revolutions In Fitness team has since helped people from all walks of life, from mainstream patients seeking recovery from aches, pains and injuries, to the pro-level athlete vying for a podium position at the season’s A-level races. Recent successes include:
- Designated physical therapy/bike fit provider, Garmin Transition Pro Cycling Team (Gerona, Spain) – Provide of on-site team member evaluation on/off bike, implement related bicycle adjustments, and summarize for Garmin Transitions medical staff biomechanical dysfunctions associated with each team member requiring treatment in order to improve rider efficiency.
- Bike fit provider of choice – Chris Lieto (2nd place finisher, Ironman Kona 2009) and 2004/2008 Olympians
- Comprehensive bike fits incorporating physical therapy evaluation/treatment and use of advanced biomechanical tools such as Retül (motion capture) and Spin Scan (pedal mechanics)
- Highly qualified and educated staff with advanced Manual Therapy Certifications
- In-depth knowledge of athletes and their performance needs and goals
- Revolutions In Fitness has two locations in San Jose and Menlo Park, and employs two licensed physical therapists and one ATC, a recent finisher of Revolutions In Fitness’ bike fit fellowship program.