Prevention and Wellness

Answers to Common Bicycle Fitting Questions

Brian Jans answers frequently asked questions about bicycle fitting.

Why is it important to have a properly fit bike?

Brian Jans, Premier Health physical therapist, talks about the importance of having a properly fit bike. Click play to watch the video or read the transcript.

 

Cycling is a sport of repetition, according to the Ohio Athletic Trainer’s AssociationOff Site Icon (OATA). Given the repetitive nature of cycling, the chance for injury is increased, so having a proper fit is essential to continue in the activity.

Looking at angles is an important part of bike fitting, says Brian Jans, Premier Health physical therapist and Serotta International Cycling Institute Certified Fitter. Looking at the proper angle might be, "How does the foot sit on the pedal?" Looking at the knee would be, "What's the angle of the knee in relation to the hip?", says Jans. If the angles aren't correct, the body isn't in an optimal performance position and then the rider starts developing overuse injuries, says Jans.

National Institutes of HealthOff Site Icon (NIH) states that minor aches and pains are to be expected while cycling. One will become accustomed to those over time, and a cyclist should not keep re-adjusting their bicycle to avoid them.

For more information about bicycle fitting, talk to a certified bike fitter.

Learn more:

What are the different parts of the bike that can be adjusted for a proper fit?

Brian Jans, Premier Health physical therapist, discussed the parts of a bike that can be adjusted for a proper fit. Click play to watch the video or read the transcript.

 

A cyclist’s proper saddle height is key for proper leg extension and knee position, according to the National Institutes of HealthOff Site Icon (NIH). Positioning of the upper body makes quite a difference in comfort and performance.

The cleat on the shoe can be changed if the foot isn't positioned properly, says Brian Jans, Premier Health physical therapist and Serotta International Cycling Institute Certified Fitter. Clipless pedals can be moved forward or backward, and rotated so if the foot isn't positioned properly and it's making the knee improperly positioned, it can be adjusted, Jans says.

American Academy of Orthopaedic SurgeonsOff Site Icon (AAOS) state that well-sized frames and handlebar positioning can improve the cyclist’s ability to control the bike. The same manner of proper fitting may also reduce the risk for overuse injuries.

For more information about the parts involved in bicycle fitting, talk to a certified bike fitter.

Learn more:

What is the benefit of using a clipless pedal?

Brian Jans, Premier Health physical therapist, talks about the benefits of clipless pedals. Click play to watch the video or read the transcript.

 

A clipless pedal facilitates a pulling-up of the pedal as well as pushing down. Studies have suggested that the resulting “upstroke” may improve pedaling performance, according to the NIH.

Having a clipless pedal may prevent some injuries of slipping off the pedal and then falling off the bike, says Brian Jans. Having a clipless pedal may also help with performance in terms of being more efficient in pedaling stroke.

The American Academy of Family PhysiciansOff Site Icon (AAFP) states that it’s important to ensure that a bicycle is in proper working condition before riding. Before riding, intermittently thereafter, one should have the bicycle and parts checked by a professional to confirm its safety.

For more information about the benefits of clipless pedals, talk to a certified bike fitter.

Learn more:

What are some common injuries that could occur from an improperly fitted bike?

Brian Jans, Premier Health physical therapist, explains some common injuries that occur from an improperly fitted bike. Click play to watch the video or read the transcript.

 

Some of the most common aches and pains are knee cap pain and low back pain.

Injuries to one’s knees are common when a bicycle isn’t properly fit, according to the National Institutes of HealthOff Site Icon (NIH). The risk of knee injury can increase if the cyclist’s saddle isn’t effectively positioned.

The American Academy of Orthopaedic SurgeonsOff Site Icon (AAOS) states that common cycling injuries resulting from falls or crashes include broken collar bones and wrists.

Talk to a certified bike fitter about common injuries that could occur from an improperly fitted bike.

Learn more:

What is the importance of a properly fitted bike for competitive cyclists?

Brian Jans, Premier Health physical therapist, talks about the importance of having a properly fitted bike for competitive cyclists. Click play to watch the video or read the transcript.

 

Having a properly fit bicycle is important not only for injury prevention, but also for performance improvement, says Brian Jans, Premier Health physical therapist and Serotta International Cycling Institute Certified Fitter.

Competitive cyclists risk overuse, and that comes with a risk of injury according to the National Institutes of HealthOff Site Icon (NIH). Overuse may lead to knee and lower back pain.

Neck pain is also a common overuse injury in cyclists, states the NIH. Improper bicycle fit and equipment may be contributing factors that some elementary bike-fitting methods could resolve, the NIH states.

For more information about the importance of a properly fitted bike, talk to a certified bike fitter.

Learn more:

What is the most common part of the bicycle that needs adjusting?

Brian Jans, Premier Health physical therapist, explains the common parts of a bicycle that need adjusting. Click play to watch the video or read the transcript.

 

The most common part of the bicycle that needs to be adjusted is typically the seat, as a low seat causes injuries most of the time, says Brian Jans.

A well-adjusted sat is critical in avoiding overuse injury in cycling, according to the National Institutes of HealthOff Site Icon (NIH) Once the appropriate posture is established, performance can improve and the cyclist can focus on fitness and bike handling skill.

The American Academy of Family PhysiciansOff Site Icon (AAFP) states that wearing the proper equipment is also an important part in comfort and avoiding injury. Wearing padded gloves or padded shorts can facilitate more comfort and reduce aches and minor injuries like blisters.

For more information about common parts of bicycle fitting, talk to a certified bike fitter.

Learn more:

Are there recommendations for a safe return to cycling after an injury?

Brian Jans, Premier Health physical therapist, talks about the recommendations of safe return to cycling after an injury. Click play to watch the video or read the transcript.

 

A cyclist may choose to start small in returning to the sport after an injury, the Ohio Athletic Trainer’s AssociationOff Site Icon (OATA) states.

Some recommendations for returning to cycling after an injury are to start out riding on level surfaces and try to keep gearing at a lower level, says Brian Jans.

While further study is needed, according to the National Institutes of HealthOff Site Icon (NIH), research suggests that cyclists are often injured, but continue to participate in the activity at the same level as a healthy person with chronic pain common among them.

Talk to a health care professional experienced in rehabilitating cycling injuries about safe return to cycling after an injury.

Learn more:

In addition to having a properly fitted bike, are there other important things to remember when cycling?

Brian Jans, Premier Health physical therapist, discusses the important things to remember when cycling. Click play to watch the video or read the transcript.

 

Drinking plenty of water and wearing a helmet are two ways a cyclist can stay safe while riding, states the American Academy of Family PhysiciansOff Site Icon (AAFP). Cyclists should also stay aware of his or her surroundings and wear reflective gear.

Having proper apparel, such as a properly-fitted helmet, is also important, says Brian Jans, Premier Health physical therapist and Serotta International Cycling Institute Certified Fitter. Cycling shorts, for example, are helpful because they help pad the pelvis area, says Jans.

According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic SurgeonsOff Site Icon (AAOS), other things to consider while cycling are:

  • Avoid distractions
  • Avoid drugs or alcohol
  • Be careful of road conditions
  • Choose bike routes wisely
  • Maintain your bicycle
  • Pace yourself
  • Ride defensively

For more information about important things to remember when cycling, talk to a certified bike fitter.

Learn more:

What is the process for a bike fitting?

Brian Jans, Premier Health physical therapist, explains the process for bike fitting. Click play to watch the video or read the transcript.

 

In fitting a bicycle, a physical therapist will take measurements of the cyclist and of the bike to arrive at a recommended setting and positioning of the bike and its parts, the Ohio Athletic Trainer’s AssociationOff Site Icon (OATA) states.

The cyclist will get on the bike and do a warm up for five to ten minutes, and then the bicycle fitter will videotape the cyclist during a dynamic aspect of cycling, says Brian Jans, Premier Health physical therapist and Serotta International Cycling Institute Certified Fitter.

It’s important to remember that the bicycle is adjustable, and the cyclist is adaptable, according to the National Institutes of HealthOff Site Icon (NIH). Another vital factor is in choosing the appropriate bicycle for the type of cycling activity intended by the user.

Talk to a certified bike fitter about the process for a bike fitting.

Learn more:

What is the advantage of having a bicycle fitting at the Center for Sports Medicine?

Brian Jans, Premier Health physical therapist, talks about the advantages of having a bicycle fitting at the Center for Sports Medicine. Click play to watch the video or read the transcript.

 

The providers at the Center for Sports Medicine are specialists in the biomechanics of the human body during performance, says Brian Jans. These providers have been trained to look at body motion and angles, and having that knowledge and also of cycling, makes them more unique in that aspect, Jans says.

At the Center for Sports Medicine, providers specialize in the biomechanics of the human body during performance. Brian Jans, our specialist at the center, is experienced and trained in finding the proper fit for each individual cyclist, working with them to find adjustments that will help make their cycling experience comfortable and enjoyable.

Brian Jans is a Serotta International Cycling Institute Certified Fitter. He has his Doctoral Degree in Physical Therapy and is a Board Certified Sports Medicine Specialist through the American Physical Therapy Association. He is also an avid cyclist end expert in the field of evaluating and treating cycling injuries.

Brian Jans is the only physical therapist in the Dayton area who provides bike fitting services.

For more information about having a bicycle fitting at the Center for Sports Medicine, call (937) 440-7152.

Learn more:


Source: Brian Jans, PT, DPT, SCS, Premier Health Sports Medicine - Upper Valley Medical Center

Content Updated: October 21, 2016

This website is certified by Health On the Net Foundation.

This site complies with the HONcode standard for trustworthy health information: verify here.