Cycling Tips: Riding Body Posture and BAdjusting Bicycle Height

Cycling Tips: Riding Body Posture and BAdjusting Bicycle Height

Spring and fall are both great seasons for cycling. Cycling is a healthy and natural way to exercise and travel, and there are many benefits of cycling. Cycling can help to protect you from serious diseases such as stroke, heart attack, some cancers, depression, diabetes, obesity and arthritis. If you are ready to start your cycling journey, cycling posture and bike adjustment are what you must know. A balanced and relaxed body position is the most essential skill in cycling, and proper cycling posture not only results in better fitness, but is also the most crucial step in preventing injuries. Always reminding yourself of your body posture not only relieves fatigue, but also brings more riding pleasure. 

The Right Riding Body Position

Generally speaking, for road bicycles, the main contact points are the hands, hips, and feet, while the corresponding contact points include the handlebars, saddle, and pedals. The height, position and width of these three parts will affect the correct riding posture of the bicycle, so a correct riding posture starts from the head and continues to the feet.

1. Elbow angle

Keep your elbows bent at a certain angle rather than open during the ride. If you hit a pothole or a bump in the road, your arms can absorb the impact and take pressure off your shoulders. Also, bending your elbows increases your balance and reduces the risk of falling off your bike. Sometimes you will be tempted to straighten your elbows, but doing so puts extra strain on your arm muscles.

2. Shoulders

Shoulders that are not relaxed while riding can cause you to feel discomfort in your back and neck. To make it easier for your neck to rotate and to prevent back discomfort, keep your shoulders relaxed during the ride and don't let them reach towards your ears. You can also relax the tension in your neck muscles by shrugging your shoulders and tilting your head to the sides.

3. Toe and knee

A conscious effort can be made to keep the knee in a straight line with the foot with the aim of maintaining a good riding position. Excessive knee flexion will only reduce efficiency and comfort.

4. Neutral spine position

Keeping the spine curved helps activate the core muscles to support the upper body. To keep yourself from unconsciously over-bending your back, you can focus on your abdominal forces. When the abdominal muscles are in a firing position, you will naturally straighten your back and relax the other muscles in your arms and shoulders. 

5. Wrist

There should be a straight line from your elbow to your fingertips. If you find it hard to keep it up while riding, there may be a problem with the position of the bike components. Observe and adjust the bike to make sure that all the components are in the right position for you.

6. Move your knees up and down

Consciously avoid moving your knees inward and outward when pedaling. They should be moving up and down, not sideways. Many cyclists experience side-to-side movement when pedaling, and this is the main cause of chondromalacia patella while cycling. If you find yourself with the corresponding problem, you can train your knees to move up and down and stay in a straight line.

Bicycle Adjustment

1. Saddle Angle

The angle of the saddle should be 0 to 2 degrees (roughly horizontal). However, there is no need to be too rigid, and you can adjust it according to yourself. For example, some men may feel pain from the front of the saddle pressing on their perineum during cycling, so you can adjust the front of the saddle slightly downward to reduce the pressure, about 10° will work. 

2. Cushion Height

The height of the saddle is the most important part of the bike setup and is related to the knee joint and the pedaling force. Too high a saddle will affect the efficiency of riding, because the straight line distance of pedaling is too long, it is easy to overstretch to the muscle and lead to cramps and other situations. At the same time, too long pedaling force line will affect the muscle elasticity and make it difficult to utilize the muscle's own potential energy. Most importantly, too high a center of gravity can lead to safety issues. Too low a seat cushion may cause muscle fatigue and affect riding efficiency.

There is a customary formula for adjusting the saddle height: span length x 0.893 = distance from the center axis of the 5-way to the upper edge of the saddle center. With the rider seated on the bike, it is sufficient to keep the riding leg bent at about 30°-40° when the riding leg reaches the lowest point of the pedals. Other than that, if the rider will rock back and forth in the saddle, then the saddle is too high. The optimum saddle height is 109% of the length of the inside of the leg, and then some adjustments are made according to the thickness of the shoes.

3. Handlebar height

Finally, adjust the height of the handlebars, which needs to be adjusted in conjunction with the height of the saddle. The difference between the handlebar and saddle is usually less than 5 centimeters. If you are a novice, a drop greater than 5cm will cause your body to lean too far forward, leading to wrist fatigue. Before you get used to it, you should try to keep the drop within 5 centimeters as much as possible. 

4. Pedaling method

Which part of the foot is better to ride a bicycle with? The heel, the ball of the foot, the toe or the forefoot. 80.2% of riders would choose to ride on their forefoot, so forefoot is the correct answer. You should also keep your arms in a relaxed position and hold the handlebars with the same strength as you would hold a child's hand to cross the street. 


Above is the Cycling Tips shared by Apeoutdoor.Follow Apeoutdoor for more information.


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