How To Properly Fit Yourself For A Bike

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Warmer weather means more chances to head outdoors and hit the road – especially if you’re a bicycling enthusiast! But whether you’re a novice rider or a hardcore biker, having a bicycle that fits you properly is key.

Here’s what to look out for when fitting yourself for a bike:

  • Handlebars. The no. 1 mistake people make is having handlebars that are too low. This can cause posture issues and back pain on long rides. It can also cause upper back complications down the line. To make sure your handlebars don’t leave you reaching too far in front, aim to split the difference between sitting upright and being all the way forward when holding your handlebars (also called drops), with your upper arms forming a 90 degree angle.
  • Pedals and seat position. The second most important aspect of your bicycle is properly aligned pedals. If your seat is too low, therefore making your pedals too high, your knees will be overly bent. This could lead to kneecap tracking pain, which happens when the patella (kneecap) shifts out of place while pedaling. A lower saddle, or seat, can also cause you to overwork your quadriceps because you’re not properly engaging your glute muscles. On the other hand, if your seat is positioned too high, your feet will likely be pointed to touch the pedals. Riding with pointed toes can lead to Achilles tendon issues and tendonitis over time. A high seat also prevents you from standing with any degree of stability while on your bike. For the best fit, your knee should be straight when your foot is positioned flat (at a 90 degree angle relative to your ankle, just like when you are standing on the ground) on the lowest part of the pedal.
  • Seat comfort. Surprisingly, when it comes to bicycle seats and padding, more isn’t necessarily better. And it’s not a one size fits all equation either. In reality, it depends on how you sit and the level of riding activity you’re doing. If you’re mountain biking, your seat may need the extra cushioning to help absorb those bumps along the ride. For street cycling, a smaller seat is better because it keeps the bike light and allows for more ease of movement.

When in doubt, you can always drop into your local bike shop to adjust your fit with a professional. But ideally, if you follow these guidelines, your back, hand and knee positions should be aligned for maximum riding comfort.

Last but not least, don’t forget to make sure your helmet fits properly. And once you do, try to wear your hair the same way each time you go riding to make sure it stays that way.

Have a happy and safe ride!


Learn more about bike safety here before you or your children go for a ride. And find more tips to get you moving this summer by clicking on the MoveWell tab above.

Categories: MoveWell