We cyclists call it Lycra and there is a lot of it about lately. Here on Rathgar road we see hundreds of commuters and leisure cyclists pass by our clinic on their way to and from work every morning. This is great to see. All sorts of people are cycling now on all sorts of machines. Some new, some old and many ill-fitting.
New to Cycling?
For those of you who are new to cycling and training for that first triathlon, charity cycle or are just beginning in the sport, bike fit is important. The usual hotspots of discomfort for the beginner include the lower back and the back-side. This is a normal and temporary phenomenon. But often times pain and discomfort in these areas persists. Knee, neck and wrist pain are also common. Therefore having a bike that is comfortable and suitably set-up for your requirements is a must in order to minimise or indeed prevent such injuries. Appropriate bike set-up is key to enjoying injury free cycling and this becomes more pertinent as time in the saddle increases. Despite the myriad of different bike designs and new technologies available, a bicycle remains a bicycle.
Rider and bike have 5 contact points, both hands, both feet and the one bottom! The bike is a symmetrical machine. Many of us are not. Parameters such as handlebar reach, handlebar type and angle, the degree of knee flexion in pedal stroke, shoe cleat position and saddle position are the main interfaces between the rider and the bike. That results in a huge number of possible position permutations. Many people are now measured and fitted for their bikes before they purchase them. This is very useful. As with clothes, not everyone can buy “off the peg”.
Personal Health offer an individualised assessment of the individual’s anatomy and injury history. We take into account the type, the intensity and the volume of cycling of each client. We don’t try to make radical changes to set-up or position, rather we look at making micro adjustments to the bike set-up. This may stave off injury and reduce discomfort based on our physical assessment of the body first, and then the bike.
Based on our findings, we will provide a relevant exercise programme for the body. This is a bespoke service and some clients require more focus on the physical and others require more attention on the bike set-up. Most often though, it is a combination of the two.
Tim Ahern is a Chartered Physiotherapist, an Exercise Physiologist, and a hugely passionate cyclist. He is an integral part of Personal Health, providing a valuable link between our clinical expertise and the practical aspects of exercise prescription.