Professional Bike FittingBike Fitting for Portland and Vancouver Cyclists
Bike Fitting for Portland Cyclists
Portland, Oregon has been named the most bike friendly city in the U.S., with a bicycle network containing 324 miles of bikeways!
Do you experience pain or discomfort when riding your bike?
You most likely have improper bike ergonomics for your riding style. Neck and shoulder symptoms are related to handlebar/stem position. Lower extremity (knee/hip/ankle) pain is related to saddle position. Riding your bike should be a pain-free experience. Other factors to consider include; posture, strength and flexibility of the arms, back, legs, and ankles.
What is a bike fitting?
- Your bike is properly adjusted with tools to fit your individual body
- You receive a comprehensive evaluation of your flexibility, strength, and posture
- Assessment of painful areas
- Measurement of biomechanical alignment
Why bike fitting by a physical therapist?
Bike fittings are often performed by bike shops; there are even websites that can teach you how to fit the bike yourself. The problem is that each and every one of us are different in so many ways that one rule does not apply to all. Our bodies vary in alignment, muscle balance, conditioning, and injury history. This is why a physical therapist is able to confidently evaluate the most important component of the ride … you.
Physical therapists have expertise in posture, injury, anatomy, tissue physiology, and biomechanics. They can teach you about your individual posture, strength, and flexibility. A website cannot do this.
Common problems correctable by expert bike fitting
When there is a problem with your bike set up, supporting your whole body weight on a narrow bicycle seat can cause damage to a nerve in your body called the pudendal nerve. When this nerve is under pressure or damaged, riders can experience numbness and tingling in the seat area. We call this numbness and tingling neuropathy, and it is too common among cyclists. A scientific survey of 250 long-distance cyclists found that 22% reported symptoms of numbness or pain in the pudendal area. Twenty-one percent of the group reported penile numbness with six percent lasting longer than a week. Thirteen percent reported symptoms of impotence with some cases lasting longer than a week or a month. Ignoring neuropathy in the pudendal area that comes from lots of bicycling can lead to long-term damage to the nerve and long-term health consequences such as impotence.
Exercise is good and needed, so we definitely wouldn’t tell you to bicycle less before we try some simple changes to get your bike working better for you. Neuropathy can suggest medical problems, but if it seems to be related to bicycling, the first step is to make sure you have the optimal equipment and a good bike fit.
Wider seats have been shown to better distribute pressure and alleviate the kind of pressure that causes seat neuropathy. However, because wider seats can negatively affect performance, many cyclists hold this option out as a last resort. In 2004, the Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise published a study proving that seats with a split nose or a center cutout can reduce bicycle seat neuropathy. Some of the newer seats reduce pressure in that area by about 50%.
Handle bar height, seat tilt, seat position, and top tube length all work together to affect your seated bike posture. A simple adjustment to one or more of these variables can improve the way your seat puts pressure on you. A professional bike fitting can adjust these and other variables to make sure you not only have a safe and healthy set up but that you also have the set up that will deliver optimal performance.
Interested in getting a Bike Fitting? We offer Bike Fits at all three of our clinics.
Please call to schedule a bike fitting appointment today.
East Portland Clinic: 503-236-3108
West Portland Clinic: 971-245-6217
Vancouver Clinic: 360-737-3346