If you’re a cycling enthusiast, please skip through this. However, if you have recently started cycling or like me, just wanted to know a bit more about fitting a bike and cycling, read on!

I have clients present to me on a weekly basis talking to me about their bike, about the distances they are cycling and telling me that their neck, back, hip or knees are sore during or after a ride. How good the coffee was at the halfway point may also come up! When a recurrent or non-resolving issue involving cycling occurs, usually a referral to De Grandi in Geelong would be involved.

I don’t cycle. Period. The most I have ridden is a spin class where I contemplated that this may actually be where I die. Mark, on the other hand, has been cycling for almost as long as I have been alive and has been working at De Grandi Cycle and Sport in Geelong for 16 years. He has a lot of experience in the cycling world and made the cycling terminology make sense to me. Mark is certainly a wealth of knowledge and I feel like I came away with a lot of information.

Here are my nine biggest cycling takeaways from my catch up with Mark:

  1. Handlebars: the positioning of the handlebars can assist to de-load the neck and shoulders. Adding a more supportive tape to the bars can also reduce the load going into the shoulders.
  2. Attire: numb buttocks? Getting some padded bike shorts may the answer. Hot tip – don’t wearundies under them!
  3. Correct position and fit: Mark at De Grandi uses an inseam measurement as well as taking into account your height, flexibility and injuries to set up a bike that will be most efficient (and enjoyable) to ride. Having a bike specifically fitted to you is highly recommended.
  4. Carbon fibre and tires: The lighter the bike is, the easy it will be on the joints. So, if you have a few old injuries or some arthritis this might be the option for you. Slightly wider tires, with a little less air, are becoming more popular as they too reduce the shock coming up from the road into the joints when cycling.
  5. Footwear and clipping in: although it can be a little daunting this is actually the most efficient way to cycle. Mark showed me a number of options and you can practice in store. They even have cleat covers so that you don’t feel like you might slip over when you’re grabbing a coffee!
  6. Cadence: this is the Changing gear to increased your cadence may be beneficial if this sounds like you.
  7. Water: Mark suggest drinking about a litre per hour you are on the bike. I agree. Ensuring you are well hydrated will make your body work efficiently and fatigue at a less rapid rate. This will also assist your recovery post ride.

I feel like these tips are just the tip of the iceberg of information that Mark has shared with me. If you have pain when cycling it’s always worth having your neck, shoulder and pelvic posture assessed as dysfunctions present here may lead to knee, hip or neck pain. In saying this, after speaking to Mark, there are so many subtle changes that you can implement to make your cycling experience that bit sweeter.

For more information you can call De Grandi Cycle and Sport in Geelong on 03 5221 5099 or contact me on 0438000763. Happy cycling!

Dr Christine Fraser, Osteopath.