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Tips & Tools

When A Bike Fit is correct

When a bike fit is correct:
1) You should be WITHOUT discomfort (don't wait to the point of pain before seeking help!)
2) You should feel like you have about 30-40% of your weight on your hands while you are in your hoods and 60-75% of your weight on the saddle (if you measured weight distribution it would be 45 hands 55 saddle or so)
3) You should feel like 60-75% of the weight on your saddle is on your ischial tuberosities (sit bones)
4) Your elbows should be bent about 20-30 degrees (slightly) not locked, with your neck relaxed
5) Your back should be almost flat not hunched over
6) Your knees should be going straight not coming closer or farther away from the top tube or making circles on the way up / down
7) Your hips aren't rocking more than ½ - 1 inch side to side

Some of the above requirements are affected by the body's flexibility / core stability / and an understanding of good cycling mechanics. For a quick guesstimate of starting position

Seat
- Ht: heel on pedal knee extended at DBC
- Fore / aft knee over pedal spindle with 60-70% of weight on ischial tubs
- Angle: about horizontal so that you're not sliding forward / rolling backward and your ischial tubes are on the meat of the saddle

Cleats
- Rotation of cleat: allowing your feet to point in their current anatomical neutral and knees not forced to twist in an unnatural position
- Fore / aft so the ball of your foot is over the pedal spindle – center of pedal
- In / out for a straight line upper leg / lower leg and 2nd toe (Q angle)

Bar position
- Reach set up so COMFORTABLE on break hoods / shifters with a functional length stem (8-12 cm long with a slight up angle)
- Drop depends entirely on flexibility strength and goals generally the top of the hoods 1 -2 inched above the saddle for fair flexibility / core stability and 1-2 inches below for excellent flexibility / core stability

All of the above are very generic recommendations which can vary drastically between people depending on one's goals, flexibility, strength, core stability, past medical history and many many, more things.


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Medicine of Cycling: Bike Fit

Performance Conditioning Cycling Newsletter features an article by Revolutions in Fitness owner, Curtis Cramblett. He shares his insights and experience on the numerous health and performance benefits that a great bike fit can provide.
Read the Article

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ALC Rider's stretches

Revolutions in Fitness has helped many cyclists and cycling organizations like ALC (Aids Life Cycle) over the years including providing these very helpful stretches for before and after any strenuous activity.

Stretching helps to:
• Reduce muscle tension, and make the body feel more relaxed
• Increase the range of motion
• Prevent muscle and joint strains
• Promote circulation
• Reduce muscular soreness
• Increase cycling speed/performance by decreasing the muscle tension fighting your pedaling!
Stretches Document

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Pumping Iron: Rules To Lift By

By: Curtis Cramblett, Physical Therapist, Cycling Coach, Strength and Conditioning Specialist

Ask any mechanic, and they will tell you that the best way to increase your car engine’s gas mileage, increase its acceleration and max speed, while decreasing the time it takes the gas to get to the engine -- is with regular maintenance and tune-ups of your car’s engine and components. Well, your muscles (including your heart) are your body’s engine and components, and strength training is one of its forms of maintenance and growth.
Read the full article

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Curtis on Outside Magazine


Curtis serves on a panel of fitness experts who create workouts, explain the science, and consult on issues for Outside Magazine’s “Pillars of Fitness Series”. The goal of the series is to guide you through the bad habits, myths, and disinformation that permeate much of the wellness community, and replace it with essential truths for the athlete in you.

Step 1: Building a Base
Step 2: Tune Up
Step 3: Know your limits
Step 4: Periodize
Step 5: Get Going

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Introduction

As most avid cyclists already know, riding a bicycle represents fun, fitness, companionship with fellow riders. Unfortunately, most cyclists at some point in their lives have learned their bicycles can also be a source of aches, pains and overuse injuries. There is hope, however. Ongoing developments in bike fit technology, greater biomechanical understanding relative to cyclists’ needs and sophisticated bike fitting techniques have resulted in a comprehensive bike fit solution capable of addressing the underlying causes of physical complaints, and returning the affected rider to comfort on the bike.

What Should a Comprehensive Bike Fit Include?

Since the above suggests the prospect of a bike fit as a source of ‘pain relief,’ it is important to note that not all bike fit providers are created equal. Instead, the achy rider would do well to ensure his bike fit solution of choice marries physical therapy/biomechanics evaluation and treatment, and appropriate technology with traditional evaluation and adjustments to the bike itself. Only then is a bike fit solution truly comprehensive and able to:

  • Accurately evaluate the patient’s physical dysfunction/source of pain on the bike, rather than simply guessing at the problem
  • Effectively assess translation of on-table evaluation and treatment into on-bike changes in patient biomechanics
  • Determine a short-term bike position that accommodates the patient’s dysfunction and facilitates healing by reducing stress on injured/recovering tissues

The above commentary on bike fit solutions may further lead the reader to ask what other ‘basics’ a comprehensive bike fit should include. As a minimum, the following bike fit-related contact point dimensions should be checked (and adjusted, if appropriate):

  • Cleat position – Fore/aft, rotation and medial/lateral
  • Seat height – Fore/aft, seat angle (NOTE: This dimension is best determined via dynamic measurement using Retül motion capture technology. A goniometer can be substituted if motion capture is not available)
  • Handlebar position -- Determined by handlebar stem length/angle
  • Handlebar dimensions -- Width, reach and drop (road bike)/brake lever position

The above dimensions have 'neutral/efficient positions' for the average healthy cyclist; however, they can also be altered to reduce tissue stress when disorders such as PFA, hamstring tendonitis, cervical disc injury, and Achilles tendon injury are present. For any given patient, the bike fitter must know which dimension must be adjusted in light of the patient’s biomechanics. In addition, the fitter must understand which components might need to be replaced or added to the patient’s bike as part of the bike fit process, e.g., addition of forefoot or rear foot shims to patient’s clipless pedal system to address foot tilt, changing out improperly sized handlebars to achieve appropriate width. At Revolutions In Fitness, a long-time provider of physical therapy comprehensive bike fits, such adjustments, along with physical therapy evaluation/treatment and advanced biomechanical tools such as Retül (motion capture) and Spin Scan (pedal mechanics), have often eliminated patient pain with a single bike fitting session!