Friday, May 16, 2008

Finding Comfort on your Bike

I'm often asked how to make bicycling more comfortable. When nothing hurts, you feel as if you can ride forever.

After a bicycle helmet, padded bike shorts are the most important piece of clothing to have while you’re riding. They’ll allow you to bike longer because your butt won’t get as sore. If you’re shy about the tight lycra look, then get the “shorts-within-a-short” or the new sport-skirts that hide the padded shorts underneath. And remember – always wear them without underwear.

Bicycling gloves should be next on your shopping list. Good cycling gloves have padded palms to help prevent excess handlebar pressure from injuring the nerves in your hands. Gloves will also help prevent injury if you fall, as hands are often the first to hit the ground in an accident.

Once you have the necessary clothing, you need a properly fitted bike to make sure you’re as comfortable as possible while you’re riding. There are many ways to tweak the fit of the bike to match your body better.

If you don’t know how to make the adjustment yourself, bring your bicycle to a bike shop. Most adjustments can be made in a second or two. Think about buying the necessary tool and learning how to do it yourself, as most adjustments are pretty simple. Then you’ll be able to dial in the fit of your bike just right.

Always make one small adjustment at a time. Then try riding your bike to see if it helps. Remember that just half an inch can make a big difference. Here are some suggestions for getting rid of those aches and pains.

•If your knees hurt: try moving your seat higher, lower, forward or back.

•If your neck hurts: raise your handlebars to put yourself in a more upright position. You can also consider changing your bike’s stem to a shorter one that brings the handlebars closer to you.

•If your shoulders hurt: and you use straight handlebars, consider getting narrower bars or cutting the ends off the ones you have. Your arms may be too far apart.

•If your hands hurt or fall asleep: turn the angle of your handlebars toward you so your hands are in a more natural and relaxed position.

•If your butt hurts: try changing the angle of your seat. Point the nose down or up a tiny bit to take pressure off the wrong areas. You can also try changing your seat. Seats are very personal, so it may just be a matter of finding the right one for you.

If you wear the right clothing and make the right adjustments to your bike, you should be pain-free while bicycling. Your body will thank you. And so will your bike, as you’ll spend more time on it!

No comments: