“A good ride is a comfortable ride.”
Biking is amazing! It helps you stay fit while having fun. However, there are times that you suffer from muscle pains because of an uncomfortable ride. Here are some tips on how to fix it.
Change your saddle.
Suffering pain in your sensitive areas means that your undercarriage and your saddle is not a perfect fit. Yes, it can be tempting to settle on the saddle that is supplied with the bike and get on with it even if it doesn’t suit your needs. However, this only leads to more problems in the future.
How can you decide which one is best for you?
Some bike shops can help you decide using a saddle finding system. You can simply give some basic information about yourself and the way you ride your bike. Then, the bike shop assistant will do the rest and give you some recommendations.
Some also allow you to use their trial saddles for a couple of weeks before making a purchase. While other bike shops will be happy to swap the saddle supplied with your bike with the one you prefer.
Check your saddle height.
Maybe you have the right saddle, but the problem is the way you have positioned it. Setting your saddle too high can cause knee pain while setting it too low will compromise your pedaling efficiency.
To set the right saddle height, there are methods that you can use. Some of these are the Heel method, the 109% method, and the Holmes method. Also, a good starting point to set your saddle height is to measure your inside leg and subtract it to 10 centimeters. The result can then be applied to the bike as the distance between the center of the bottom bracket to the top of the saddle. Through this, you will have a basic idea of your correct saddle height, thus allowing you to adjust it based on your flexibility, crank length, and pedal systems.
Reduce tire pressure.
The pains from bumpy rides can be alleviated using lower tire pressures. The lower the pressure, the higher the amount of cushioning you can get from the road. Though the usual pressure is usually 100 psi in the search for lower rolling resistance, the added protection of lower tire pressures will keep you fresher even at the end of long rides.
You can also use wider tires, which allows decreasing tire pressure without running the risk of a pinch flat. The increased width even allows you to ride faster!
Change your bar tape or grips.
One major consideration when doing long rides is keeping your hands and wrists free from pain. Having an old or poor-quality bar tape will make you feel uneasy, most especially when there are some bumps on the road. That’s why it is recommended to change your bar tape or grips.
Check your cleat positioning.
You will be spending all of your time turning the pedals. So, if your cleats aren’t set up correctly, it can cause problems with your ankle, knee, and hip because your foot is attached to the pedal in the wrong position.
To check, have the cleats positioned in line with the ball of your foot, angled straight. If you feel a lack of power or discomfort through your pedal stroke as you go along, then change the cleat position. You might need different cleat positions on each leg.
Change your handlebar
Handlebars come in different widths which are fitted for most people who buy a particular sized frame. However, the width won’t suit everyone. Moreover, the distance of the drop (the vertical distance from the point where the stem attaches to the ends of the bar) also varies between the bars, as does the reach (the horizontal distance from the point where the stem attaches to the furthest point forward). So, if you feel like the reach is so far or the drop is too deep, changing to a compact handlebar might be better.
Switch your stem
Bike stems come in various lengths and angles which allows you to alter your biking position. So, if you feel like your handlebar is too far, you can fit a shorter stem to reduce your reach. But if you feel like your handlebar is too low, you can just add a spacer underneath the stem, fit a stem with a higher rise, or just flip the stem you currently have.
Though mudguards may not free you from any pain, these will still help you feel comfortable as this keeps your back and bum warm and dry when riding on wet roads.
Have a professional bike fit
If problems still exist and you’re struggling to get comfortable on your bike, it is best to have a professional bike fit. This means that a specialist bike fitter will set up your bike to make it right for you.
Use the proper gear
If changing your bike components doesn’t help, try using proper gear. Wearing bike shorts with padding can make a huge difference. Mitts and full-finger gloves can also help as these absorb vibrations from the handlebar. You can also buy creams that can help in reducing friction and chafing as you ride.
These are just some of the many things you can do to make your bike more comfortable. Hopefully, you’ll find these tips helpful.