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January: Bike fit.

Posted by Alexis Ring on

If you find yourself like most of the country in a rain-soaked or frozen state, you might have to take your training indoors this month.

Hopefully you’re fortunate enough to live near a great cycling studio where you can train with power.  I have been teaching spin classes at the Bay Club in San Francisco for two years.  I started taking classes there in 2009 when I was told to stop running.  Saddened by being trapped indoors, I fortunately had a couple of great teachers who gave me the fitness and the confidence to make the leap from a stationary bike to a real one.  It changed my life.  Now that I am leading my own classes, I only hope that I can encourage another person to discover the joys of riding a ‘real’ bike.

A huge part of getting the most out of any ride (indoors or out) is efficiency.  Without proper technique, form, and FIT, efficiency is compromised.  So we called upon our local expert, Pedro Dungo, bike fitter extraordinaire to walk us through setting up a spin bike.  He gave us three great points to remember when setting up your bike:

1. Saddle height: I often see clients sitting too low.  Here’s how to determine the correct height: place your pedals at 12 and 6.  Back pedal just slightly so that your bottom foot reaches 5:30.  Unclip and place your heel on the clip.  Your leg should be fully extended (no bend in the knee) and the hips should be balanced.


2. Saddle fore/aft position: Clip in and place your pedals at 3 and 9 o’clock.  On your front leg, locate the little notch just beneath your patella (knee cap).  It should fall directly over the spindle that attaches the pedal to the crank.  Have your neighbor double check this one for you.


3. Handlebar fore/aft position: I often see clients riding with their handlebars too close.  This takes the work out of the core (meaning back extensors as well as abdominals), places more pressure in the shoulders and neck, and places them into too much lumbar flexion (the pelvis is sort of tucked under, instead of slightly rotated forward).  Here’s the rule of thumb: the distance between the tip of the saddle and the handlebars should be equal to the length of your arm from your elbow to your fingertips.  I tell most new clients to start with their handlebars at the same height as their saddle, or slightly higher.  I encourage experienced riders to ride with a differential that is similar to their road bike.


Happy winter!

xo alexis

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