Bicycling can be a fun and rewarding activity but in order to avoid injuries it's important to take certain precautions that will help to ensure your ultimate safety. By choosing the right protective gear, practicing good posture, and making just a few small adjustments to your bike you can be sure to minimize the risk of injury. At SportsMed Physical Therapy in Franklin Lakes NJ, we work with bike riders who are recovering from injuries or facing other difficulties that may be affecting their performance.
The Importance Of Handlebar Positioning
The positioning of your hands on your bike's handlebars can drastically affect your overall riding experience. The right positioning will enhance not only the comfort of your hands but also the comfort of your back, your shoulders, and your neck as well. Proper handlebar positioning can affect your overall performance by increasing your pedaling efficiency, enhancing your body's aerodynamics and improving your handling.
When riding for recreation or sport, a good rule of thumb is to position your hands slightly past the width of your shoulders. To reduce any strain on your muscles, you should also consider changing your hand positioning occasionally while also keeping a controlled yet relaxed grip on your bike's handlebars.
Adjusting Your Bike's Pedals
Over time, bicycling can take its toll on a rider's knees but with a properly fitted bike you can be sure to minimize any damage that could occur. Fortunately, the right knee to pedal angle will help to reduce stress and pressure buildup which will allow you to ride comfortably for longer periods of time. By scheduling physical therapy at SportsMed Physical Therapy in Franklin Lakes NJ your physical therapist can help you determine the best knee to pedal angle based on your riding style. Recreational bikers should strive for a 35 to 40 degree angle while road cyclists will benefit best from a 30-35 degree angle.
Cyclists should position the ball of their foot onto the bicycle's pedal when riding for proper leverage and comfort. In order to improve your efficiency and minimize the risk of injury, you should also aim for 80-90 revolutions per minute while riding.
Adjusting Your Saddle & Body
A bicycle's saddle should always be level with the bike itself while allowing you to comfortably reach the handlebars. A poorly adjusted saddle places unnecessary strain on your hands, lower back, and neck which may lead to a pulled muscle or other painful injuries that could have otherwise been avoided.
After making any necessary adjustments to your bike, you'll want to begin practicing good form and posture to ensure the safest riding experience. By positioning your trunk between 30-40 degrees horizontally, and your shoulders between 80-90 degrees, you can greatly enhance your aerodynamics while improving your riding efficiency.
Using Protective Gear
Bicyclists should also remember the importance of protective gear when riding. To protect yourself from serious bodily harm, riders should always wear a helmet to protect themselves against head trauma in the case of a fall or other riding accident. Riding gloves and properly fitted shoes, with rigid soles, are also great options for cyclists as they help to improve the rider's grip and their control of the bicycle.
Benefiting From Physical Therapy in Franklin Lakes NJ
Physical therapy in Franklin Lakes NJ can be especially beneficial for cyclists who have experienced muscle strain or other common issues that can occur due to frequent riding. A professional physical therapist can provide you with valuable tips and advice while also helping you improve your muscle strength and agility.