How to Be a Big Wheel on Your Bicycle
By Sara Butler
If you’ve ever watched the Tour de France, there’s one thing you’ve likely never seen: poor bike posture. Well, you might have, but you can bet that particular cyclist wasn’t leading the pack. That’s because when it comes to riding your bike safely and effectively, you have to maintain proper posture.
Everyone is built differently, so there’s no 100 percent correct way for everyone to ride a bike. You have to tailor your riding posture to what’s comfortable for you, but it’s important to keep a few central tenets in mind to make your ride more comfortable and to help prevent injury.
Get ready to channel your inner Greg LeMond and incorporate these cycling tips from the chiropractors at The Joint Chiropractic to help you keep your posture on point.
Why Posture Matters
Your grandmother didn’t give you grief about your posture simply to have something to do, she did it because proper posture is important in order for your body to function efficiently and comfortably. Proper posture while cycling is no different. In fact, if you can follow our chiropractic posture tips for cycling, then you can increase your efficiency, improve the handling of your bike, stay more comfortable on your ride, breathe easier, and work to prevent injury.
If you’ve ever asked what Peter Sagan would do (WWPSD?), then the answer is that he would follow these rules of the road to keep his winning form.
What Proper Posture Looks Like
As we mentioned, everyone is a little different, but there are a few universal rules that even Lance Armstrong didn’t break. And if he did, he shouldn’t have. These include:
- Find the right fit - A bike is like any other piece of sporting equipment. You must make sure it is fit properly to you, has thick tires and a shock-absorbing seat -- as well as high handlebars -- to help you maintain the correct riding posture.
- Relax - If you’ve cycled over any distance, you’ve probably noticed that your shoulders tend to creep up as you ride. This puts unnecessary stress on the back, neck, and shoulders and can also make doing a shoulder check more difficult. Stay loose and relaxed as you ride. Don’t tense up.
- Bend at the elbows - If you lock your elbows and put all of your weight on your arms, then you’ll be in for a rough ride. Make sure to keep your chest up and your elbows slightly bent but tucked into your sides. If you can do that, then you can reduce the stress on your shoulders, hands, and wrists.
- Keep the spine in neutral - The goal for your spine is to keep it straight but not tense or locked into a line. You also don’t want to round your back. Instead, keep your core muscles engaged to help support your spine in a neutral but loose position.
- Stay in line - Your knees should never bow out to the sides, even when tackling a monster incline. Instead, your knees should be in line with your foot as you pedal.
Work to Improve Your Position
Eddy Merckx won all five Monuments of Cycling, likely because he was always working to get better. You may never have the opportunity to ride in the Giro d’Italia, but you can work to correct your posture to ensure better efficiency when you ride and be more comfortable while you’re doing it.
Aside from a bike that fits you properly, you should also:
- Stay in tune - Think about your body when you’re riding. Try to focus on where you’re feeling tension, whether your joints are moving in their natural range of motion, and how relaxed your muscles are. If you can work through your posture piece by piece each time you ride, then the proper form can become second nature.
- Be flexible - Flexibility equals balance and balance is integral to efficient cycling. If you’re struggling to maintain proper posture on a ride, then you may need to work on your flexibility off the bike through strength training and stretching.
If you ever want your own cycling nickname, like Big Mig or the Badger, then you have to work for it, and part of that work is perfecting your cycling posture. If you have any questions about the proper form on your bike, then talk to the chiropractors at The Joint Chiropractic today.
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