Bike Fit

The old adage says that you never forget how to ride a bike. You may also never forget the discomfort associated with riding a bike. Many cyclists believe that the pain between your shoulders, saddle induced numbness, or aching knees and lower back are just part of cycling. Or is it? Much of the discomfort experienced during cycling can be traced back to a poorly fitting bike. Eliminating discomfort and increasing cycling efficiency is an integral part of the fitting process. The goal at Paragon Fitness & Physical Therapy, P.S. is to make your riding experience symptom free and more rewarding by examining every aspect of your cycling comfort and efficiency.

If your body is not in proper biomechanical alignment with the mechanics of the bike, energy is wasted due to inefficient power transfer. Furthermore, on a two hour ride a cyclist will average between 8,400 to 13,000 revolutions of the pedals. In the absence of proper alignment and efficient power transfer, poor movement patterns result leading to increased risk of repetitive stress injuries.

Fitting Concepts

At Paragon Fitness, I perform an in-depth musculoskeletal examination including a detailed movement pattern assessment to determine baseline muscle performance, muscle extensibility, joint mobility, and coordination values. Integration of the information gathered with extensive bike mechanic knowledge allows us to fine tune your position and movement for the best cycling efficiency with the least risk for repetitive stress injuries.

The fitting process uses mirrors, anatomical marking, digital video camera recording and sometimes a power meter. The digital camera is invaluable in assisting the rider to make changes to their position and form and in visualizing how the changes relate to mechanical changes to the bike by watching video clips taken before and after positional, form, and mechanical adjustments.

Clients often ask “why use a power meter”? The reason is that it is the best objective tool to determine if the positional changes made actually increase efficiency. There are many fits performed that look good but they do not necessarily increase speed or efficiency. The system I use at Paragon Fitness integrates information gained from position and form changes, mechanical adjustments and power meter data. With this approach I believe are able to create the most efficient position with maximal power transfer for each individual cyclist.

Improved foot mechanics via orthotic prescription or foot rotation interventions with angled shims can also be part of the solution. In some cases, despite all attempts to create the best bike fit for efficiency and power, it may be determined that the best solution is to embark on a comprehensive physical therapy program to manage impairments in muscle performance, muscle flexibility, joint mobility, and movement patterns. In the end, our objective is to assist you in achieving your fullest potential as a recreational or competitive cyclist.