7 Tips to Make You More Comfortable (and Faster)
By Victor Jimenez (the Bicycle Lab)
Though there is no substitute for seeing an experienced bicycle fitter. There are a lot of simple things you can do on your own.
Adjust Your Seat Height
A properly adjusted seat height is the most important aspect of bicycle fit. A rough starting point is with your foot at the bottom of the pedal stroke you should have around a 30 degree bend in your knee. This will give you a pretty close approximation of your saddle height from the bottom bracket to the top of the saddle.
Adjust the Cleats on Your Shoes
While you can play with this on your own. I strongly encourage you to have the cleat position professionally evaluated. If set up incorrectly you will be waisting power and in some cases cause muscle strain and injury. But if you choose to adjust on your own. The basic idea is to set the rotation of the cleat so that the center lines up with your natural gait. The fore and aft adjustment is dependant on your style of riding, body asymmetries, among other variables.
Raise Your Handlebars
Yep you read correct. A higher bar height will open up your torso to hip angle and help with saddle comfort. Lower-back, hamstring, and hip flexibility are key to this positioning in this area. Improve your flexibility and improve your position. Raising your bars is also a good thing to do when you are not riding as much. Your flexibility will change as your fitness changes.
Level Your Saddle
Your saddle should generally be level or the nose pointed slightly up. If the saddle is uncomfortable in this position there may be something else in your position that needs to be adjusted.
Level Your Bars
The drops of your handlebars should be roughly level or slightly up. This helps keep all the hand positions open.
Tilt Your Aerobars Up Slightly
By tilting your aerobars (if you use aerobars) up slightly most people will find a more relaxed position for their upper body. Aerobar set up is a complex issue, because of differences in design and use. For more information on Aerobar set up, please contact me.
Put Insoles in Your Shoes
Most cycling shoes have no arch support at all. There are many off the shelf brands to choose from or even better get a custom made pair that is molded to your feet.