Cycling is a hugely repetitive exercise – cycling for an hour will usually involve over 5000 revolutions – so even a small mismatch between the size and set up of a bike can quickly affect the body, and over time can lead to strains and injuries. Most commonly we see lower back, neck and knee problems in cyclists, but it is also common to see shoulder, upper back and hip issues.
There is very good information available on what size bike is right for you and how your bike should be set up. This typically uses measurements of your body (height, leg length, trunk length, etc) and applying certain formulas. However, sometimes this is not enough. Our approach is to look at what the recipe says you should be, and then compare that to how you actually are – and work from there to prevent injuries and make you a better cyclist.
Often there can be a discrepancy between the ideal bike set up and the reality of your body shape, size and flexibility. This is where a physiotherapy assessment can help you. It may be that your upper back is too stiff and is limiting your ability to get into a good streamlined position, or that your gluteals are too tight and you aren’t able to bend enough at the hips – both lead to overload on the lower back and may cause pain when cycling.