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Physio Bike Fit

With a recent increase in bike and home trainer sales around Australia during the COVID-enforced lockdown (Bicycle Network, 2020), it is a really good time to raise awareness about the importance of fitting a person to their bike. 

Many people, particularly those newer to bike riding, assume their pains and discomforts must be a ‘normal’ part of riding and that they will ‘adapt’ as their body gets used to it. In some cases, this has an element of truth. In other cases, people will find themselves tinkering with their bike fit, trying different saddles, different chamois creams, various knicks, different gloves, sometimes to little or no avail. 

Unfortunately this can be very off-putting (and expensive!) and I’m sure this has turned many people away from riding. Often these adjustments are just treating the symptoms of the discomfort rather than the cause which is why they’re forever searching for that magical fix. 

The comfort element of bike fitting is an important one but a professional bike fit can also improve your efficiency and your power; meaning you can ride faster for less effort. Every individual is different and have personal goals that they will want to achieve. Bike fits are usually individually tailored to meet these needs, whether you’re a semi-professional road cyclist, a regular commuter or a weekend warrior. 

What is a physio bike fit?

Physios are very well-placed to perform bike fits due to our level of expertise in body assessment and tailoring each fit to a person’s specific needs. 

Traditionally, bike fitters would use an anthropometric measure such as an inseam length, then calculate saddle height based on a formulae such as the LeMond method. While this can be quite helpful to set a base window of saddle heights, it does not take into account individual circumstances such as flexibility meaning that you may end up in a position that is not optimal for you. 

We are able to factor in any past or present injuries, areas of discomfort, history of riding and your goals to ensure your fit is a comfortable, sustainable one for you. 

What are common conditions bike fits can help improve?

Research shows that the most common injuries for cyclists are knee, lower back and neck discomfort (Clarsen et al, 2010) .

A professional bike fit can also assist with hand tingling, ‘hot foot’ and saddle region issues. 

South Melbourne Physio Bike Fit options 

We provide three offerings with reports emailed within 48 hours.

1. Standard bike fit. Allow up to 60 minutes. This involves taking detailed measurements, looking at your cycling biomechanics and bike fit, providing recommendations regarding your position and if recommended, making adjustments and emailing you a report.

2. In-depth bike fit. Allow up to 90 minutes. This commences with physical assessment, including strength and range of motion testing. This enables us to identify any potential factors for discomfort on the bike. As per the 60 minute option, we then take detailed measurements, have a look at your cycling biomechanics and fit and make any adjustments that we recommend. Again, you will be emailed a thorough report with measurements and recommendations regarding both your fit and any factors identified through physical examination. 

3. Follow up. Allow up to 40 minutes. The purpose of this session is to review any changes made to the bike along with any recommended treatment and/or exercises. 

Why South Melbourne Physio?

Both Andrew and Hannah have completed the physio specific ‘Science of Cycling’ course and Andrew was privileged to spend further time learning under Rodrigo Bini in 2017. Rodrigo is one of the foremost experts in the world of cycling biomechanics and has worked as the BMC biomechanist. 

Andrew and Hannah continue to progress their bike fit skills and knowledge through undertaking further professional development.

Both are very experienced cyclists. Andrew has regularly podiumed in the Victorian Racing Series (VRS) Masters Cycling events, including a 2nd place in the Masters B category in the 2020 Melbourne to Warrnambool and overall GC win of Tour of Mansfield in 2018. 

Hannah has raced on a national level for the women’s team Specialized Securitor and her highlights include winning the Elite Women’s Sprinters Jersey in the 2019 Tour of Bright and winning both the elite road and criterium South Australian Championships in 2012. 

Beyond this though, Hannah and Andrew are passionate about helping all cyclists, no matter their level of ability, experience or goals! At SMP we aim to provide any cyclist with the optimal biomechanical bike setup to reduce injuries and optimise performance

SMP Cycling Community 

We are all about community. Usually we run a Thursday ‘shop ride’ which starts at 6 am out the front of South Melbourne Physio. We ride a solid tempo to Mordialloc before rolling turns all the way back to coffee at St Ali. This is currently on hold due to COVID-restrictions but we will endeavour to return to this routine as soon as we safely can!

Additionally, South Melbourne Physio sponsors a VRS Masters Men’s A team that took out the team’s competition in 2019!

We also organize annual SMP getaways! In 2019 four of the group traveled to Japan! In 2020 a group of 14 riders from Victoria, NSW and QLD visited Hannah’s home state Tasmania for an adventurous long weekend away. 

If you are interested in getting a bike fit, please call us on 9645 7955 to book in your physio bike fit with Andrew or Hannah. 

Physio bike fits are able to be claimed through private health insurance, depending on your level of cover.

Stay tuned for a myth busters of bike fitting blog next week!

References

1. The Bicycle Network, 2020, ‘Pedalling to a better normal: a plan to ride out of Covid-19’, https://www.bicyclenetwork.com.au/newsroom/2020/05/24/pedalling-to-a-better-normal-a-plan-to-ride-out-of-covid-19/

2. Clarsen, B., Krosshaug, T. and Bahr, R. (2010), ‘Overuse injuries in professional road cyclists’, American Journal of Sports Medicine, 38 (12): 2494-501

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