Bike Fit Unplugged
Lower Extremity Review Magazine features an article written by Happy Freedman, bike fitting specialist at HSS, discussing his Bike Fit process for cyclists.
Freedman explained he fits the cyclist, not the bike, to address the individualized needs of the rider. The process begins with a phone interview to determine if the cyclist has any injuries that are not appropriate to be treated with Bike Fit, followed by a detailed questionnaire inquiring about the individual’s cycling skills, medical conditions and other considerations. A musculoskeletal examination is conducted by a physical therapist, or trainer followed by the actual Bike Fit at the HSS Leon Root, MD Motion Analysis Laboratory (LRMALab).
Freedman wrote, “After the musculoskeletal exam, which includes strength, flexibility, and neurological function assessments, we perform the bike measurements required to capture all fit contact points, saddles, pedals, and handlebars, along with all pertinent frame dimensions. The bike is in place on a trainer when the examination is conducted. Cleats are checked for wear and adjustments, while shoes are checked for proper fit. If foot orthoses or insoles are present, they are also inspected.” He added, “The on-bike examination is conducted next. Generally, we start with a warm-up. During the warm-up, I use a pair of lasers lined up off the 2nd metatarsal and patella to give me a centerline and the ability to image lateral motion during the pedal stroke. Among the observations I have made over the years, quadriceps make inadequate stabilizers. Poor posture usually affects your ability to breathe well, yet most cyclists are set up in a quad dominant position.”
Freedman concluded, “Cyclists need to be mobile when on their bike, to improve ride quality as well as to optimize their own body mechanics through the ability to self-adjust. This is part of the process that I try to teach the cyclist. Furthermore, in my fittings, I encourage gastrocnemius and soleus complex activation. This is done to help improve venous return to the heart. As described by Starling’s law, stroke volume of the heart increases in response to an increase in the volume of blood in the ventricles, before contraction (the end diastolic volume), when all other factors remain constant. A mobile position can potentially lower the cyclist’s heart rate. Cycling is an endurance activity, so my goal is to make the rider as comfortable as possible while improving efficiency.”
Read the full article at Lermagazine.com.