Cyclo-therapy: How much have you thought about your posture and set-up? Getting it wrong can cause injury

A A A

It's over a year since I drove past a little bike shop in Sussex and popped in for some socks. About an hour later I had the socks. And a new pair of shoes. Oh, and a gleaming new roadbike worth £2,000. I've cherished my Trek Madone, with its blue carbon frame and wispy wheels, but last week I was reminded of the perils of the impulse buy – my companion over hundreds of miles is completely wrong for me.

That was the verdict of Phil Cavell at Cyclefit, a London bike shop dedicated to blurring the boundary between man and machine. How much have you thought about your posture and bike set-up? From the height of your seat to the length of your crank (bigger is not better), there's a lot that can be out of kilter. And getting it wrong can cause inefficiency and injury.

Phil's Covent Garden store is part-Savile Row atelier and part-Loughborough Uni sports lab. The science happens in the back room, where, after taking my inside leg, Phil watches me ride my Trek on a trainer. Turns out the frame's way too small, so my seat's very high, with a big drop to my bars. To reduce discomfort, I've shifted my saddle forwards but that's skewed my knee alignment.

Next I switch to the Sizecycle, an adjustable bike jig linked to a computer. Phil quickly determines the perfect set-up and, as he tinkers, my power readouts creep miraculously higher. The biggest spike comes when he tells me simply to stop slouching (to give my tight hamstrings more freedom). To help even more, Phil moulds hi-tech footbeds for my shoes, whose position on my pedals he also fine-tunes.

It's as hi-tech as it sounds and isn't cheap, but Cyclefit's service is an investment worth considering if you're serious about cycling (those footbeds are a revelation). For general tips on posture and bike set-up, whether you're a weekend warrior or occasional commuter, visit our cycling blog.

Meanwhile, I have a choice – order a custom frame (upwards of £2,000), or tweak my bike so it's as close as possible. I opt for the latter, which improves things, but there's only so much Phil can do with my ill-fitting frame. I leave dreaming of a bespoke bike – I've heard riding one gives the sensation that the machine is an extension of the body. But this time I'll think before reaching for my wallet.

s.usborne@independent.co.uk or see independent.co.uk/cyclotherapy

News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Game Of Thrones
Uh-oh, winter is coming. Ouch, my eyes! Ygritte’s a goner. Lysa’s a goner. Tywin’s a goner. Look, a dragon
tvSpoiler warning: The British actor says viewers have 'not seen the last' of his character
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvOnly remaining original cast-member to leave long-running series
Sport
The Etihad Stadium, home of Manchester City
premier league

The Independent's live blog of today's Premier League action

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Polly Borgen at the Tribeca Film Festival in 2012
peopleThe Emmy award-winner starred in Cape Fear, the Sopranos and Desperate House Wives
Sport
FootballGerman sparks three goals in four minutes at favourite No 10 role
News
Rumer was diagnosed with bipolarity, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder: 'I was convinced it was a misdiagnosis'
peopleHer debut album caused her post-traumatic stress - how will she cope as she releases her third record?
Life and Style
Couples have been having sex less in 2014, according to a new survey
life
Arts and Entertainment
tvReview: 'Time Heist' sees a darker side to Peter Capaldi's Doctor
Voices
Holly's review of Peterborough's Pizza Express quickly went viral on social media
voices
News
Dennis Rodman has confirmed he is not going to the Middle East to 'talk to with the leaders of Isis' as claimed in a recent satirical report
people
News
people'Bring It On' actress says her legal team will combat the 'vultures'
Sport
Radamel Falcao was forced to withdraw from the World Cup after undergoing surgery
premier leagueExclusive: Reds have agreement with Monaco
Arts and Entertainment
musicBiographer Hunter Davies has collected nearly a hundred original manuscripts
Sport
A long jumper competes in the 80-to-84-year-old age division at the 2007 World Masters Championships
athletics
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Nursery Nurse

Negotiable: Randstad Education Manchester: Level 3 Nursery Nurse required for ...

Nursery Nurse

Negotiable: Randstad Education Manchester: L3 Nursery Nurses urgently required...

SEN Teaching Assistant

Negotiable: Randstad Education Manchester: We have a number of schools based S...

SEN Teaching Assistant

Negotiable: Randstad Education Manchester: SEN Teaching Assistant required in ...

Day In a Page

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam