Cyclo-therapy: How much have you thought about your posture and set-up? Getting it wrong can cause injury
Saturday 27 June 2009
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.
Plastic waste in ocean to increase tenfold by 2020
Cold-blooded species face wipeout as they cannot cope with global warming, study says
Have you heard 'the hum'? Mystery of Earth's low droning noise could now be solved
The 12 most-read 2011 articles in Environment
Animal Extinction - the greatest threat to mankind
- 1 Stolen Instagram photo sells for $90,000
- 2 Before you complain about your GP, this is what you need to know about actually doing the job
- 3 UK's biggest male rape charity Survivors UK has state funding slashed to zero despite 120% rise in men reporting sexual violence and seeking help
- 4 'Don't blame all men for rape' campaign backfires spectacularly
- 5 Charlie Charlie Challenge explained: not a Mexican demon being summoned — it's gravity
EU referendum: David Cameron's rules are a 'democratic disgrace', says French-born Scottish politician set to be denied a vote
The day that Britain resigned as a global power
SNP fury as HS2 finds 'no business case' for taking fast train service to Scotland
Australian man punched in the face for defending Muslim women from abuse on train
A nation of inequality: How the UK is failing to feed its most vulnerable people
David Starkey 'tells Amal Clooney to shut up and stop over-promoting human rights'
£17000 - £21000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Engineers for field & bench ser...
£30000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A fantastic opportunity for a t...
£35000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This global provider of call ce...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: By developing intimate relationships with inte...