Biking can be a great deal of fun and excellent exercise. And if you get a bike that fits you perfectly you can enjoy it even more. If the bike you ride isn’t right for you, it’s more of a struggle to enjoy yourself, and you can end up pretty sore from sitting and moving in cramped and unnatural ways. A bike that’s too big can even make you feel unstable and increase the risk of falls. So getting a properly fitting bike should be a top priority if you want to enjoy the sport of biking.
When you purchase a bike, don’t shortchange yourself. Let an expert help you adjust it. If you purchase the bike at a dedicated sporting goods or bike shop, you should be able to have it professionally adjusted. Wear the clothes and shoes you’ll typically wear while biking, so the adjustments are perfect, as you’ll be sitting on the bike as they’re made. For the most enjoyment, this is a small expense.
Consider toe clips. They make sure that your foot is on the proper part of the pedal. Many beginning bikers put their feet flat on the pedals, which is wrong. The toe clip ensures that the ball of your foot is over the spindle of the pedal, which gives you more control and power.
Seat height is another important adjustment that can make or break your biking experience. A bike shop will make sure the seat is at the right height before you leave, but you may still need to make some adjustments as you start riding. If the seat is too low, your leg won’t extend properly—your knee should be almost straight when the pedal is at the bottom position—and your knee will bend too much when you’re at the top of the pedal stroke. But you don’t want the seat so high that you almost lose the pedal on the downstroke. You shouldn’t be rocking in the seat when you pedal to keep the contact.
The other consideration about fitting the bike to you perfectly is the handlebar height. It’s important not to tilt them too far upward or position them in such a way that, in the event of a crash, the bar is right in line with your stomach. You merely want them in a comfortable position where you’re not straining or cramping by hanging on. You also want to feel stable on the bike.
When it comes to the pedals, and toe-clips or clip-on pedals, definitely get the help of a biking expert who can adjust your pedals (or in the case of clip-on pedals, your shoes) and make sure that everything is adjusted properly.
You can adjust the seat yourself, as well as the handlebars. Sometimes when you’re out biking you’ll even see bikers stopped and making adjustments. Once you get your bike to fit you, things as simple as new shoes can require adjustments. You’ll learn what feels best to you, and adjust accordingly.