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A Bike That Fits

A very common question from Climate Riders is, “What type of bike should I ride?”

The long answer would require a debate between the pros and cons of steel, a cost benefit analysis of carbon fiber, consultation from an orthopedist to decide on drop or riser bars, and attending the thesis defense of this paper to determine the proper tire type.

The short answer is: a bike that fits. Riding a bike that fits properly has many near and long term benefits. If your bike fits properly, riding will be more comfortable and you will avoid possible injuries.

Despite what some say, riding a bike should be fun and painless. The best way to achieve this is to ride a properly fitting bike and to gradually work your way up to your training goals.

As you ramp up your training and start spending more time on the bike, discrepancies between your body and your bike are more likely to present themselves. Always look for solutions to any sort of pain early on rather than letting minor issues propagate into chronic injuries.

Small adjustments to seat height, stem length, cleat position, and handlebar height can make huge differences in the comfort of your ride. If you are new to cycling, or have a new bike, consider getting a proper bike fit. Also, if you change your saddle, handlebars, or pedals, minor adjustments may be necessary elsewhere to maintain a proper fit.

Once you have fine-tuned your bike fit, you will be able to spend more time on two wheels and train harder.

Want to ride faster and further with less effort? While a featherweight, carbon fiber tubeless wheel set might help, consider the free, performance enhancing effects of proper body position in the saddle. Utilizing the correct muscles allows you to fully exploit the mechanical advantage of your bike. 

Now that you have the short answer to the question, you can start looking into the intricacies of the long answer. Just note that Climate Riders have completed the ride on a variety of bicycles. The most important part is to be comfortable, and to keep training!

Next week’s blog will feature tips on seats saddles and sore nethers.

Patrick Colleran is Climate Ride’s Logistics and Rider Coordinator. In addition to Climate Ride, he is currently and perpetually training for his next big bike tour, mountain bike season, a double century and his local cyclocross series.