As the last remnants of winter dissipate and warm weather becomes a permanent fixture during the spring and summer, it’s only natural to feel the urge to ride.
For those of us who don’t currently own a bike, however, it may be tempting to purchase the first decent bike you can get our hands on. None of us wants to let another sunny Saturday slip past without a bicycle. But despite this urge, it’s important to take the time to shop around and find a bike that fits your body properly.
Every individual has a unique physique, and purchasing the right-sized bike for your frame will prevent injuries and provide you with a more comfortable riding experience. Let’s look at a few ways to evaluate the fit of a bicycle.
The height and feel of your bike saddle will impact the comfort of your ride. Correct saddle placement will allow you to pedal more efficiently and work all the muscle groups in your legs. Seats that are too high, for example, will cause your hamstrings to work disproportionately harder than the rest of your muscles and cause discomfort in your pelvis. Ideally, the saddle should be adjusted so that your leg is almost fully extended when it’s at the bottom of your pedal stroke.
The reach of your handlebars affects your weight distribution, and the amount of control you have while riding. Your weight distribution will in turn impact your balance. A handlebar reach that is unsuitable for the length of your arms will cause you to strain your neck, shoulder and lower back muscles while riding, causing pain and discomfort during long rides.
The easiest way to find the right reach is to simply hop on your bike and reach out to the handlebars. Simply put, the reach should feel comfortable and natural, with your elbows at a slight bend. Your arms should be at about a 90 degree angle from your torso. This positioning allows the muscles of your limbs to properly absorb shock from bumps.
There are further bike specifications that depend on your intent as a rider—whether you are looking for a new sport, or just seeking the occasional cruise. We recommend you do some additional research specific to the type of bike you want.
Regardless of your intended usage, a good fit is essential if you plan on riding your bike regularly. For more information, stop into Nantucket Bike Shop today and let us help you find a bike that fits you perfectly.