by James Bicos, M.D., Orthopedic Surgeon & Sports Medicine Specialist
A helmet is a cycling necessity, but you should also make sure you have the right size bike to avoid falls or stress on the body:
- Bikes come in all sizes. Depending on your build and need (road bike vs mountain bike) you need to choose the correct bike to fit your needs. Improper bike size can make it difficult to control and cause injuries from falls.
- Make sure the bike seat is level. Too much upward or downward tilt can put increased stress on the body and predispose you to overuse injuries. Make sure the bike seat is at the proper height – with the pedal at the lowest position and in neutral, as you sit on the bike seat, your knee should be completely straight if your heel is on the pedal. If the ball of your foot is on the pedal then your knee should be in 30 degrees of knee flexion. Improper seat height can lead to hip pain, knee pain or ankle problems.
- Make sure the handle bars are at the proper height and distance from the seat to avoid over-reaching, which can result in neck, shoulder, back, and hand pain.
Why is biking good for you?
- It is a non-impact exercise – great for those with arthritis or cartilage problems of the hips and knees
- It is an excellent source for cardio workouts or as a cross-training workout to running
- It gets you out and about
- You are able to do it just about anywhere
- If you use it for commuting, you can save on gas and create a healthier environment for all of us
Just remember – be safe while riding: wear a helmet and visible clothing. Enjoy National Bike to Work Week!