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Self analyzing on the bike

Old 07-26-19, 12:20 PM
  #1  
delbiker1 
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Self analyzing on the bike

This past week I have doing some self analyzing of my form and positioning on the bike whenever I ride. I came to realize I have fallen into some bad habits over the past year or two. I have not been spinning well in my pedal stroke, applying most pressure from the top to the bottom of the stroke. I am pretty bow legged and my knees have really been going to the outside. One bike, I have been riding with the saddle too high, and all bikes I have been straddling the saddle too far forward. One day, riding with the sun at my back, I noticed in my shadow that my shoulders and head were bouncing side to side. I also realized I have been riding mostly straight armed, with hunched and tensed up shoulders and upper back, elbows out away from the torso, and my wrists at odd angles. It is no wonder I have been having issues my hands going numb, fatigue in the upper back and neck, and sore knees. I have also been having a problem with saddle sores. Ergo, I have really been concentrating on all those areas and being much more aware of what is going on with me when I ride. This process is ongoing and has paid dividends already. I have been much more comfortable with a lot less stress and fatigue. My knees, elbows, and hands are in much better positions, my shoulders and head now stable, and the soreness and numbness has been greatly eased. I am trashing a few of my shorts and replacing with new ones. I realized they have riding up on my thighs and bunching up in the crotch area. I also bought and have been using Udderly Smooth. The past couple of days I have had no soreness or pain in that area and the sores are mostly healed. It is so easy to get lazy and allow bad habits to set in. That really takes a toll and drastically affects the pleasure and contentment that I normally get from bicycling. Now I need to continue the process and be sure to be a lot more aware of what I am doing on the bike, and how I am doing it. As I get older it is harder to keep the focus and awareness.
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Old 07-26-19, 01:04 PM
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Hokiedad4
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Have you had a bike fit? A good bike fitter can identify problem areas with position and such.
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Old 07-26-19, 02:47 PM
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Hve not had one, not getting one.
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Old 07-26-19, 02:59 PM
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The past couple of days I have had no soreness or pain in that area and the sores are mostly healed.
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Old 07-27-19, 02:52 AM
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If you have a video camera, and either a friend or a tripod, set it up to record yourself passing by from different directions, including approaching and moving away. Do several passes so you're not "posing," but in your usual riding position.

If you have a trainer, or can borrow one, that's also helpful for checking bit fit and ergonomics. After about 15-30 minutes you won't be thinking about the camera and any poor posture, etc., will become apparent after 15 minutes or so. Also good for checking leg extension, pedaling style, etc.

I've found that very helpful for correcting some flaws in my bike fit and posture.

Because of old and more recent injuries (neck, back and shoulder) I was tending to hunch up my shoulders, tip my head to one side while riding, etc. Getting back into physical therapy for a couple of months helped as well.
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Old 07-27-19, 10:33 AM
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You might want to try rollers to see if they improve your spin. They are not for everyone but they worked wonders for me. In any event, it's commendable that you are doing the self analysis.
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Old 07-28-19, 04:45 PM
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Rollers? what does that mean Bruce19? (new here and to cycling)

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Old 07-30-19, 12:25 AM
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Yeah, I remember a long slog of a tour when I too had the sun at my back. My lengthening shadow made it obvious my form needed a lot of work. Maybe the mileage and weight had something to do with it, but that's also when it's best to work on it.
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Old 07-30-19, 11:30 AM
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Originally Posted by sirjag View Post
Rollers? what does that mean Bruce19? (new here and to cycling)

Jag
This....
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Old 07-30-19, 11:46 AM
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Some folks legs splay out to the side naturally, for them I would imagine that their cleat placement just needs to take that into consideration during the initial setup.

Some folks whose hose legs splay out to the sides I think could reduce this phenomena through yoga. I get super tight in my hips and have found that when I do this one yoga stretch where you extend your outstretched leg over you other other (straight) leg using a yoga strap and breathing into it allowing for the inevitable release - I found his to be quite enlightening to make my legs feel more balanced and symmetrical. The crossed over leg can also be extended outward on the same side (no longer crossing over) and also let out gradually with a yoga strap which releases tightness in the inner hip (groin) - these 2 exercises have decreased hip pain for me quite a bit.
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Old 07-30-19, 11:47 AM
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You are your best bike fitter; assuming......

You are knowledgeable about bikes and component selection

You understand physiology

You are prepared to spend time experimenting to obtain the ultimate comfortable position

This requires lots of research, and practical application.....not for everyone.....

I do not discount the role of a bike fitter; but TBH it is a very subjective experience trying to get the right fit.

in my experience it takes months; but pays off in the end....
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Old 07-30-19, 06:50 PM
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Although I have been through the Body Fit training from Specialized and been trained using the Guru tool, it is not necessary for everyone to go through a fit, especially those that are in touch with their needs and have a few miles under their belts. After having been fit professionally as part of the training it turns out all those years and miles showed me what my body was asking for as the fit I created and the one the fitter created were nearly identical.

One method I used was setting up the bike on a trainer and having markings on the wall behind it with 1 inch gradients. Set the camera up on a stationary object, verified it was center to the bike/body and on plane, and had my wife press the shutter while I was on the bike.

Several pics taken with me in place and then with me moving my hands, butt, etc. where I felt they should be. After a few stem swaps and saddle adjustments plus spin time, the fit was perfect. Been in the same position for 10 years. Just takes some tinkering and you will get it. Being in tune with your body really helps and is probably very necessary to achieve success.
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Old 08-01-19, 06:39 PM
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bike fit

Originally Posted by canklecat View Post
If you have a video camera, and either a friend or a tripod, set it up to record yourself passing by from different directions, including approaching and moving away. Do several passes so you're not "posing," but in your usual riding position.

If you have a trainer, or can borrow one, that's also helpful for checking bit fit and ergonomics. After about 15-30 minutes you won't be thinking about the camera and any poor posture, etc., will become apparent after 15 minutes or so. Also good for checking leg extension, pedaling style, etc.

I've found that very helpful for correcting some flaws in my bike fit and posture.

Because of old and more recent injuries (neck, back and shoulder) I was tending to hunch up my shoulders, tip my head to one side while riding, etc. Getting back into physical therapy for a couple of months helped as well.

+1 ...plenty of decent tutorials.
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Old 08-08-19, 08:37 AM
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Payoff

After self analyzing my fit/position on the bike and the pedal stroke, I have made changes that have paid off for me. I have gone back to a lower setting on my handlebars, raised/lowered the seat post, moved the saddle forward/backward, adjusted the angle on handlebars, moved the pedal cleats either forward or backward and have been paying more attention to the pedal stroke. I have found that I am much more comfortable on the saddle, which also eased the development of saddle sores. The numbness/tingling in my hands has been much relieved, also changing hand position more often. It seems to me that my pedal stroke feels like less mashing and better spinning, toes pointed down a bit also, and that has lessened the strain on the knees. In that regard, I have also been changing gears, more and sooner, when I am riding uphill and into the wind. I am also being more aware of staying relaxed, especially in the upper body/shoulder. I need to keep up with the implementing of these changes and not get lazy, allowing bad habits to set in. Two of my bikes I now have adjusted to these changes. I have two others, one undergoing maintenance/refurbishing, and another that I just have not done yet.
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Old 08-08-19, 08:57 AM
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Originally Posted by delbiker1 View Post
After self analyzing my fit/position on the bike and the pedal stroke, I have made changes that have paid off for me. I have gone back to a lower setting on my handlebars, raised/lowered the seat post, moved the saddle forward/backward, adjusted the angle on handlebars, moved the pedal cleats either forward or backward and have been paying more attention to the pedal stroke. I have found that I am much more comfortable on the saddle, which also eased the development of saddle sores. The numbness/tingling in my hands has been much relieved, also changing hand position more often. It seems to me that my pedal stroke feels like less mashing and better spinning, toes pointed down a bit also, and that has lessened the strain on the knees. In that regard, I have also been changing gears, more and sooner, when I am riding uphill and into the wind. I am also being more aware of staying relaxed, especially in the upper body/shoulder. I need to keep up with the implementing of these changes and not get lazy, allowing bad habits to set in. Two of my bikes I now have adjusted to these changes. I have two others, one undergoing maintenance/refurbishing, and another that I just have not done yet.
As long as you understand the purpose of each adjustment, associated physiology in relation to your riding style and flexibility behind the adjustments. For example, you don't adjust seat fore/aft to correct a reach problem. Another example, you mentioned that you were sitting too far forward on your saddle...it depends on your riding style. In my case I will sit "in" the saddle when I ride on my hoods, but will scoot forward a bit when in the drops for a slightly more TT position over the BB when being more aggressive.
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