With spring upon us and summer quickly approaching, it’s time to dust off your bike and get ready for some good rides. What better time to get on the bike than during National Bike to Work Week!

To keep you out of pain, we wanted to bring light some key points you can check to make sure you fit your bike well.

First, the seat height. When sitting on your bike with the pedals in top/ bottom position, a good rule of thumb is to have the knee of your extended leg near but not exceeding a straight 180? angle.  Because there are a few inches of clearance between the pedal, in the down, and the ground, you should not be able to plant your foot onto the ground when coming to a stop. You may be able to prop yourself up on a pointed toe, but if you are able to stand without coming forward out of the seat, either your seat is too low or your bike is all around too small for you. Also, if your hips bounce from left to right as you ride, your seat is too high.

Second, the distance between the seat and the handlebars. When sitting on the bike with the line between your pedals horizontal (one foot forward one back), your front shin should be perpendicular to the ground. If your seat is too far forward or backward, you may experience pain, discomfort, and unnecessary exhaustion.

Third, the angle of the seat. As with a chair, if you sit on a surface that is tilted forward, you will continually feel pushed forward and potentially slide. And vice versa, if your seat is tilted back, you won’t have the ability to get the power you need to propel yourself.  Try to set the seat as close to level/ parallel to the ground as possible.

And forth, the seat’s size and material. When I started riding bikes in my adult life, I was using a pretty narrow and firm seat. It was so uncomfortable, I wondered if I would ever be able to walk normal after that. The pain decreased with use, but then my (now) husband got me a padded covering for my seat. It seriously made all the difference for me. My advice to you, simply choose the size and firmness according to your own liking.

For a more detailed description on bike fitting, check out the Bike Fitting page from Bicycle Garage Indy.