Cycling - traps for idiots (i.e. me)



  • Last week have been riding but everything feels twice as hard as the week before in terms of hill climbs and just pedalling in general. The times over 20km are still about the same but its just not bloody right. I looked at what I was eating (pasta generally) and how long I was waiting between dinner and riding, and nothing was obvious. After tweaking a few things here and there and checking the gearing tyre pressure over and over, I realised the most basic thing was wrong: seat height. A lot of people don't know how to set this properly, whether you're in the gym or on the road, so thought I'd just share the recommended procedure for anyone who is thinking of riding, or knows someone in that situation.

    Sit on the bike in an upright position (lean against a wall if you gotta)
    When you place your heel on the pedal and push it to its lowest angle, your leg should basically be straight i.e. locked out in full extension
    When you place the ball of your foot (proper riding position) on the centre of the pedal, your leg should be slightly bent
    Adjust the seat height until it is correct - note that if you get the seat so far out of the frame that the last couple of inches of the stem are showing, chances are you have the wrong sized bike.
    Now go for a short test ride, and often its good if someone is watching you while this happens - if you find that your hips are rocking side to side then the seat is too high. This is probably the most important part of doing the ride on the gym bike as this sort of rocking is bad for your joints (pulls the knees at funny angles to the thighs) and your nads.

    Once you're satisfied that the seat is at the right height, step off the bike and look at it side-on - if the frame is the right size you should see that the seat height is about the same as the handlebars.

    Another thing is seat angle - halfway through the ride two weeks ago one's nether regions got an uncomfortable burning sensation. I tilted the seat forward just past the horizontal which seems to have fixed the problem, though it took about 10km to get used to the downward slope.

    Record time for 20km is about 55 minutes and will not be bettered until one can find a new stopwatch. Bloody great workout for the legs too - I've actually gained muscle at this point and feel as strong as when I was leg pressing 400kg.



  • I didn't know your bike had a seat Nick?



  • Yes its a big black rubber cock.



  • I've got one of those. All I need now is the rest of the bike.



  • [quote name='Nick the Aussie']
    Last week have been riding but everything feels twice as hard as the week before in terms of hill climbs and just pedalling in general. The times over 20km are still about the same but its just not bloody right. I looked at what I was eating (pasta generally) and how long I was waiting between dinner and riding, and nothing was obvious. After tweaking a few things here and there and checking the gearing tyre pressure over and over, I realised the most basic thing was wrong: seat height. A lot of people don't know how to set this properly, whether you're in the gym or on the road, so thought I'd just share the recommended procedure for anyone who is thinking of riding, or knows someone in that situation.

    Sit on the bike in an upright position (lean against a wall if you gotta)
    When you place your heel on the pedal and push it to its lowest angle, your leg should basically be straight i.e. locked out in full extension
    When you place the ball of your foot (proper riding position) on the centre of the pedal, your leg should be slightly bent
    Adjust the seat height until it is correct - note that if you get the seat so far out of the frame that the last couple of inches of the stem are showing, chances are you have the wrong sized bike.
    Now go for a short test ride, and often its good if someone is watching you while this happens - if you find that your hips are rocking side to side then the seat is too high. This is probably the most important part of doing the ride on the gym bike as this sort of rocking is bad for your joints (pulls the knees at funny angles to the thighs) and your nads.

    Once you're satisfied that the seat is at the right height, step off the bike and look at it side-on - if the frame is the right size you should see that the seat height is about the same as the handlebars.

    Another thing is seat angle - halfway through the ride two weeks ago one's nether regions got an uncomfortable burning sensation. I tilted the seat forward just past the horizontal which seems to have fixed the problem, though it took about 10km to get used to the downward slope.

    Record time for 20km is about 55 minutes and will not be bettered until one can find a new stopwatch. Bloody great workout for the legs too - I've actually gained muscle at this point and feel as strong as when I was leg pressing 400kg.
    [/quote]

    Yes, correct about the seat height there NTA. The better leg extension you can get the better power you can generate......whether in the gym or on the road. I see these FluffyBunnies riding around this country with the seat so far down that their knees are nearly against their chest when pedalling. WRONG. You cannot generate any power from that position when riding because it generally means you are pedalling with the heel of the foot instead of the ball.

    Just another tip as well. If the handlebars are significantly lower than the seat and you can't raise them, then the chances are that any sudden braking movement will have you flying over the handlebars........another nasty trap for young players. If you can't raise the handlebars you might need a new bike.Â



  • [quote name='Miller V Jackson']
    I've got one of those. All I need now is the rest of the bike.
    [/quote]



  • [quote name='Coastie']
    I see these FluffyBunnies riding around this country with the seat so far down that their knees are nearly against their chest when pedalling. WRONG. You cannot generate any power from that position when riding because it generally means you are pedalling with the heel of the foot instead of the ball. [/quote]

    Not to mention you're using your hammies for all the work instead of your quads doing their share, and the fact that your knees are still generally at an acute angle.

    The current lot of low-rider bikes that the kids have these days are contributing to the downfall of our health system, mark my words.



  • The point about bar height is good - I hate the new stems that are un-adjustable.  You get the seat height right, and are too low up front, but cannot solve it without buying another piece of kit... bummer.



  • Fortunately I'm a cheap arse Death and only spent AUD400 on my MTB. I think the next purchase will be a road bike, but as mentioned elsewhere I have to get down to 100kg to get a good one :shifty:



  • actually nick just to correct you a little you shouldn't have the crank in the lowest position it should be in line with the seat tube then put yer heal on it and away you go..

    and handlebar height is entirely up to how comfortable you are in your position.. obviously the lower you are at the front the more aero you are and the faster you go.. have a look at the drop on my bike for example (and it's even lower since i've taken that pic - just a matter of getting more comfy)

    as for your 20k's.. don't get too concerned with your food etc because it's not such a big issue for such a short time on the bike.  Just keep riding and it'll get better in no time at all...

    focus a little more on spinning your gears - if you can get up around 100rpm that's a good target.

    and for gods sake put your seat back level! all you'll be doing there is transferring all your weight onto your arms so you'll end up knackered by the end of a ride.Â

    In terms of 'kit' the first thing you should look at buying if you want to improve and enjoy your riding more is some clipless pedals and cycling shoes

    [img]http://www.bugbitten.com/photogallery/data/c7558e9d1f956b016d1fdba7ea132378/17314_p1276812.jpeg[/img]



  • Flash looking bike WTW, doesn't look very used...  :nta



  • Angle of crank - doesn't make much difference for me Will

    [quote name='WillieTheWaiter']
    and handlebar height is entirely up to how comfortable you are in your position.. obviously the lower you are at the front the more aero you are and the faster you go.. have a look at the drop on my bike for example (and it's even lower since i've taken that pic - just a matter of getting more comfy)[/quote]

    MTB versus road bike in this case Willie - should have mentioned that at the start. :neutral: I couldn't possibly ride with that much drop because I couldn't get good grip on horizontal bars for long-term rides - either I'd have my wrists at a crappy angle or with straight grip wouldn't be able to reach gears or brakes.

    [quote]and for gods sake put your seat back level! all you'll be doing there is transferring all your weight onto your arms so you'll end up knackered by the end of a ride.  [/quote]

    I trialled putting it just forward of horizontal, at level, and then a slight back tilt - neither made a difference to the fact that on sections where I'm going gangbusters my hands go numb. And I still feel absolutely shagged whatever I do



  • [quote name='BartMan']
    Flash looking bike WTW, doesn't look very used...  :nta
    [/quote]

    that's cause a. it's new in the photo and b. it's just been cleaned there son.. and he only goes out in dry weather the 'training' bike gets used in the wet...

    I'll call in and see you the next time i'm doin the pauanui, kopu, paeroa, waihi, whanga pauanui loop... usually make a stop in at the bakery at that point after a solid 5 hours! 👅



  • only in dry weather.  You've put the wife into the shed and sleep with it too old fella.... :coolsmiley:

    So you're doing some big miles at the moment then huh?



  • [quote name='BartMan']
    only in dry weather.  You've put the wife into the shed and sleep with it too old fella.... :coolsmiley:

    So you're doing some big miles at the moment then huh?
    [/quote]

    hahahaaaa well if only you knew... although she took it quite well the time one of my mates actually put the bike under the covers in the bed before we went out on the piss!

    nah miles are very average at the mo.. the whole working thing has really cut into it! 😁  not doing anywhere near as much as i should on the weekends mainly due to hangovers (not very dedicated!) and weeks are a bit slow cause i've been doing a dive course..  dedication not that flash as i'm not serious these days - mainly cause i'm giving away around 30kgs to most guys racing so as soon as the hill goes up i go backwards.. go fast down tho!

    mainly doing intensity at the mo - race tues, thurs, sat morns.. sunday usually do 120 k's at least, tho that's just been a coupla hours hill climbing or hill sprints at the mo cause looking around for a new car and shit which takes up all yer time


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