So you love Ride class -- fabulous. We love that you love Ride class. But do you know if your bike is setup properly? Maybe you’re new and not quite sure of what you’re doing or you’re rushing into class late and you’ve just hopped on whichever bike is available -- unfortunately many riders are pedalling with the wrong set up. This can make your ride uncomfortable and unsafe. We’ve outlined proper setup below, but if you’re ever unsure, do not hesitate to ask your instructor. Just show up a few minutes early and we’re more than happy to fit you to your bike.
You should start with setting your seat height as this is crucial to the setup of the rest of the bike. Stand next to the bike and line up your hip bone with the seat. Using the knob on the back of the bike, raise or lower the seat until it is at the same height as your hip bone.
Hop on the bike, make sure there is no resistance on the red dial, and begin to pedal around. You are looking for a slight bend in your leg on the downstroke, but avoid over-extending to the point where your knee locks out. If the seat is too low, your knees will tend to go out to the side which is bad for your alignment. Adjust as needed.
SEAT DISTANCE FROM HANDLEBARS
Next, place your elbow at the nose of the seat and extend your arm towards the handlebars. Your fingertips should just reach the handlebars, a little bit before or after is fine. If they are far from the handlebars or far past, use the knob at the back of the seat to adjust the seat’s distance. Adjusting the seat is about your hip and knee alignment, not about the distance of your body from the handlebars.
Another way to check your seat distance is to bring your feet parallel with each other -- 3 and 9 o’clock. Using the front foot as a guide, your knee should be above the palm of your foot.
HANDLEBAR HEIGHT AND DISTANCE FROM SEAT
Generally, your handlebar height will be the same as your seat’s height. Technical cyclists tend to ride with them a bit lower and if you have back issues or are pregnant you will ride with them a bit higher. To adjust their height, use the knob on the front of the bike.
Once you’re on the bike with the height of the seat, distance from the handlebars, and height of the handlebars set, reach for the handlebars. If they are feeling a bit too far or too close, use the know on the top of the bike to bring them closer or further away. You should have a slight bend in your elbow. Remember, we ride with a forward lean, not straight up and down so you may feel like the handles are far away if sitting upright, but once in position, they may actually be perfect.
If you have shoes that clip into the bike, that’s great. If not, no worries. Loosen the cages by unthreading the black strap from the first hole and and make sure your toe is all the way to the front of the cage before pulling the strap tight. Then, loop the strap back through. It is important to make sure your foot is all the way in so that the pressure on your foot is even, and important to make sure the straps are tight so your feet won’t come out of the cages while riding. If this should happen, press down on the red resistance dial which will bring the pedals to an immediate stop.
Starting from the bottom, our feet are flat as they press down on the downstroke and pull up on the upstroke, making big circles with our legs. We aren’t pointing our toes like ballerinas. The pull-up and-push-down motion engages different parts of our leg muscles (quad on downstroke, hamstring on up) and ensures we are constantly working.
Our knees are over our ankles and inline with our hips. Our hips are where we pivot from when we lower or raise our upper body. This is part of keeping our spine in line.
Core is engaged while we ride, chest is proud, and our gaze should be just above the handlebars -- again, ensuring our spine is straight. Shoulders should be relaxed, and arms light on the bars. The bars are just there for balance, the majority of your weight stays in the lower half of your body.
When seated and relaxed (like warm up or recovery), our hands are on the lower part of the handlebars, known as “Position One.” Coming into a sprint, our hands move to the side into “Position 2.” When we are out of our seat, our hands come onto the top of the handlebars known as “Position 3.” This is the only major change in positioning, everything else applies whether seated or standing.
Once you’ve got your bike set up down, take a look at the numbers that correspond with each part. Remembering the numbers will help you set up easily and quickly the next time and ensure a safe, fun ride.
Ride is Perth's first rhythm ride. Interval training disguised as a cardio party on your bike. Come and give LA Fit Studio a go with our New Client Special.