London cyclists not sitting comfortably

Majority riding badly-fitting bikes

Nearly three quarters of London’s cyclists are not riding properly, according to new research. 

Research conducted for Transport for London (TfL) suggests that 71 per cent of London’s cyclists are riding badly-fitting bikes. With an increasing number of people taking to two wheels, TfL is encouraging cyclists to ensure that their bikes are set up in the correct way for an efficient, safe and comfortable ride.

A snapshot survey, conducted by cycling ergonomics specialist CycleFit, found that having the wrong saddle height is the most common mistake. Only one in five cyclists’ saddles were found to be at the correct height; with a large number of people positioning their seat too low.

Women are twice as likely as men to make this mistake, which can lead to fatigued thigh muscles and sore knees.

TfL will host BikeJam, a family-friendly celebration of all things cycling-related, at Tower Hill as part of this weekend’s Tour of Britain celebrations. BikeJam will offer Londoners a free consultation with CycleFit as well as advice about cycling in the capital.

1,000 handy bike adjustment tools will also be given away to help cyclists maintain their bikes in the optimum position. Visit www.tflbikejam.com for more information.

CycleFit, use a number of measures to assess cyclists’ riding positions. These include handlebar reach, saddle height, inside leg and leg extension angle. In total, just 29 per cent of the cyclists participating in the research were riding in a good overall position.

The following tips will help cyclists get the most from their bikes:

· Saddle height: People have many methods for selecting their own saddle height, quite often passed down by parents or suggested by friends. In order to achieve the correct set up, follow this simple method:

· Measure your inside leg in centimetres (remember to take off your shoes for an accurate measurement).

· Subtract 10cm, giving you a new figure.

· The distance from the top of the saddle to the point where the pedals are attached to the bike frame should be equal to this new figure. Once the adjustment has been made, your leg extension angle should be 33 degrees (just short of straight) at the bottom of the pedal stroke.

· Reach: When sitting on your bike, your upper body should be relaxed and your back straight. If you have to reach too far forward (or down) to the handlebars, you may experience soreness in your arms, shoulders or back.

· Cycling speed: For maximum efficiency, it’s best to use a gear that allows your legs to rotate at around 80-100 rpm. To give you a rough idea, count your pedal revolutions for 15 seconds and then multiply by four.

· Buying new: When buying a new bike, it’s best to buy it from a specialist cycling shop that offers a fitting service.

Peter McBride, head of Cycling, Walking and Accessibility at TfL, said:

“More and more people are cycling in the capital and we’re keen that they maximise the benefits of cycling while remaining comfortable and safe.”

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