Learn proper cycling and bike posture

It should be both enjoyable and comfortable to ride a bike, but if you are not using the proper bike posture or find it unnecessarily uncomfortable, then chances are that it will do more harm than good. There are a few ways that you can guarantee a comfortable ride each time by finding your perfect position on the bike.

Stand-over height

The stand-over height is going to be one of the first steps in determining whether the bike you have is actually roughly the right size for you and whether you could maintain proper bike posture while riding it. Keep your feet flat on the ground and straddle the bike. You want the top tube to be about an inch underneath your groin.

Granted, some bikes have a sloping top tube, meaning that the distance is a little larger, but if you are unable to straddle the bike comfortably, chances are that the bike you are using is too big for you.

Saddle height

When it comes to comfortable and efficient cycling, there is probably nothing more important than setting the correct saddle height. If you have the saddle too high, you are going to potentially put strain on your lower back because your hips are rocking from side to side. If you are too low, you will put excessive strain on your knees and feel cramped.

You will need someone to hold onto the bike for you first. Get on the saddle and place the balls of your feet on the pedals. Move the pedal to the bottom of the pedal stroke, when it does, your knee should have a slight bend. Your leg should feel extended but not stretched or cramped.

You will need to loosen the seat post clamp if you want to adjust the height. Some bikes utilize a quick release lever that uses a simple cam mechanism. The alternative is that you need to use an Allen key to make adjustments. Retighten the clamp after you have the correct height. You also want to be careful that you do not tighten the clamp too much. If you are unsure what you are doing in regards to adjusting the seat, take it to your local bike shop.

Saddle fore and aft

Some people do not realize it, but you can move the saddle both forwards and backwards. Again, you are going to need an Allen key to do so. This is done because you should not have to adjust reach in order to reach the handlebars. By making the adjustment, you can ensure optimal pedalling efficiency.

You will again need a friend to steady the bike for you. Bring the pedals until they are in a horizontal position. The knee of your front leg should be directly above the pedal when you have the balls of your feet on the pedals.

Handlebar height

If the bars are the correct height when you are sitting on your saddle, you should be leaning forward from your torso. There should be a bend in your elbows with your hands on top of the bars. One of the most common mistakes for people who suffer from a sore back while cycling is raising their handlebars even higher in an attempt to alleviate the discomfort. This puts them into a more upright position.

Unfortunately, this is going to increase the compressional load on the back and will compound the discomfort for most people. Most modern bikes only have a few inches of handlebar height adjustment and you will need to use the repositioning spacers under and above the stem. Having a bike with the correct handlebar height should be a priority when buying a bike because the option to make adjustments is limited.


If you have the correct handlebar and saddle height, you look for your handlebar reach. You want to make sure that you have a slight bend in the arms and are leaning forward a bit. You should be careful not to feel cramped up or stretched out. If you notice that the reach is not where it needs to be, do not alter it with the saddle fore and aft adjustment. Often you can adjust using a shorter or longer stem.

Brake levers

While this is not a big deal in  ’traditional bikes’, for those hybrids with flat handlebars and mountain bikes, brake levers are important to avoid issues with sore wrists. Having the brake levers in the right position also guarantees optimal braking performance. When using the brakes, you want to keep your wrists straight. A few different brake brands make it possible to adjust the reach of the levers.

Foot position

When cycling, you want your feet facing straight forwards and have the balls of your feet on the pedals. It is important to avoid rotating your feet inwards or splaying your feet outwards. Try to drive your legs down in a straight line. If you cycle for too long with poor foot positioning, chances are that you are going to feel discomfort in your knees.

Professional assistance is available

If you already have discomfort from cycling or would like to know more about proper bike posture, it is always possible to make an appointment with Total Back Care today. Call 8357 8211 to help you with possible issues or to help you alleviate any pre-existing issues