Hooray Spring Cycling is here again & it's the perfect time to get out on your bike. It's cool, often sunny (hopefully) and the nights are getting lighter. As many of you are getting yourself ready to get back on the bike again, we thought we would give you the lowdown on perfecting the ideal riding position with our little Beginners Guide.
Ultimately there are three things that you need to adjust: The saddle height, the handlebar height and the saddle position.
The right Saddle Height is very important as it allows you to get the optimum power from your legs, which makes the ride feel easier and it also ensures you don't put unnecessary pressure on your knees. If the height is too low your knees will be taking the strain and if it is too high your back will be over arching which could lead to injury.
How to get the perfect height? Get on the saddle and put your heel on the pedal in its bottom position. Your leg should be straight but not over stretched. Loosen the allen key, adjust the saddle to this position and then tighten. (Remember LEFTY LOOSEY, RIGHTY TIGHTY! - It's right up there with S CLUB 7's "Right up on the dance floor is where you've got to let it go" as useful mantra's to live by!)
Get on it to check you've nailed it first time (you probably have) and that's the saddle height, now for the the Saddle position.
The perfect saddle position will stop you straining your body and will also make sure you're as comfortable on the saddle as possible, if you get what we mean! The saddle can be moved forwards and backwards on the seat post with a bolt underneath the saddle itself.
Your leg should be vertically below your seat when pushing down fully on the pedal. To adjust it, loosen the allen key (LEFTY LOOSEY.... ) and tighten at the perfect position for you. It is also worth riding to test it as you might feel like you want to move forward on the saddle or back. If so move it accordingly until it feels right.
Handlebars can be adjusted in different ways and the perfect height ultimately comes down to how you like to ride. Often experts tell you to have the handlebars at the same height as your saddle, but if you prefer a sit up and beg style ride you can higher the handlebars, and if you prefer a lower 'racing' riding position you can lower the height. As long as you can comfortably reach the brakes, the handlebar height is all about you!
Now your bike is correctly positioned check your tyre pressure.
Without doubt the one thing that will improve your ride is the tyre pressure, it stops drag and makes the ride feel more effortless. The tyre pressure varies depending on your tyres but it is usually marked on the side of your wheel in the rubber so it is super easy to find out what pressure you need. Road tyres vary from 80-130psi, hybrids from 50-70psi and mountain bikes from 30-50psi. The right tyre pressure will also help prevent punctures so it is worth checking it's right. Your tyres will lose pressure with every ride so aim to re-pump your tyres every 5 days if not more often.
The stand up floor pumps are brilliant and definitely worth the investment if you are riding regularly as it makes pumping up the tyres very easy but the hand pumps will get your biceps in 'pecing' order quickly so its not all bad.
Enjoy the lovely Spring weather and Happy Riding!