Ergonomics is the science of matching work tasks to the body. Good ergonomics promotes designs or interventions to promote safe posture and less stress acting on the body for the purpose of improving productivity and decreasing musculoskeletal injury (MSI) associated with work practices.
Pillows with good ergonomics give you better sleeps without neck pain. Wrong ergonomics will leave you a neck brace for the rest of the day. If we can readily accept to replace a pillow that is not comfortable to sleep on, we should not tolerate discomfort when we are on the bike.
Cycling aches or saddle soreness are the signs that a bicycle is not properly fitted to the cyclist. Having a poor bike fit can result in any lasting discomfort, especially at the joints, muscles, and spines. If left unresolved, it will lead to long-term damage and injuries to the tendons, soft tissues, and bone structures.
To prevent cycling pain, this is where bike fitting comes into play.
The process of bike fitting involves taking measurements of a cyclist and making adjustments to the bicycle to match a person to the correctly sized bike frame. Proper bike fitting allows cyclists to pedal as efficiently as possible in a posture which he or she can sustain comfortably throughout a ride.
Every individual has anatomical differences. Bike fitting sessions are usually more detailed and work towards solving individualized issues which include analyzing and making compensations to the natural anatomy inconsistencies (natural foot-tilt and leg-length-difference), and functional deficiencies caused by long-term injury (joint dislocation).
The bike fitment will also take into consideration of a cyclist’s performance goals – distance vs sprints, capability – strength vs stamina, and training program – frequency, intensity, and distance.
Bike fitting puts the body in a natural riding position and allows the major muscle groups to function with the least strain.
The lower back, neck, and shoulders from the upper torso region will be in a relaxed state allowing the control of natural breathing. The head also has greater rotation flexibility. Steering control feels almost as easy as extending your hand for a handshake. Even with some weight loading on the handlebars, the arms and elbows are not locked but remain flexible to maneuver the bike. Pedaling strokes will be fluid. The body will remain nimble throughout the ride.
However, the pricing may vary in response to different approaches, experience, locations, and tools used. It does not ensure the effectiveness of a bike fit. It is advisable to discuss with a bike fitter beforehand and know the scope of work they will offer for the price you pay.
After completing a bike fit session, you are encouraged to communicate with your bike fitter on your progress and provide feedback on any oddities that arise after the fit. Over time, your bike fit will change due to injuries, changes in skill level, new goals, weight loss, and increase or decrease in flexibility.
Feedback is essential for a bike fitter to further analyze and fine-tune settings they have made on your bike to bring you closer to your perfect fitment.