The Calgary Bike Paths Are Calling!
Biking in Calgary and area is not only an awesome way to not only get around the town but also great for building endurance and for cardiovascular health. Bicycling is one of the most common activities our Physiotherapist, Stephanie recommends.
Dr. Gord is also a big fan of two-wheeled fun. In his words, “it’s good for my mental health and my waistline!”
Did you know that World Bicycle Day was June 3rd? Well, we did (kind of) so here are some tips to get the most out of your cycling.
Make Sure Your Bike Fits!
Before purchasing a bike, make sure that you try on a few different frame sizes to find out which style of bike fits you best. If you are ever unsure, booking in with a qualified bike fitter is always a good idea. Our friends @TCR next door are some of the most qualified bike fitters in the city.
Buy Some Bike Shorts
A very common complaint of people who first start out biking in Calgary is they get really sore ?. Gotta protect those nether regions (Yup, we went there), so wearing some padded bike shorts can greatly reduce discomfort when first starting to bike or for longer rides.
Build Up Slow
Maybe before you jump into signing up for that Gran Fondo, step back and think about how much biking you’ve done so far this season.
The most common cause of injury in any activity is doing too much too soon. Got plans to bike the 1A this summer? Get on your bike a few weeks before slowly increasing the time and distance.
Watch Those Knees
Be kind to your knees, you’ll miss them when they’re gone 😉
A very common cause of knee pain when cycling is when your knee tracks inward towards your top tube. The goal is to keep your knee cap over your second toe. If you ever look down at your knees when you are biking make sure they are not collapsing inward.
Bike fit and position on the bike is also really important for reducing the strain on your knees – that is why we led off the article with bike fit.
Your peddling technique is also a game-changer. Getting together with an experienced cyclist or coach to learn how to peddle properly not only will save your knees but vastly improves your efficiency (insert ego boost as you drop your buddies going up that next hill!)
Bikes are designed to work best when your weight (centre of gravity) stays down low (like where the peddles attach to the frame).
Does this sound like you?
- My hands and fingers go numb on the handlebars
- My neck, shoulders, arms, hands get tired and sore
- I feel nervous and unstable when cornering
- My balance isn’t awesome
- My front wheel seems to wander and have a mind of its own
These are all symptoms that you might be sitting too high on the bike and have too much weight on your hands.
Think “Heavy Feet, Light Hands”
When biking, try to cue yourself to have less weight on your hands. Trying to shift your weight onto your saddle and less on your hands and then activate your core will offload and better support your neck and shoulders. Every time you find one of those symptoms showing up, revisit your posture and position so you shift your weight from your hands down to your feet.
Wear Your Helmet!
For a post titled “Biking in Calgary Safety” maybe this one should have been first, before the bike fit piece?
Traumatic brain injuries and concussions are not a way to kick off your summer. Be smart and always wear a helmet. Even if you are just going around the block or out on the front street with your kids.
We don’t make this stuff up. Case in point…
One of the most tragic cases we saw in the clinic was a lady who was just out in front of her house in the cul-de-sac helping her young daughter learn to ride. You know where this is going right? At slow speed, her front bumped into a slightly raised sewer cover and she tipped over. Pretty harmless wipeout BUT she landed on her side and her head hit the pavement (No helmet).
This seemingly harmless, low-speed tip over resulted in a severe concussion and the consequences were devastating. We won’t go into specific details on all the negative fallout this poor lady experienced over the next year or two, but let’s just say the resulting headaches and loss of ability to process and concentrate resulted in her losing her job. Her family and social life suffered as well. Brutal!