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The Importance of Bike Position in Indoor Cycling


Whether someone is a seasoned gym-goer or brand new to the fitness industry, an indoor cycling class can present a host of different challenges for them. Perhaps the biggest turn-off for new indoor cycling participants is the discomfort they can feel while riding, which in most cases is completely preventable. Getting participants into an ideal riding position is the most important part of a cycling class. It can make or break a participant’s ride and turn them into a one-time attendee or lifelong fan.

Bike position is the most important aspect of a rider’s comfort and ensuring they feel comfortable throughout the duration of class. Almost all indoor-formatted cycles allow for seat height, forward/backward position and handlebar adjustments. Taking the new rider through adjustments starts with them standing next to the bike to get the proper seat height, which should be about where the rider’s hip is. Then, have the rider get on and pedal so one foot is at the bottom of the pedal stroke and the other is directly opposite on top. From there, the instructor should look for a slight bend in the knee to prevent any hyper-extension or completely straight legs at the bottom of the stroke.

Once the seat height is determined, next comes the forward and backward position with the seat. With the rider out of the saddle standing on the pedals, adjust the seat forward and backward until, when seated, they reach a point where their kneecap should be directly over the ball of the foot when they bring their feet parallel to the floor. Continue to adjust the seat until this is achieved. Instructors should be aware of any ailments or restrictions riders may have that prevent them from getting in this ideal position.

The last adjustment is the height and forward and backward position of the handlebars. These adjustments are less formal than the previous two adjustments, as they tend to be more about what the rider prefers. Some new riders may prefer to have their handlebars a little higher, but generally they are nearly in line with the seat height. The handlebar height should allow the rider to comfortably access all three handlebar positions in and out of the saddle, while maintaining a slight bend in their elbows at all times. Generally, most indoor cycles have a similar handlebar setup with a front bar and bullhorn handlebars along the sides.

In conclusion, one of the most important factors in retention for indoor cycling classes is a new participant’s physical comfort level on the bike. Even if a class has a great instructor, ambiance and music, an uncomfortable position can deter new riders from coming back. A truly successful class starts with a proper setup on the indoor bike.

Hannah Sperry

Hannah Sperry is the marketing manager for the Johnny G Spirit Bike. She can be contacted at hannah.sperry@spiritfitness.com.

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