Dealing with Injuries and Discomfort

A properly fitting bike is a critical element in the prevention of injury. However, many of our customers only come see us after an injury has developed or at the insistence of a medical professional.  Our philosophy is that discomfort is simply does not have to be a part of the sport.

A common complaint is saddle discomfort, soreness, or numbness. Some of these issues can be caused by the choice of saddle, and some simply by a poor fit.

Saddle marketers often claim to have a magic formula to ensure the perfect saddle fit.  One large manufacturer claims that the distance between “sit bones” is the holy grail of saddle selection.  They claim that by measuring the width of your pelvis they can tell you which saddle, and which saddle exactly, will work for you.  Another manufacturer claims that flexibility, and the ability to touch one’s toes, should be the main driver. Unfortunately, there is little research supporting these assertions, and there is plenty of practical evidence that neither of these marketing formulas does a great job helping people choose a saddle that they will find comfortable.

In fact, saddle comfort is the function of many factors, including flexibility, pelvic structure, tissue distribution, weight and weight distribution, experience as a cyclist, and others.  There is no magic marketing formula that predicts which saddles will work for an individual. The fitting protocol at The Bike Energy Lab provides an assessment of which saddles might work for each individual customer based on many diverse factors.  We carry an inventory of tester versions of the most popular and best saddles that can be tried in the studio and on the road, since comfort on a long bike ride simply cannot be predicted by a magic formula, or simulated in a bike shop. 

Our fitting protocol also addresses other common complaints include knee problems, issues with the hands and arms such as numbness and tingling, lower back pain, foot numbness, cramping, and “hot” feet.  As with saddle problems, when the cause of such issues is determined to be fit-related, there is often a very simple and effective intervention to fix the problem.  If the cause of the problem is in the choice of the component or its improper use, we can recommend and implement changes to relieve and eliminate the symptoms.

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