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If the Bike Fits…Ride It!



I finally have my AMAZING Raleigh Capri bike in my possession (seriously, it’s a beauty), and yesterday I took care of the all-important task of getting it fit to my body. Yes, I know I said I was going to do this weeks ago, but my schedule and the bike shop’s hours of operation never really synced up, so I’ve been riding indoors on spin bikes instead—not the same! 
As pro triathlete Sarah Haskins said in SHAPE’s May issue, getting your bike fit will help you avoid injury (she wasn’t the only pro who mentioned this either). But the great thing about my session at Metro Bicycles in NYC, was that Ian—the awesome bike specialist I worked with—gave me a tutorial on how to use the gears (that’s me and Ian, above, laughing at my abysmal shifting skills!) and a run down of the two-wheeler’s features. Here’s what I learned:
The Saddle Your seat should be high enough that your foot touches the low pedal without your knees bending, but not so high that your leg hyper-extends. The typical rule that the seat should be at hip height is OK as a guideline, but that may be too low for people who are quite flexible, which is why your knee position is a better indicator.
The Handlebars Once your saddle height is situated, it’s time to address the handlebars. Set them so that you don’t have to hunch your shoulders too far forward or arch your back to reach them comfortably. Rather, you should be able to rest your hands on top with a slight bend at the elbows and a neutral spine. If the handlebars still seem too far away, you can move both the bars and the seat forward or aft to adjust the distance. 
Finally, don’t forget to invest in a good helmet, water bottle holder, lock, and lights. Be safe and enjoy your ride!
Like your bike? Tell me about it in the comments or tweet me @DaniSMcNally. I’m on pinterest too—I’ll pin a pic of my sweet ride soon! 

Danielle McNally is the associate fitness editor at SHAPE magazine, where she reports on the latest news, trends, and gear in the exercise world, along with the occasional travel and pop culture piece. She was previously an assistant editor at Food Network Magazine, but left shortly after completing the ING New York City Marathon, when she realized her passion for working out. She’s run seven half marathons, and regularly practices yoga and pilates. This summer she’ll be competing in the New Jersey State Triathlon (her first!) and blogging about it here!


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