Get the right cycle
The right size cycle is important. If it is too small or too big, it can make cycling uncomfortable. You should be able to reach the handlebars easily and your leg should be almost straight when it is at the lowest point when you are cycling. You can find charts to work out the right size cycle for you or ask for help at your local shop.
The type of cycle also makes a difference. A hybrid cycle, also often known as a comfort cycle, suit most people. They are good for on and off roads. The riding position is upright and they are easy to get on and off. They also have fairly wide tyres.
If you find riding a two wheeled cycle difficult, you might want to consider a tricycle. There are also other options like hand cycles and recumbent cycles that are good for people with different mobility needs. Link?
If you already have a cycle, there are things you can change to make your ride more comfortable.
Your saddle makes a big difference to how comfy your cycle is. There are different saddles for men and women, because of the different shape of pelvis and how you sit on the saddle. If you find your saddle uncomfortable, check you have the right one first of all.
Thin, hard saddles look great but can be a pain in the bottom, literally. Try a larger, more padded saddle. You might just need time to get used to your saddle. Try it out for a few cycle rides before you buy a new one.
The position of your saddle is also key. The height can be adjusted to make sure you are stretching your legs enough when cycling. It can also be moved forward and back. Make sure the saddle is positioned so you’re sitting over the pedals rather than behind them. Lastly, you can change the angle of your saddle. If it’s tipped either too far forward or backwards you will slip out of the saddle and have to climb back into it.
The position of your handlebars is very important. The height of your handlebars will make a difference to how much you bend to reach them. Being bent over for a long time can be hard on your back, shoulders, neck and arms. If you adjust your handlebars you may also need to adjust your saddle position.
Padded grips will make your handlebars more comfortable. You can get ergonomic grips that are wider where your palm rests. These are much more comfortable for your hands than the usual round grips.
Where you brake levers and gear shifters are is also important. If you have tp stretch your fingers too much to reach them, it will be tiring for your hands. It will also make it harder to pull the brakes, which can be dangerous. Hydraulic brakes are easier to use and more responsive. They can be expensive, but they are much cheaper than a new cycle and most cycles can be upgraded.
Very slim tyres can be hard and make your ride bumpy. They are great on flat surfaces, which is why you see them on road cycles. If you cycle anywhere there are potholes, or want to go off-road however, they aren’t the most comfortable option.
Wider tyres spread the load out and absorb shocks, bumps and vibrations. They can slow you down and add weight to your cycle, but they will make your ride less jarring.
If you have wider tyres, you can also reduce the air pressure to soften your ride. Less air in your tyres will mean they can squash around any imperfections – like stones or potholes – rather than bouncing off them.
Go for a fitting
If you aren’t sure if your cycle is set up right, or you don’t feel confident making changes yourself, a fitting is a good idea. Your local cycle shop or mechanic should be able to help. They will also be able to tailor the cycle to you, watching you ride and adjusting it, so it fits you perfectly.