Bike set-up explained
Being in the right position on your indoor bike can be the difference between a good workout and a bad one. In the same way that it’s important to have the right set-up on a road bike, things like saddle height and handlebar position are key for a spin class, too.
Here are my tips on achieving the perfect set-up, so you can get the most from every session.
You need to make sure your legs are not completely straight and locked out at the bottom of the downward pedal. But they can’t be too bent either, otherwise you’ll be too cramped up. We are looking for an efficient pedal stroke and a good indication is to set the seat at hip height when you’re standing next to it.
You can adjust the seat backwards and forwards too. Take a seat and move the pedals so your feet are at the same level (often referred to as 3 o’clock and 9 o’clock). Relax and look down – you need to be able to see your toes. Your knees should be directly above the balls of your feet.
Once you’ve got the seat height sorted, the handlebars should be level with your seat. You will then need to ensure the handlebars are positioned on the halfway point of the stem that slides them towards and away from you. This will put you in the perfect ride position.
There’s not really a secret to these – it’s just a question of getting used to them. The easiest way is to jump on the bike and clip one foot in as you pedal down – you’ll hear a distinct click when it’s in. Then do the same with the other foot. To get out, simply kick your heel out sideways and they’ll unclip.
I’m a firm believer in going with what’s comfortable. In a warm-up we would have hands in a ‘basic’ position, directly in front of you. Working slightly harder we’ll lightly move to the second position, the ‘side’, and when I’m out of the saddle I’ll move my hands to the ‘hook’ – your fingers should be nice and loose, ensuring all the power is going down through your legs and not into a strong grip!
Focusing on maintaining a strong frame and keeping your chest and chin up will really help your back stay nice and straight and your shoulders relaxed. When turning the pedals, focus on using a push-pull effort with the pedals – that’s why being clipped in is so good, it really engages those hamstrings and glutes so you’re not solely relying on the quads.
Follow these tips and you’ll be all set for a great ride.