Evolution of Fit - Aging
-Maintaining Comfort & Efficiency-
It's a tough reality, but age can impact your riding. The good news is you can adjust your position on the bike to stay comfortable and powerful!
As the top bike fit studio in the Bay Area, the team of fitters here at Studio Velo enjoys sharing insights on critically important -- and often overlooked-- aspects of bike fit. In this case, we will focus on how and why your position on the bike changes over time. As our bodies change due to aging, stress, level of fitness and/or injury, it’s crucial to address your position on the bike with regular “check in’s and re-fits in order to stay healthy, ride safely and produce the most power in each pedal stroke. Our approach to fit is entirely based on understanding each specific cyclist's strengths, weaknesses and goals, fit is a science and we can all benefit greatly from it. You can book a fit here.
[Partner and shop Manager, Chris Reed in for his regular fit]
First, Let’s get to how aging affects us. As we age, three common changes occur: 1) we often lose flexibility; 2) it’s generally harder to gain and maintain core strength which is critically important to producing power and reducing back pain in particular; and 3) we are slower to recover from long rides and, of course, injury. We may also find our ability to sustain high intensity is reduced, but as we mature as cyclists this seems less important to many of us. If you’re disappointed, fear not, there’s an upside to some of this, an area we’ll touch on later.
Reduced flexibility and core strength are the two symptoms of aging affecting your position on the bike the most. One thing we look for is the proper balance between comfort and performance, how aggressive (focusing on power output and aerodynamics) can your position be without losing efficiency or causing discomfort or injury? If your core strength and flexibility is reduced, you simply can’t get as low an upper body position. Compound that with hard efforts and reduced recovery capacity and you run the risk of repetitive/overuse injuries, which are also harder to recover from. Sad isn’t it!
Here’s the upside, if you get fit check ups regularly, you can avoid discomfort and you can maintain efficiency by focusing on key positional changes. You’ll also discover that sometimes we find we’ve discovered new strong suits and abilities on the bike. Speaking from personal experience, my position on the bike has changed fairly significantly over the past 3 years. I hit 40 years old and I didn’t have as much time to ride or do as much off-bike body maintenance. My saddle height and hand position have changed significantly. No, I can’t put the watts out like I used to but I’ve recognized my ability to ride smarter and with a better position I can actually ride hard and long without injury or discomfort. Over ultra distance events, I’m able to maintain higher average power and I’m comfortable enough to survive... and sometimes, get lucky...
With age comes wisdom. Be wise and get regular fit check ups or, at the very least, an annual re-fit. Our bodies are dynamic and changing. We love cycling and we intend to keep at it well into our autumn years with all of you.
In the coming posts, we’ll discuss how other aspects of our lives can affect position, comfort and performance on the bike. We’ll address workspace ergonomics, recovery and injury. In the meantime, please reach out if you have any questions about fit… or anything else for that matter. Our mission is to be your resource and to make cycling more enjoyable for everyone.
Questions about fits?
Contact us: firstname.lastname@example.org or call 415-380-1882