In this week’s blog post, we explore the various ways to set up your spinning bike safely and correctly.

There’s nothing more uncomfortable (and potentially dangerous) than spinning on a bike that hasn’t been set up correctly to fit your unique physique. “But it’s just a bike!” you say? Sure, it’s just a bike, but when you spend 30 to 45 minutes hunched over it, your body will be screaming that it’s more than just a bike.

The dangers of spinning on a bike that hasn’t been set up correctly could lead to serious injury, from lower and upper back pain to wrist strain, and even that dreaded (and painful) bicycle butt.

So follow these simple steps to make sure you set up your spinning bike correctly.

Set seat height

Regardless of the type of spinning bike in front of you, you should be able to adjust the height of the seat. If you ride too low, you place unnecessary strain on your knees (and spinning is supposed to be low-impact, remember). Being in the low position also means you’ll have more difficulty getting out of the seat during jumps or standing climbs. Plus, it can also overwork your quads.

So, before you even get on the bike, stand next it with your feet flat on the floor. The ideal height for the saddle should be hip height – right against your hip bone.

Test leg extension

Get seated on your spinning bike. Make sure the pedals are flat and then clip your shoes in. The ball of your foot needs to be in the centre of the pedal, but make sure you leave a little bit of room in front of your toes if your pedals have cages. When your foot is directly below you and is perpendicular to the ground, check that you have a 25 to 35 degree bend in your knee. There should never be a full extension of your leg.

Take a few pedals strokes on the lightest tension to get the feel for the bike. 

Handlebar distance

To make sure you’re taking care of your neck, shoulders and back, adjust the handlebars so that they’re the same height as your seat. But if you’re just starting out and your core isn’t as strong as you’d like, lift the handlebars a little higher – you can always re-adjust it lower when your core becomes stronger over time.

Depending on your bike, you should either shift your handlebars or seat backward or forward. If you shift your seat, make sure you’re not ruining your leg and knee alignments to the pedals. The distance between the front edge of your seat and back edge of the handlebars should be the length of your forearm. So hold your forearm parallel to the floor and fit your seat and handlebars on either side of your elbow and fingers.

See, it really is simple and easy to make sure you set up your spinning bike correctly before each ride. Preventing an injury is better than having to rehab it.

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