Ergonomic Considerations for Safe, Comfortable and Efficient Cycling


KEY FACT: Don't just buy a bicycle for aesthetic or economic reasons, think of the fit of its size to your body physiology for a safe and healthy ride.

Captured with my phone cam

What do you think of "Ergonomics?"

The first time I probably heard the term "Ergonomics" was in my fourth year as an Engineering undergraduate. At first, I thought it was a mispelling of "Economics". The word sounded so funny but the course turned out to be one of my most loved because of its importance in our daily lives.

We can explain "Ergonomics" as human factors engineering. It is the application of psychological and physiological principles to the engineering and design of products, processes, and systems. While undertaking the course, the focus was in the design of agricultural implements with ergonomic considerations for healthy and safe usage by farmers.

Ergonomics forms a part of our daily engagement of machines and tools but is least considered. Today, most of us do a "sit-at-home" kind of job and take the sitting posture for most hours of the day. That can be detrimental to the health.

Ergonomic Considerations for Safe Cycling

Yesterday, I decided to window-shop some fitness equipment and then I considered buying a bicycle. My first considerations were that aside from serving as a fitness tool, the bicycle could be used for localized travels which would cost cost. however, while I was checking through, my tall friend who went with me decided to make a test ride of one of the bikes. It was so awkward to see how he struggled to balance on the rather small sports bike, and then I remembered "ergonomics".

It didn't take long then I saw another person using a bicycle for a local transport ride past and then I saw another huge ergonomic flaw in the choice of his bike. This prompted this post that would be helpful for anyone who desires safe and comfortable cycling.

Cycling can be for leisure, commuting, or sport, and all of these are physically demanding activities that require the right ergonomic considerations to prevent injuries and enhance performance.

Technically speaking, Ergonomics in cycling is the science of designing and arranging bicycles and cycling gear so that cyclists can interact with their equipment in the safest, most comfortable, and efficient way possible. Let us look at a few ergonomic considerations for safe, comfortable, and efficient cycling.

1. Bike Fit

This should be the first thing you should look out for when choosing or buying a bike. It is safe to ensure that your bike fits your body. A bike that is too large or too small can lead to discomfort and injuries over time. look up again at my thumbnail image collage and see how unfit the bike was.

In considering a bike fit, look at the frame size, saddle height, saddle position, and handlebar height and reach. A professional bike fit can help tailor these aspects to your body's measurements, improving comfort and efficiency. Failure to consider these can put the cyclist at risk of strain and injury.

Captured with my phone cam

2. Saddle Positioning

The saddle is a critical touchpoint between the cyclist and the bike. In simple terms, the saddle is the bike seat. An ergonomically designed saddle should support the sit bones without putting pressure on soft tissues. many of us have sustained injuries while cycling due to a saddle positioning that did not match our physiology.

I have had wounds on my legs severally while learning to ride a bike. It was a pretty tall bike and my feet would rarely touch the ground when sitting position. The saddle was too tall. Many times, I had to skew my buttocks off the sadddle to reach the pedals.

The saddle's height and its fore-and-aft position affect your comfort, pedaling efficiency, and power output. It is also important to note that an incorrect saddle position can lead to knee pain, lower back pain (due to a bent positioning to reach the pedal), and other musculoskeletal issues.

3. Pedal Alignment

Pedaling is the crux of the work done when cycling. The position of your feet on the pedals significantly impacts your comfort and pedaling efficiency. Incorrect alignment can lead to knee pain and other joint issues. many times, this is directly proportional to the saddle positioning.

A safe ergonomic consideration includes ensuring the pedal position allows for natural foot alignment and adjusting pedal tension to facilitate easy engagement and release. Failure to do this may always result in slips and hits on the leg.

4. Handlebar Configuration

When cycling for fun and leisure, we do a lot of crazy stuffs especially adjusting the handlebars to look more kinky or style. This was/are done ignorant of the effect of poor handlebar reach. Some of such adjustments may make the handlebar reach farther from the saddle.

The handlebar height and reach will always influence a cyclist's posture on the bike. A setup that's too stretched out or too cramped can lead to neck, shoulder, and back discomfort.

When setting up your handlebars to meet safe ergonomic demands, ensure that there are grips to help reduce pressure on the hands and wrists, while also preventing numbness and fatigue. The use of ergonomic accessories like padded gloves and elbow rests can also provide additional comfort and support.

Captured with my phone cam

5. Riding Technique

Another key ergonomic consideration is the way you ride. It is important to maintain a relaxed posture, varying your hand and seating position, and use a pedaling technique that distributes effort across different muscle groups. This will help minimize fatigue and strain.

Final Words

For safe, comfortable,, and efficient cycling, ergonomic considerations should be made in selecting a bicycle. This is to ensure that cyclist finds the optimal interaction with the bicycle. The next time you want to take a ride, pay close attention to the bike fit, saddle positioning, pedal alignment, and handlebar configuration. Your comfort, performance, and overall enjoyment of the cycling sport can be chosen by the cyclist.

Remember, he who rides safe would live to ride another day!

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Ergonocs is very important for cycling.
Especially when you go for longer rides.
You can find good ways to calculate your saddle height of line by the way.

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