Have you ever thought about what it would be like to ride in the Tour de France?  Beyond all of the scandals and doping, it remains an incredible test of power and endurance.  As a spectator, it allows the casual rider a glimpse into cutting edge cycling technology, training, and strategy.  If you are a recreational cyclist and would like to improve your workouts, consider the following:

  • Riders in the tour pedal at an average of 90-100 rpms during their rides, some of those rides lasting several hours!  Try that the next time you ride at the health club.
  • If you want to increase your cadence toward the 90-100 rpm range it may take 6 months of riding to gain 2-4 rpms.  Be patient.
  • If you aren’t using clipless pedals you are sacrificing power.  Pedaling your bicycle is not a matter of mashing down on the pedal.  It is actually a 4 part stroke.  If you only push down on the pedal as it comes over the top you aren’t getting the most out of your legs during your ride.
  • Tour riders burn 4000-5000 calories per ride.  You and I burn about 200-450.
  • Your knee should be bent about 9-13 degrees when your foot is at the bottom of your pedal stroke.  If you have to reach to get to the bottom of the pedal stroke you are putting your back at risk of injury.  If your knee is bent more than that at the bottom of the stroke you are wasting energy during your ride.
  • Your weight should be distributed almost evenly between your hands and butt.  (Approximately 60% on your butt).
  • Tight and overactive hamstrings will inhibit your quads from producing optimal power.  So even if your technique is correct you will still sacrifice power as your hamstrings are running the show.
  • Climbing hills should involve just as much pulling back on the handle bars as pushing down on the pedals.
  • Tightness in your latissimus dorsi muscle (connecting your low back to your arm) will impair your ability to maintain the proper position over your handle bars.
  • You need 120 degrees of hip flexion in order to fit onto your seat correctly.

Did you know Freedom Physical Therapy Services have bike fitting and sports performance experts on staff? If you have questions about your athletic performance or would like to have an evaluation with one of our physical therapists, please contact us.

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Physical Therapist at Freedom Physical Therapy Services
PT, MTC, CMTPT
Todd Pratte is a 1988 graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison and received his manual therapy certification from The University of St. Augustine in 1997. Todd specializes in treating total knee replacements and rotator cuff injuries.