Bike Fit Services
What is a Bike Fit?
Either the bike fits or doesn’t, right? Well it’s not that simple. It’s true that bike dealers can measure your height and inseam and tell you what size frame would work well for you, but this does not take into account your particular “anthropometrics”, meaning not just your size but your proportions, your postural alignment and your personal biomechanics, which includes the integrity of your muscles, joints and other biologic systems as they interface with riding a bike. A bike fit, performed by a physical therapist with advanced training, takes into account these personal variables and will make adjustments to your bicycle for it to best fit your body and your movement while riding. A bike fit with a physical therapist will also address your technique, training and equipment changes that may be needed to optimize your performance and enjoyment.
Who would benefit from a Bike Fit?
The short answer is: everyone who rides a bike, whether it be for recreational purposes, commuting, or racing. Cycling is a low impact form of physical activity and for that reason it has numerous health benefits for one’s cardiovascular, musculoskeletal, and nervous systems. Bike fitting is not just for elite riders. While bike fitting can be a means of increasing performance and comfort demands of elite cyclists, it is not an exclusive club. Most recreational cyclists, including seasoned weekend warriors, commuters, and new cyclists will truly benefit from the bike fitting process with a physical therapist. A good bike fit helps everyone enjoy cycling more and removes the barriers that keep people off the saddle.
Why should you consider getting a Bike Fit?
- Cycling should be fun! Suffering should be optional!
- To find an ideal riding position
- To optimize performance (i.e. improve power output)
- For comfort and efficiency
- To reduce risk of injury
- To solve reason for bike induced pain
When discomfort, pain and injury impede or prevent you from riding your bike, you may want to consider getting a fit. If your bike is new or you are dusting off your old bike that you haven’t ridden in a while, this is a good time to get a fit. If you are planning a race or a trip or a tour and want to reduce injury and maximize performance in your training, this is a good time to get a fit.
Given the repetitive nature of cycling, a host of injuries can be attributed to poor bike fit, cycling technique or training flaws. If the saddle, handlebars, or cleats are improperly positioned, joints and soft tissues can be strained beyond their tolerances and injury can occur. If your pedaling and postural positions on the bike are subpar, this too can create pathological biomechanics, setting your body up for breakdown and failure.
Common overuse injuries from a poor bike fit and cycling technique include:
- Tendinopathies of the lower extremity affecting the hip, knee, and ankle
- Low back strain
- Muscle strains
- Femoral acetabular impingement syndrome
- Patellofemoral tracking disorders
- Cervical radiculopathy
- Ulnar and median neuropathies
- Urinary incontinence
- Pelvic neuropathies
- Sexual dysfunction
- Postural dysfunction off the bike
In addition, a poor bike fit can also affect mechanical efficiency, robbing you of valuable wattage. Cycling should be a fun and enjoyable part of living an active, healthy lifestyle; so get a proper bike fit at Stride Physio to get the most out of every ride.
What happens during a bike fit?
Successful treatment of an injured cyclist requires an on-land and an on-bike movement assessment, with likely changes made to the bike and movement pattern for an improved ride. Here’s what you can expect during a bike fit:
- You will bring your bike into the clinic, along with your cycling shoes, shorts and gloves, where it will be placed on a stationary trainer.
- The PT will go over your cycling history, issues and goals and will perform an on-land and on-bike examination.
- The on-bike movement evaluation will include:
- Assessing your postural and pedaling techniques in 3 planes - front, back and sides – using video analysis.
- Assessing the ergonomics of the current fit as it relates to your body and your pain associated with riding.
- Adjustments may be made to cleats, saddle, handlebars, stem and possibly suspension (mountain bikes only) for optimal positioning.
- While we do not sell bike parts, we may recommend the purchase of components and gear (saddles, cleats, handlebars, stems, etc.) to be installed and appropriately adjusted at a follow-up visit.
- Off the bike exercises and/or stretches may be prescribed.
- A shorter follow-up visit, to make minor adjustments and advance your technique, may be advised.
- Most bike fits take 1.5 – 2 hours, so please plan accordingly
- Note: due to the complexity of Aero and Tri specific bikes, you should expect having at least one additional follow-up visit
What types of bikes can we fit?
Just as one size does not fit all in bikes, one type of bike does not fit all of our cycling needs. Therefore, at Stride we fit various bikes for all of your multiple biking desires. Types of bikes we fit include:
- Road, touring, mountain, cyclo-cross, hybrid, cruiser, gravel, triathlon, racing, tandem, and some electric (depends on back hub set up)
In addition to outside bikes, Stride exclusively offers stationary bike fits for your home Peleton or other spin type bikes.
Please note, the bike trainer we use, the Kinetic Road Machine, has interchangeable through axels that can easily thread through most bikes – this allows the bike to fit securely on the trainer without taking the back wheel off. The bike trainer fits tires that are 22” to 29” wide and can hold up to 300 lbs.
Billing for Bike Fitting Services
Does insurance cover “Bike Fitting”?
Bike fitting is classified as a health and wellness visit which is the financial responsibility of the
client. Because these are longer appointments, Stride Physio is unable to bill health insurance,
even if it is deemed medically necessary.
However, we will provide you with a superbill to send in to your insurance if the bike fit is
determined medically necessary by a healthcare professional. In order to determine medical
necessity your insurance company may require a prior physical therapy evaluation or a signed
referral from an MD. Further evaluation by a physical therapist will be required to determine if
current injury or pathology is directly related to cycling. Please note that cycling induced pain is
not considered medically necessary, whereas pain and disability off the bike does merit medical
necessity. If medical necessity is demonstrated, you can submit a superbill which will cover up
to 60 minutes of the appointment.
Self-pay Rates for Bike Fits
• Road & touring bike fits: $350.00 (For initial visit & 1 follow up)
• Spin bike fits (e.g. Peleton):
o House call fits: $250.00 (King County only)
o Couple’s spin bike fit: $350 (to fit two people during the same visit at one
o Virtual/telehealth fits: $150.00