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Bike Fitting

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Meet Josh

I began cycling when I first moved to Baltimore in 2012. At that time, it was my main form of transportation, and it was a great way to explore the city. I knew I was hooked when I woke up each morning looking forward to my commute to work, trying to beat my time from the day before. It wasn’t long before I bought a faster bike and started going on group rides with the local bike shops. This quickly led to joining the race teams of two Baltimore bike shops (Twenty20 and Baltimore Bicycle Works), and I have raced both road and cyclocross over several seasons. Beyond racing, I have tried to weave cycling into as many areas of my life as possible. I have become an avid bikepacker, and I enjoy a casual ride with friends as much as a race-pace group ride. 

Because I know how much cycling enriches my life, I also know the frustration that comes with missing time on the bike because of pain or injury. Inspired by my own injuries and struggles with finding a correct bike fit, I decided to combine my knowledge from my career as a physical therapist with my love of cycling, and I became a Certified Professional Bike Fitter through the Institute of Clinical Excellence. As an expert in biomechanics and anatomy, I am happy to be able to provide medically-informed, individualized bike fitting to keep you riding for years to come.

FAQs

Who am I?

I am a physical therapist with a passion for cycling. As a doctor of physical therapy, I am an expert in anatomy and biomechanics, and am able to apply these skills to my bike fitting by assessing movement patterns, muscle recruitment, and pedaling technique. I am also able to screen for causes of pain beyond cycling. I am certified as a Professional Bike Fitter through the Institute of Clinical Excellence, having received training designed specifically for physical therapists in order to merge cycling and medical knowledge.

What is the difference between bike size and bike fit?

Bike fitting is the practice of fitting a bicycle to your body. The size of the bike, based on things like your leg length and height, is just a starting point. A bike fit takes into account your pedal stroke and alignment, optimizing your position on the bike to improve efficiency and comfort. It is more detailed than bike sizing, and it incorporates adjustments to cleats, pedals, seatpost, saddle, stem, handlebars, hoods, and headset.

84% of cyclists report riding with a cycling-related overuse injury, and most of these injuries can be linked to a poor bike fit.

What does it mean to have a “bad bike fit”? 

Ideally, your bicycle should be fitted perfectly to you, allowing you to pedal efficiently and comfortably for hours with good technique and no pain. Unfortunately, many riders deal with discomfort or overuse injuries that come from repetitive strain associated with an improper fit. 84% of cyclists report riding with a cycling-related overuse injury! These injuries can be discouraging and can lead to time off the bike. If you are experiencing pain that intensifies while riding your bike, whether it is neck pain, back pain, knee pain, or saddle pain, it is likely that your discomfort is related to your bike fit. 

Over 52% of bike-related injuries are due to overuse, many of which can be prevented or alleviated with a proper bike fit.

What is the advantage of having a bike fit performed by a licensed physical therapist?

If you are experiencing pain in any body part that intensifies while riding your bike, it is likely that it can be significantly improved with a proper bike fit. However, there are often contributors to pain that are not related to fit alone, but are more related to your body. These include muscle imbalances, joint mobility restrictions, and postural limitations, to name a few. Physical therapists are well-trained in identifying impairments such as these. When present, these issues often require adaptations to the bike fit that may not occur in a traditional fit. Additionally, in instances of longer-standing issues or more severe pain, consultation with a physical therapist to address anatomical limitations may be appropriate in addition to a bike fit alone.

Those who ride over 5 hours per week are at a high risk of pain with cycling. Don't let this be you!

What can I expect during my bike fit?

With a professional bike fit, you will receive a thorough 90-minute assessment that starts with a discussion of your cycling-related goals, as well as your pain areas and related injury history. Anatomical landmarks used to measure alignment will be identified and marked. While you ride your bicycle on a trainer in the clinic, your alignment, position on the bike, and pedal stroke will be expertly analyzed with the help of trade-specific tools. Any inefficiencies or imperfections in your fit will be identified, and adjustments will be made to your bike gradually to improve alignment. For example, if your knees are rotating toward the bike (assessed via laser), your foot position may be changed to encourage better alignment. If you require a new part for an optimal fit, such as pedal spacers or a new stem or saddle, you will receive specific recommendations. 

If needed, a follow-up appointment can be made in order to fine tune your fit and make final adjustments. 

If you purchased your bike in a bike shop, odds are that you are riding a bicycle that is sized appropriately for your height. However, a properly fitting bicycle goes far beyond size.

What types of bikes do you fit? 

Road, hybrid, and cyclocross.

What should I bring with me?

You should bring your bike, your bike shoes, and the clothes that you normally ride in.



Common Injuries

The most commonly injured areas due to improper fit are:

  • Lower back (54% of injuries)
  • Knee (22% of injuries)
  • Neck (12% of injuries)

Common Injuries Likely to Benefit From a Bike Fit

Pricing

Medically Informed Bike fit with PT $350

Medically Informed Bike fit with PT + follow up session $425



Check out this video of Dr Josh Haffner on MidDay Baltimore talking about the benefits of a Medical Bike fit!

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