Biking is a great low-impact form of cardiovascular activity, but that doesn’t mean that you are free from potential injury when biking – especially when you are road or trail biking. There are two buckets that biking injuries fall into: crashes and overuse. Let’s talk about how to avoid both types of injuries with safe riding and proper bike fitting.
Contrary to what you might think, most bike crashes are not a result of being hit by another rider or a car: “Only seven per cent of transport-related cycling injuries involve collisions with other vehicles. You are much more likely to hurt yourself by falling off your bike or hitting a stationary object” (Better Health). Whether using your bike as a mode of transportation to work or to run errands, or on trails, there are many important rules to remember to avoid injuring yourself or others:
- Use hand signals
- Obey common road rules; i.e., fully stop at red lights and ride on the correct side of the road
- Use your bell/voice to alert pedestrians of your position
- Be visible; i.e., install lights on your bike and wear brightly colored reflective clothing
- Keep your bike in good working condition; i.e., check tire pressure and gears, and lubricate chain and cables. Consult with a local bike shop to learn how to perform these quick checks!
- Be aware of your surroundings
Avoid Overuse Injury
There is nothing quite like experience of riding a bike; just ask the 80 million bikers in the United States alone (Stop Sports Injuries). Of these millions of riders, it is estimated that many of them experience injury in the following areas: “48 percent in their necks, 42 percent in their knees, 36 percent in the groin and buttocks, 31 percent in their hands, and 30 percent in the back” (Stop Sports Injuries). To avoid these common injuries, practice the following behavior:
- Ensure proper bike fitting – this is the most important thing to prevent injury
- Stretch after you ride
- Build overall strength to help build better posture
- Use ice or get a massage to treat occasional aches and pains
- Use the proper biking gear; i.e., shoes, clothing (bike shorts), or gloves
If these preventative measures do not take care of your chronic pain or injury, consult with an Optivus physical therapist to get to the source of your pain, treat it with a customized care plan, and get back on the saddle as soon as possible!