On May 10, I was among the speakers at the “Practical Biomechanics of Cycling” conference organized by the Spanish Cycling Federation in collaboration with the Nisa Hospital in Seville. If being a speaker at a conference is always a commitment, when you have to give the talk in Spanish and you have to compare yourself with such holy monsters of Iberian cycling as Salvador Cabeza De Vaca (national team selector from 1992 to 2007), then it is a real challenge. The other speakers were José Lopez Sanchez of Murcia and Javier Fernandez Alba, president of the Madrid branch of the federciclismo.
Each speaker had to bring 2 presentations that covered the topic of cycling biomechanics and focused on the use of new analysis technologies. My first presentation, which served as an introduction to the conference, focused on the functional assessment of the cyclist and the concepts of pre- and post-bikefitting, i.e., everything the biomechanist needs to do to understand the motor and postural patterns of the cyclist and identify the causes of the problem. The second report focused on the analysis of the cyclist presenting with knee pain while cycling.
What emerged from this experience, in addition to the opportunity to see firsthand how the biomechanics of cycling is experienced in a foreign country, is that there is an increasing need to create new figures who are trained and, above all, have varied skills. Cycling is a simple sport only on the surface, but the motor patterns and muscle activations enacted by the cyclist on the bike are particular and unique and require study and especially individualization on the athlete. It is no longer possible to act by rigid, precomplicated schemes, to apply rules that stand out from the 1980s such as the knee with the plumb line or the saddle at hip height. It is necessary to apply scientific studies and integrate biomechanics with concepts from physical therapy, exercise science, medicine and podiatry. This is the only way to value bike fit as a functional element of cyclist performance.
The time of “wizards,” “gurus,” and “leaders” who just by watching the cyclist pedaling say that one leg is shorter than the other is over, or at least that is what emerged from this conference in Spain.
In Italy, it is known, it will take longer for these new concepts to find fertile ground, but every day the Bikeitalia team works to bring science into bike fit.
You can download the slides of my presentations at these links:
Introduciòn a los conceptos de pre y post fitting y la evaluaciòn funcional del ciclista