When you’re out on your favourite trail or competing in a race, your success depends a lot on BALANCE. The better balanced you are, the more confident you will feel and naturally you will ride faster…and we all want to ride faster (or at least look the part while we’re doing it). Now we’re not talking here about mood swings…some of the best athletes I know are extremely unbalanced individuals! We’re talking about your ability to stay on your bike while navigating a single track or dealing with obstacles etc. Added to this, as a women you also need to be aware that as your hormones fluctuate with your menstrual cycle, you can suffer from things like dizziness and blurred vision which will also have an impact on balance and it’s good to be aware of this.
So what determines how well balanced you are on the bike? The relationship between your centre of gravity and your bike’s centre of gravity will ultimately determine how balanced you are. Therefore it makes sense that your body position on the bike is the key. Your body position in turn, depends on your body’s ability to hinge at the hips while still maintaining a neutral spine. The better this mechanism works, the more able you are to get your body’s centre of gravity behind the bike’s centre of gravity while still keeping some weight on the handlebars. If you can’t hinge your hips properly then one of two things will happen:
1. Your butt goes back but your chest remains too high and there isn’t enough weight on the handlebars. 2. Your chest goes nice and low but your butt is too high and you feel like you could fly over the handlebars at any second (albeit very gracefully). In both of these instances you would be in an unbalanced position and this would then affect your performance and safety on the bike. You will not transfer your power efficiently to your pedals and ultimately will not be able to go faster and your body will become tired quicker on a long distance ride. Generally speaking, if you are battling to get your body position right i.e. your centre of gravity behind your bike’s centre of gravity, it means that you are weak or tight in the hips.
They say the hips don’t lie, so take a bit of time to stretch and strengthen those hips to become a “well balanced” rider!