Cycling with pain help – the bike fit

Last Updated on July 4, 2023 by FAB Jim The Cyclist

Any pain while cycling isn’t normal.  If you start experiencing pain every time you ride, you need some bike fit help.  Sure, you might get sore if you haven’t ridden for a while, but if you ride regularly and find something always starts hurting you need to make some adjustments.  Bike fitting isn’t just for the professional cyclist, and it isn’t just for performance.  A proper bike fit will help you avoid any causes of pain from biking.

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Bikes are really quite adjustable.  You can move the seat up and down and back and forth.  If you are using cycling shoes with cleats, the cleats can be moved around to make adjustments.  The handlebars can often be moved up or down.  If you need more adjustments, you can get a different stem with a new angle and length.    

Through the years I have experienced various pains and made them go away.  For example I started experiencing pain behind my knees.  I fixed this by lowering my seat a little, I think I was overextending my knee while riding.  After I made the change and got the proper fit, the pain went away.  I had a similar issue with the inside of my knees starting to hurt.  This I fixed with a cleat adjustment. 

You have to listen to your body.  Some of my pains haven’t even been while riding.  For instance, the back of my knee never hurt while riding, but I could feel it more just from walking.

The point I most want to make is that cycling is a low impact exercise and really shouldn’t cause pain.  Most all pains I know of can be fixed with some fit adjustments.  Go to a bike shop that does fitting and ask for help if you are experiencing pain.   

Common cycling pains and possible remedies:


This may be because you are too stretched out, reaching too far for the handlebars.  Lowering your saddle a little may help this, or you could get a shorter stem.

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You have too much weight on your hands.  Check that your saddle isn’t tilted nose down.  You may also want to raise your handlebars a little. 

Lower back

This may be caused by your saddle being too high.  If your hips rock back and forth your saddle is likely too high. 

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This is likely caused by your saddle.  First make sure it is level.  If that doesn’t solve your problems, you may want to look at other saddles.  I found that I need a thicker up and down nose on my saddles.  When the nose is thinner, I get groin pain where my legs meet the groin.


This is likely from saddle height or possibly cleat placement.  If the backs of your knees hurt the saddle is too high. 


This could be from your shoes or possibly cleat placement.  You don’t want your shoes to be too tight. 

If you can’t figure out the cure, go to a bike fitter.  You don’t want to risk serious injury, and biking is much more pleasant without any pains. 

The doctor asked me to rate my pain.

“zero stars, would not recommend” was not a good answer.

4 thoughts on “Cycling with pain help – the bike fit

  1. Another old one but so very true. The older bike I had helped me be able to ride bike once again. I have a very bad back. And riding bike has been a no no for years. Couldn’t walk a block let alone ride a bike. But with the older bike I had it helped me to sit straight up not slumped over. So sitting straight up I was able to ride and ride I did. Road my bike all over the city when I lived there and loved it. Still like anything with my back if I over did it I would feel it. So yes must have a proper fitting bike 🚴

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