My First Bike Set Up – Take home tips.

Usually between my husband, who is good on the tools and technical side of things, and me, who knows a little about what position I need to be in to reduce the risk of injury and to be comfortable on the bike, can stumble our way through to an adequate bike set up.  However now that hubby is only home on weekends we have better things to do with our time, and modifying a bike can often lead to some…ahem…disagreements.  I am also feeling nervous about this adventurethon and being able to get my body through it injury free, so I am doing everything I can to minimise my risk factors and control the things that I can.  On the ride from Perth to Fremantle I noticed that my bike set up was not quite right with my back and neck feeling a little strained.  I’ve never had a bike set up for this bike and haven’t been quite comfortable which is why this had to go on the hitlist so that it gets done!

I like to go local where possible so I dropped in at the local bike shop to have a chat about what’s involved, whether they have staff trained to complete one, and when I could organise a time.  Kalamunda Cycles were really friendly and were happy to book me in.  Physio’s and Podiatrists often offer specialised bike set up sessions as well.  If you experience any of the following you should really review your bike set up and if necessary book in for a review.

  • Hip, back, or knee pain
  • Sore/stiff neck
  • Numbness
  • Lack of power/explosiveness

When you go for a bike set up you will be expected to bring in your bike and riding gear including your helmet, camelpak, and cleats if you wear them.


Usually you would have the bike set up on an indoor trainer but my wheels didn’t clip on the trainer available so for what I needed we just balanced against the door frame….took me a little bit to get my balance, little gumby like that! lol

Managed to get on and stay balanced....Yay!

Managed to get on and stay balanced….Yay!

Pretending to know what he is doing....adjusting shock pressure or something like that.

I’m pretending to know what he is doing….adjusting shock pressure or something like that.

Amazing what a few adjustments can do...feeling better on a lap around the parking lot!

Amazing what a few adjustments can do…feeling better on a lap around the parking lot!

My bike set up ended up being quite straightforward and only took 30 minutes however it can take anywhere up to an hour if you have specific concerns.  Tim at Kalamunda Cycles ended up charging me less and was happy for me to drop back in if I had any further tweaks after a few rides.  I definitely think it is worth your time and money if you are doing a lot of riding, but in the meantime here are my top take home tips.

  1. Wrist position – Check that your brakes and gear levers aren’t rolled too far forward (shoulders will start hitching up), or too far back.  There is a lot of repetitive loading going through the arms and wrists so don’t forget to have a look at your wrist position next time you ride.
  2. Handlebars –  Make sure they are not too low, this can cause the back to start rounding (hello back pain) and increase the  load going through your arms.
  3. Saddle position – Check height of saddle, distance between saddle and handlebars, and whether saddle is level….saddle position is crucial to avoid pain and injury in back, knee, and hips.

Here are some websites that have some great information on setting up your bike.

Olympic Park Sports Medicine Centre – Cycling Set Up

PhysioBench – 5 Tips to set up your bike to avoid injury

Bicycle Transport Alliance WA – A Basic Guide to bike set up

Sometimes it is nothing that can’t be fixed by getting some bike fitness back.  Sore bum anyone?? Get out there and enjoy the ride!!


Hitlist No.2

Well I can’t wait to get stuck into this hitlist!  It is a little ambitious and will probably take a little longer but these items have me ready and raring to go!  If you want to know a little more about why I started doing these hitlists you can read about it here.

Here is my second hitlist…..

Let's get ready to rumble!!

Let’s get ready to rumble!!

Riding from Perth to Fremantle….the scenic tour.

When I was planning this hitlist task, in my mind I was thinking that it was only 20km there, fairly flat, shouldn’t be too difficult.  I obtained the map for this ride from The Department of Transport website.  It looked easy to negotiate and recommended timeframes were anywhere between 40 minutes and two hours depending on your fitness level.  On my trusty exercise bike I was knocking over 20km in 40 minutes, no problems.  As we all know an exercise bike is nothing like riding outside, so I thought I would allow an hour there, leisurely lunch…latte….then an hour home.  Even if I left at 10am I would still be home comfortably around 1pm, plenty of time to pick the kids up from school.  What could possibly go wrong with this plan??

I had decided that I would park in South Perth at the Coode St jetty, as it was an easy drive from the Perth Hills and I love that stretch along the Swan River, so pretty.  I thought it would be a fairly simple matter to hook up with the riding path from this point.  Initially I had convinced a local to come with me but things came up and it didn’t happen so I roped my cousin in at the last minute (he had just driven over 5000km from North Queensland to move to Perth a couple of days beforehand, so a local he was not!)

Now the day didn’t start as planned as the day was grey, drizzly, and overcast when the day before had been spectacular.  I dropped the kids off at school and my cousin and I ummed and ahhhed about whether to go but we sucked it up and went anyway, a little rain never hurt anyone!  We had a quick look at the map again, figured we would be able to work it out, packed our camelpak’s, loaded the bikes and off we went.  I will let the pictures tell the story!

Getting ready to ride....quietly confident.

Getting ready to ride….quietly confident.

Too cool for school, haha.

Too cool for school, haha.

First pit stop to pump up a tyre...random windmill.

First pit stop to pump up a tyre…random windmill.

Remember how I mentioned we took a quick look and figured we would be right??  Well we weren't, got lost in the big city, we looked really cool riding our MTB's and helmets in the city.  We did get a map and found the bike path we needed!  40minutes down and haven't even left the city.

Remember how I mentioned we took a quick look at the map and figured we would be right?? Well we weren’t.  We got lost in the big city and looked really cool riding our MTB’s through the streets. We did get a map and found the bike path we needed! 45minutes down and haven’t even left the city.

If you happen to try this ride and you see have gone to far and you will only get to the end of the docks riding against ridiculous headwind where if you stop pedalling you will literally stop dead.  Then you get to turn around and ride back...and you will be starving after riding for hours!!

If you happen to try this ride and you see these…STOP….you have gone too far and you will only get to the end of the docks riding against ridiculous headwind where if you stop pedalling you will literally stop dead. Then you get to turn around and ride back…and you will be starving after riding for hours!!

It was a lovely ride, just give yourself plenty of time.  We ended up coming back through Kings Park which I recommend.

It was a lovely ride, just give yourself plenty of time. It took us over two hours with plenty of wrong turns on the way there and only took us just over an hour on the way home.   We ended up coming back through Kings Park which I recommend.  And yes, I made it back in time to pick the kids up…just.

Selfie to prove I actually did ride...and I had to laugh at my cousin in the background...I think I broke him.

Selfie to prove I actually did ride…and I had to laugh at my cousin in the background…I think I broke him.

Registering for my First Adventurethon

O…..M….G!!  I just realised that there is only 16 weeks until my first adventurethon in Albany.  I have been waiting for registrations to open for the event so that I could register, it would be official and then there is no backing out, but today I realised that I don’t have time to wait I really have to get cracking with my training if I am going to complete the Enduro event.  Mentally I have committed so I am claiming the hitlist item!

I am a little disappointed in the Adventurethon website as it is actually very difficult to find out distances for each leg of the event.  Basing it on last years information and some feedback from the facebook page I think that I will be up for approximately 7.5km paddle, 22km mountain bike ride, and an 8km trail run.  But I could be wrong.  I haven’t really paddled before, except for recreation, and currently I can probably run for 2km at a pinch (as in I will probably have a heart attack after this point).  The bike I have covered…..I think.  I completed a fairly tough 42km mountain bike ride last year which you can read about in this post, so I am pretty confident that I can get that leg done, but I haven’t ridden outdoors since we moved in January, well not without the gator attachment for my youngest.  So I have to get back to some mountain biking, you know, outdoors.  Call me crazy but I think I can get it done.  The reason I love to book in an event like this is that it gives me direction for my training, its a challenge, it gives me a chance to see a whole new town and scenery, and it is an awesome sense of achievement to actually finish a race.  My friend Snooze has bravely agreed to come along this journey with me and we will try and co ordinate a couple of sessions together each week.

Snooze and I.....No I couldn't find a better picture of us...and we had great lobster that day!!

Snooze and I…..No I couldn’t find a better picture of us…and we had great lobster that day!!

At the moment my current training has been riding a stationary bike 3x/week and strength training 2-3x/week, so I am not starting completely from scratch fitness wise.  In terms of preparation I am going to break it up into four blocks of four weeks.  The first block my focus will be on increasing strength via CrossFit, developing a good running base, and focusing on eating well to lose a little weight.  My second block of four weeks will be about building endurance in each leg.  The aim of the third block will be about starting to do some block training, that is, doing a bike ride followed by a run or a kayak then ride.  Early in the final block I will try and organise to do a couple of run throughs of a mini adventurethon to get a feel for the event and then scale back/taper a little in the final week leading up to the race.

Race nutrition will also be something I will need to look into as the race can be 5-6hours if not a lot more depending on how my training goes!  Hydration and fuelling are going to be critical.  I have purchased a new pair of running shoes specific to my big flat feet as it is one area where I can’t compromise if I want to get through this injury free.  I will be using the roller and trying to do a bit of yoga on my rest day and may splurge on a couple of massages throughout the lead up with a real focus on injury prevention.  I am carrying a little niggle in my left knee and am prone to migraines if my neck is out and diet isn’t right, so I will keep an eye on these things.  I need to drop in at the bike shop to get my bike set up properly as well.    A little nervous but a whole lot excited!!

could not finish

Hot Power Yoga

I have been a big fan of yoga for several years, so many principles of yoga are things that resonate with me as an Exercise Physiologist in terms of injury prevention, such as postural awareness, working on creating symmetry in movement, flexibility, stability, and a focus on breathing and centreing.  I’m not a die hard yogi and therefore there is a lot I am ignorant about……I’m not great at knowing the differences between the different yoga practices and I’m really not good with a lot of chanting and ‘Ohhhhmmms’, no disrespect meant.  I am more of the DIY yoga variety with a lot of my practice done at home with Yoga DVD’s.

The kids loved doing it with me too!!  Downward Dog anyone??

The kids join in too. Downward Dog anyone??

I used to be one of those people that scoffed at Yoga because it wasn’t a real workout, I wanted to be sweating, hurting, and unable to catch my breath, I didn’t have time for an hour of stretching (hehe little did I know).  But as I have got older and less flexible I wanted to look into this whole yoga thing a little more.  As mentioned, I started with you tube yoga clips, P90X yoga, and then eventually decided to try a class so that I could get some feedback on technique and progression.  I don’t do it nearly as often as I should, or would like to, but it always keeps drawing me back as you really do feel pretty wonderful after a session.

After moving to Perth I was searching for a yoga class to attend to get my fix and came across The Twisting Peacock Yoga Studio.  Firstly the name is just awesome, but it also had Hot Power Yoga.  Now I love a strong, flowing kind of yoga and I had never done a hot yoga class so it had to go on my hitlist.  If you have never done a yoga class then I suggest you read The Twisting Peacock’s Your First Class page.  For what its worth I think they did a great job on their website, everything I needed to know was right at my fingertips.

I booked in for my class online, printed out the first timers health questionnaire ready to take along with me, and off I went with my water bottle and my towel.  It would pay to book online as the class filled up quickly.  Usually in yoga classes you will get a range of different body types, but I swear this class was the postcard perfect yoga group, you know the leggy, lean, gorgeous type.  All I could think was that I bet none of them had to tuck their saggy, post baby belly into their yoga pants!!  Haha It made me feel slightly better when one of these girls was the first to break, and meekly asked our dominatrix style instructor when we we got a break??  In fairness the class was tough but great, and the instructor did a great job in making everyone feel welcome and well supervised.

I borrowed this photo from Twisting Peacock Yoga FB page.  Check it out for more info on what they get up to.

Twisting Peacock Yoga let me borrow this from their FB page. Check it out for more pics on some of the cool stuff they get up to.

As for the ‘hot’ yoga part, well it comes as no surprise that it was hot.  When I first got there it was pleasantly warm on a nice Winters day.  Actually I wanted to snuggle up and go back to bed if I am being completely honest, especially as I had a few drinks the night before with a group of Mum’s from school.  In no time at all though I was warmed up and starting to sweat.  Yep, Sweatty Bettie had made a return!  Initially I’m not sure I thought the hot room was necessary, but on second thoughts there is no way I would have got the range of movement that I did on my first session back.  Also, as your muscles are warm I think the work didn’t feel quite as hard as it actually was.  I walked away feeling tired but not too bad, but the next couple of days my muscles were telling me all about how much work we got through!   The other bonus was that I managed to sweat out the alcohol from the night before….not even dusty.  Winner!  I was chugging water for the rest of the day as well.  I really did enjoy my session and have booked to go again.

Subliminal message......

Subliminal message……

Progress Report for Hitlist No.1

Well I am chugging along just fine people and crossing things off my hitlist left, right, and centre – bam, bam, bam!  And it feels good to pull out that list and reflect.  Progress is happening one way or another, even if other areas in my life may be a little chaotic at times.  It really was a nice little boost to my day to cross a couple more items off my list.  It actually brings to mind a great post my sister wrote on the importance of celebrating success, no matter how big or small, otherwise why would we go back to put in more hard work?  So here is my little fist pump cause I am a bit excited that I am nearly through this hitlist.

Wahoo look at me go...making progress on my hitlist!

Wahoo look at me go…making progress on my hitlist!

I am also wondering how I am going to celebrate a completed hitlist??  Hmmmm…