Healthy Tahoe: Properly preparing for a ride

Harrison Brown, DPT
A clinical bike fitting at Barton Center for Orthopedics & Wellness. (Provided)

Lake Tahoe features some of the best mountain biking in the country, including the famous Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride, Flume Trail and many others built and maintained by the Tahoe Area Mountain Biking Association.

Mr. Toads is best known for its challenging rock gardens and steep terrain, best suited for an advanced mountain biker. While not technically challenging, the Flume Trail features exposed areas next to cliffs which can be intimidating, but the views are second to none.

Whether you’re a first-timer or an expert, every rider should add proper preparation and recovery to their routine, and make sure they optimize body positioning to maximize performance on their bike.

Basic preparation includes strength training to improve large muscle groups like the quads and glutes, which are relied heavily on while biking. Whether you’re embarking on a scenic trail or pedaling around the neighborhood, by activating key muscle groups in a warm up, you can decrease pressure on your joints and reduce your risk for overuse or injury.

As always, drink plenty of fluids, especially when participating in any activity that makes you sweat. After your ride, top the activity off with a period of stretching.

Discomfort from a poorly fitted bike is one of the most common reasons people avoid riding, but fixing a poorly-fit bike is a simple solution. Everything from foot, knee, hip, shoulder, elbow, and wrist position plays a crucial role in riding a bike correctly, and both the casual and competitive cyclist benefit from a properly fitted bike.

During a bike fitting, clinical experts assess posture, flexibility, range of motion, strength, and balance on your bike. Adjustments made as a result of the fitting can increase pedaling efficiency and power, improve handling performance, decrease overuse injuries, decrease saddle soreness, and reduce or eliminate back, neck and knee pain.

If you plan to bike this summer, set yourself up for success with proper preparation techniques and consider a clinical bike fitting to avoid injury and maximize riding efficiency.

Harrison Brown, DPT is a clinical bike fit specialist at the Barton Center for Orthopedics & Wellness. Harrison will host a free Wellness Webinar, “Virtual Bike Fitting” on Wednesday, July 14 at 5pm. Register in advance, or view previously recorded webinars at For more information or to schedule a bike fitting, call 530.539.6675 or visit

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