Words by: Hannah Payton & Bianca Broadbent
The Boardman Performance Centre is a world class facility devoted to cyclists that offers services in physiological fitness, function and health, bike-fitting, positional biomechanics and aerodynamics. It is also home of the UK’s first cycling specific wind tunnel.
Hannah Payton is a professional cyclist for Drops Cycling Team, and has been working alongside Bianca Broadbent, lead physiotherapist and bike fitter at the Performance Centre. Hannah has provided her comments on the services that we offer.
The biomechanics lab uses technology that enables all interventions to be evidence based and with clear outcome measures. The biomechanics of a rider plays a key role in their position on the bike and how efficient they are at pedalling. The bike fit service aims to increase mechanical efficiently whilst also considering comfort by looking at how the body and bike interact.
The session is tailored to the customer’s specific goals, whether that is a sportive event or an international competition.
The first stage of the bike fit process is a musculoskeletal screening to asses muscle length and strength and identify any weaknesses and imbalances.
A foot assessment is then carried out to identify whether orthotics would be of benefit to the rider. Often poor pedalling efficiency is related to foot posture. The Sidas orthotics system creates custom insoles to provide the necessary support to a rider, to enable their feet to maintain a sub-talar neutral position and therefore reduce lateral force and power.
Cleat position can also be optimised dependant on starting position.
The rider will then begin their fit on the Wattbike. Bioracer 3D motion analysis is used to record and analyse movement using infrared markers. This enables the angle at every joint to be measured to establish a baseline. Adjustments can then be made to the bike to optimise position dependant on the rider’s goals.
Gebiomized pressure mapping systems asses how pressure is distributed throughout the saddle and feet to identify imbalances and address pain and discomfort in those areas. If a leg length discrepancy has been identified in the initial musculoskeletal screening, shims can be added to the shoe to correct this, and the Gebiomized saddle pressure mapping system can identify whether the rider is central on the saddle and whether there are any areas of high pressure that may be the cause of discomfort.
Figure 1 shows the initial pressure mapping of a rider at their threshold power. The red area shows high pressure. Figure 2 shows how the pressure on the front of the saddle has reduced with the addition of orthotics.
The Wattbike gives a pedalling efficiency score (PES) to quantify mechanical efficiency and identify whether the client has an ineffective pedal stroke.
Optimising the saddle can often have a positive impact on power imbalances and pedalling efficiency. Figure 3 shows the pedalling efficiency of the same rider prior to any intervention. Figure 4 shows an increase in PES and a more equal left/right balance with the addition of orthotics.
This rider came for a bike fit unaware that there were any issues with their feet.
Forped 6-axis instrumented pedals are an adjunct to our Wattbike technology and offer outstanding insight into the forces at play when we pedal.
These research standard pedals mean we can examine the effects of total force, effective force and lateral forces, and how we might optimise these to improve power.
The specificity of this facility to cyclists offers unique treatment for athletes that isn’t readily available. Any cyclist would benefit from the centre, as we will work towards specific goals, whether that is power and speed, or comfort.
For more information about this unique facility or for information on the services available head over to the Performance Centre section on our website.
Alternatively; contact us via phone or email using the details below and the Performance Centre team will be able to answer any questions you may have about the services and their availability.
Phone: 01527 918 915