Indoor Cycling Rocker Plate Improves Cycling Comfort

A baboon with red patches on rump.


After a long session of indoor cycling do you start to feel like this guy? There is a better way! An indoor cycling rocker plate can provide the comfort you need so that you can ride indoors for hours, pain free! We will discuss the actual mechanisms that create the movement necessary to alleviate sit bone friction and pain. Is it worth it? If you love cycling and you don't want to be sidelined by saddle sores caused by the friction of riding on a static saddle, you bet it is!

Why Riding Outdoors is Less Painful

The Clothing: Most seasoned cyclists will invest in quality cycling clothing. This is especially important for all the areas that come in direct contact with the bike. Gel-padded gloves and well-fitted, stiff-soled cycling specific shoes help to prevent hand and feet numbness. Probably more important though is where most of the cyclist's weight is positioned, the sit bones. Investing in high-quality cycling shorts or bib shorts with a well-shaped and padded chamois is a must! In addition, a chamois cream applied directly to the sit bones prior to dressing is a good practice, especially for rides lasting an hour or longer. (For those new to cycling - Never wear underwear under your cycling shorts! The two layers of material will create friction and eventually pain.)

The Movement: When you ride outside your bike rocks from right to left with every pedal stroke. When spinning easily this motion is limited, but nonetheless present. When climbing or sprinting it is much more pronounced. But did you know that the bike also has an uneven fore and aft displacement? This is because most people apply an uneven level of force to the pedals during its rotation. Again, it is subtle but present at low efforts but can be quite substantial when getting out of the saddle to climb or sprint. Anybody who rides in close quarters with a cycling group knows how important it is to let someone who is riding closely behind you know that you are about to get out of the saddle to stand on the pedals. When doing so, the bike will scoot rearward and can cause the cyclist behind you to touch their front wheel to your rear wheel, thus causing them to crash. Riding etiquette aside, it is precisely these movements that enable one's sit bones to be mostly fixed to the same spot on the saddle. A cyclist can ride for hours upon hours with relatively little discomfort to their sit bone region when coupled with a good pair of shorts and anti-abrasion cream.

Why Riding Indoors is Different

Most people find that indoor cycling can be time limited due to sit bone pain, even when equipped with the same clothing and taking the same precautions. Many claim that discomfort sets in after about 45 minutes to an hour. Those trying to build base miles during the winter months will find this very frustrating. It is common to think that indoor cycling just takes time to get used to. So, increasingly more time is spent in discomfort. And what starts as redness can eventually progress to full blown saddle sores. This condition will require many weeks to heal and will mean time off the bike. Winter training goals aborted!

Why does this happen? Simply because the sit bones are not fixed to the saddle. With every pedal stroke over a static saddle the hip bone drops slightly to the side that is pushing down on the pedal. This also occurs slightly in the fore/aft direction as well, relative to the saddle, because of uneven power distribution throughout the pedal stroke. At 90 rpms for an hour - that is 5400 times that the sit bones are displaced and replaced on the saddle during an hour long ride. Multiply that times the number of times you train indoors per week and over many weeks you have a recipe for pain and soft tissue injury to your backside.

 How an Indoor Cycling Rocker Plate Can Make Indoor Training Less Painful

An indoor cycling rocker plate like the Velocity Rocker that has both side-to-side and fore/aft motion can effectively mimic the type of motion you experience when riding your bicycle outdoors. Consequently, your sit bones stay mostly fixed to the same spot on your saddle thus avoiding excessive friction and therefore pain. Some additional benefits are that it feels more natural and realistic to have the bike move freely beneath you. Also, the movement necessitates that you keep your core muscles engaged, thus making you stronger and more fit. In addition, your pedal stroke is more likely to be biomechanically sound as your leg lines up for better power transfer and less strain on joints. And lastly, a very forceful sprint on a static setup can cause torsional stress and fatigue to a bicycle frame. The rocker plate movement absorbs that force and can help preserve your investment.

In Conclusion

Indoor cycling has come a long way over the last decade. The online training platforms are state of the art and very engaging. Riding indoors will never be the same as riding outdoors, but it can be a fun and engaging activity in its own right. By using a rocker plate you will remove one of the main limiting factors of enjoying your indoor sessions for hours at a time. With unwanted pain removed from the equation, you will ride for longer and become more healthy and fit. Whether you ride indoors seasonally or full-time an indoor cycling rocker plate is an excellent investment.