Commuting by Bicycle: Cheaper, Healthier, and Pain Free

Sep 29, 2005, 01:00 ET from California Physical Therapy Association

    SACRAMENTO, Calif., Sept. 29 /PRNewswire/ -- With gas prices continuing to
 climb in California, people are bicycling to work as a viable transportation
 alternative.  Avid cyclist and physical therapist, Jerry Durham, MPT, of the
 San Francisco Sport and Spine Physical Therapy Center, has noticed an increase
 of bicycles on BART, San Francisco's light-rail system.  "For the same amount
 of money motorists are paying for a month's worth of gas, they could purchase
 a good quality bicycle to ride to and from work or to the light-rail station,"
 said Mr. Durham.
     Patricia Rae Evans, PT, PhD, and chief executive officer of the California
 Physical Therapy Association (CPTA) is thrilled to hear about the increase in
 bicycling.  According to Evans, "During this past year, our public outreach
 campaign, Move California has focused on educating Californians about the need
 for an active lifestyle.  Physical therapists can play a fundamental role in
 assisting individuals in attaining and maintaining such a lifestyle."
     Durham knows this to be true.  He has been asked by a number of his
 clients for advice about purchasing a bicycle.  For the most enjoyment and
 benefit, Durham recommends a two-step process.  First, purchase a bicycle from
 a reputable bike shop.  Experienced staff at a shop specializing in bicycles
 can properly fit a customer with a bike that will suit the rider's body
 proportions.  A good bicycle shop will carry a variety of seats that can
 accommodate people of all sizes and weights. Once the bike is purchased, the
 second step is for the rider to see a physical therapist for a "bike fit."
 Durham states, "The physical therapist can adjust the seat, pedals, and handle
 bars to ensure movement will not excessively stress the rider's knees,
 shoulders, and neck."
     Sarah, a patient of the San Francisco Sport and Spine Physical Therapy
 Center, has first-hand experience about the benefits of physical therapy.
 Sarah sent this message to Durham, "I'm in the middle of my ride, but felt
 strongly enough about this that I had to say: You rock! Bike feels great, and
 I am getting a lot more power -- especially from my hamstrings."  Another
 patient, Kristin, says, "Thanks to my physical therapist, I've stayed healthy
 and have absolutely no neck problems.  I'm so pleased that I can ride pain
     Physical therapists are experts in body movement and performance. Both
 Evans and Durham believe an individual experiencing pain or injury from
 exercise should consult a physical therapist as a critical member of the
 health care team.  As an avid cyclist and physical therapist, Durham offers
 this advice to individuals, "A physical therapist can quickly assess and
 recommend changes in your bike and riding posture as well as teach you daily
 strengthening and stretching exercises."
     The California Physical Therapy Association exists to educate the people
 of California as to the attributes, benefits and value of physical therapy;
 meet the physical therapy needs of the people of California through the
 development and improvement of physical therapy education, practice and
 research; meet the needs of the Chapter members through identification,
 coordinated action, communication and fellowship.

SOURCE California Physical Therapy Association