MAKE YOUR NEXT ride or race more fun with these expert tips.

Set the bike up right

“Comfort is the No.1 driver of cycling performance—if you’re not comfortable on the bike, you’ll ride less and won’t improve,” says cycling expert Mat Steinmetz, founder of 51 Speedshop in Boulder, CO.

That means adjusting the saddle so your knees and ankles can move within an optimal range—too high, and you’ll be reaching for the pedals; too low and you’ll drop your heel.

Serious cyclists should have a pro at a bike shop set up their ride. The rest of us can use these guidelines:

1. Knee angle

Set the saddle so there’s a 35°—40° (slight-to-moderate) bend in your knee at the bottom of the pedal stroke.

2. Ankle angle

Aim for a 90°—100° angle so the ankle appears to be in a slightly toe-down position.

3. Foot placement

The pedal axle should bisect the heads of the first and fifth metatarsal bones of your foot, or the true ball of the foot—a bit farther back than most people think.