Did you know that there's a good chance that you're riding a bike that doesn't fit your properly? Perhaps you do and just put up with it because of your love for cycling or maybe you don't even realize there's something you can do about it. Well, there are simple, inexpensive adjustments that can be made to your bike to improve the fit.
Why is it so hard to find a bike that one that fits? If you haven't noticed yet, most bikes are built with regards to the average MAN. Therefore, since women tend to be smaller than the average man, finding a bike that fits can be tough. Even when the seat tubes are shortened, many bikes still have the same length top tube as the larger bikes, and therefore even this "shorter" bike won't fit. Women and men do have similar proportions, but if a woman and a man of the same size were to try the same bike, chances are the woman would find it uncomfortable. The reason for this may be the differing riding positions of men and women. It has been suggested that women bend from the waist while men pivot from the hips. Women also tend to sit further back on the seat than men.
Shorter stems are the first option to try to give you a more comfortable reach. Also smaller brake levers, narrower handlebars, shorter cranks, and wider saddles are also common on women's bikes-- Georgena Terry was the first to develop alternatives for women and many bike companies have followed her lead by building bikes especially designed for women.
Most bikes have stems that are way too long for women. The typical bike accommodates the long torso of a man. This results in women having to reach farther over the frame, which is a very uncomfortable position! Every person's position will vary, but make sure that you are able to keep your elbows bent when you ride.
Look for shorter stems made by Nitto Technomic or use the Terry "T-Stem".
This isn't only a comfort change, but a safety one. Stretching your hands to reach your brake levers can cause discomfort. A short reach brake lever provides more comfort and also the confidence that your brakes are within reach!
More than likely your bike seat is too long and narrow and very uncomfortable! Seats that are shorter from front to back and wider across the rear are available and will feel more comfortable to most women. Look for them in your local bike shop. Terry makes a more "racier" looking seat for those who want to be comfortable and look like a pro biker.