Andy Pruitt’s Complete Medical Guide For Cyclists

15 Mar
Complete Medical Guide For Cyclists

Complete Medical Guide For Cyclists

I live in the far-north suburbs of Chicago and some of the greatest medical schools in the nation are located just a short drive from my house. I’ve been able to a lot of spend time with several young medical students and I have to tell you they are the brightest people I’ve ever met in my life! However, as brilliant as these med students are, they are never going to learn everything about medicine (and they will all quickly tell you that). Even physicians who have practiced for many years will sometimes have trouble diagnosing conditions they are not familiar with. Unless your physician specializes in sports medicine they are probably ill-equipped to deal with some of the routine problems cyclists encounter. The one book that has helped me more than anything else with medical and physical problems related to cycling is Andy Pruitt’s Complete Medical Guide For Cyclists.

While the title of the books says “complete medical guide” it really deals more with “physical therapy” than with medicine, but that is fine with me—diagnosing medical problems from just reading a book a few entries on WebMD can be rather dangerous.

The first four chapters of this book deal with how to properly fit your bike by adjusting saddle position, handlebar position and cleats (or pedals). In my opinion, the majority of medical problems cyclists encounter begin a poorly fit bike. Pruitt explains how to find your ideal position on the bike and this alone is worth the price of the book.

The second section of the book deals with “Remedies For Cycling Injuries” and it covers the majority of things that cause us pain, such as patellar tendonitis, back pain, Achilles tendonitis, carpel tunnel syndrome, saddle sores, and road rash. Pruitt not only explains the cause of these problems, but offers suggestions on how to overcome them.

The last section of the books deals with “Getting The Most Out Of Cycling” and discusses issues such as overtraining, weight loss, performance testing, developing a training program, stretching and rehabilitation.

While this book is very thorough, there are a few things it does not cover, such as cold weather cycling (something I tend to spend a lot of time doing). I have yet to find a book that deals specifically with winter cycling—most of what I know about this topic has come from trial and error (a lot of error) and from reading some of the “adventure cycling” books where experienced cyclists tell you about how they overcame problems with things like hypothermia and frostbite.

One section of the book I do disagree with is the chapter on “Health Maintenance” (chapter 15). Pruitt devotes just five short paragraphs to vitamin supplements and his basic opinion is that cyclists “get all the vitamins they need from their daily meals.” However, in the next chapter (“Aging and the Cyclist”) he does mention the need for older cyclists (you know who you are) to take omega-3 fatty acids, acetyl-L-carnitine and absorbable diindolylmethane (DIM) for their anti-inflammatory benefits. Reasonable people can disagree, but I am a firm believer in vitamin supplements—and if you don’t like the idea of taking supplements, well, don’t take them.

Andy Pruitt’s Complete Medical Guide For Cyclists is published by VeloPress and retails for $19, but you can find it on for around $12. This 6″x9″ paperback book is well illustrated with photographs throughout and has 224 pages. This book will benefit any cyclist, regardless of how long they have been cycling—from “weekend warriors” to distance cyclists.


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31 responses to “Andy Pruitt’s Complete Medical Guide For Cyclists

  1. Jean

    March 15, 2013 at 6:34 AM

    I bought this book as a gift for my partner several years ago. I should take a closer peek at it! Don’t know if it covers stuff for women cyclists..which there may need to be 5-10% different content for our biology.

    I’ve been participating in an Internet’s women’s cycling forum for over the past years and there are some issues specific to women cyclists.

    • All Seasons Cyclist

      March 15, 2013 at 9:16 AM

      Pruitt does does discuss the special needs of female cyclists — that 5-10% difference is pretty big.

  2. marylouharris

    March 15, 2013 at 7:28 AM

    Lived near your location for years. You have had a particularly cold winter this year – congrats for cycling through it.

    • All Seasons Cyclist

      March 15, 2013 at 9:18 AM

      The winter started off very mild, but in February we got hammered with several major snow storms — the real heavy, wet snow that is nearly impossible to ride through. When it comes to snow, I would much rather ride with the temperature in the low teens than closer to freezing.

  3. Mountainstroh (Tony)

    March 15, 2013 at 8:39 AM

    Firm believer in vitamins, well written review!

    • All Seasons Cyclist

      March 15, 2013 at 9:18 AM

      Thank you! I know some people don’t take any vitamin supplements, but I believe they have made a tremendous difference in my life.

      • Mountainstroh (Tony)

        March 15, 2013 at 9:20 AM

        A multi and an extra C a day here! Way to many sick people in my office not to go in shielded somehow!

  4. Lisa

    March 15, 2013 at 9:12 AM

    As with any health advice, an athlete should know his own body well enough to know if supplements are helpful or not. Thanks for the review. Seriously, how many times can someone ask how to deal with saddle sores on facebook? I tell them the tape a raw potato to it. : ) Maybe I should tell them to read this book?

    • All Seasons Cyclist

      March 15, 2013 at 9:19 AM

      They might start off the ride with a raw potato, but I think they would come home with overcooked mashed potatoes!

      • Lisa

        March 15, 2013 at 9:21 AM

        I need a “like” button for that.

  5. Jeff Katzer

    March 15, 2013 at 9:42 AM

    Boy that Dr. has been around for years… I remember him doing a short spot on the cable TV show Bicycling Journal a couple of decades ago. Oh, I loved that show BTW.

    • All Seasons Cyclist

      March 15, 2013 at 10:01 AM

      I didn’t know about the TV show, but I’ve had this book for several years — got it when it first came out.

  6. Bob Rogers

    March 15, 2013 at 9:50 AM

    Thanks a million for this review. I’m going to put this book on my Amazon “wish list.”

  7. billgncs

    March 15, 2013 at 10:18 AM

    I think it’s time for that “cold weather cycling book” — I’d buy it.

    • All Seasons Cyclist

      March 15, 2013 at 10:28 AM

      I agree! Like I said in the article, most of what I’ve learned about cold weather cycling I’ve picked up from reading the “adventure cycling” type books — learning from the mistakes of others is better than learning from your own mistakes.

  8. healthandfitnessoc

    March 15, 2013 at 10:39 AM

    Reblogged this on dominicspoweryoga.

  9. Joy

    March 15, 2013 at 11:00 AM

    Yes, it’s ideal to get all your essential nutrients from your meals, but not practical at all. I’m with you, take a vitamin.

    • All Seasons Cyclist

      March 15, 2013 at 3:41 PM

      Some of the supplements I take would be impossible to get in a normal meal — unless you enjoy eating tree bark.

  10. bgddyjim

    March 15, 2013 at 4:16 PM

    Overtraining? Hmmm. What’s that?

    • All Seasons Cyclist

      March 16, 2013 at 8:33 PM

      Overtraining: When the harder you train the slower you get (it usually happens to me in September).

      • bgddyjim

        March 16, 2013 at 11:57 PM

        I knew what it was, I was trying to be a smart Alec. I had to back off a bit on at least three occasions last year. I obviously didn’t pull it off. 😉

  11. MichelleK

    March 15, 2013 at 4:43 PM

    Write the cold weather book, not that I need it 🙂

    • All Seasons Cyclist

      March 16, 2013 at 8:34 PM

      I don’t think I would want to write the whole book, but there are a couple of chapters I would love to write!

  12. Cherry

    March 16, 2013 at 12:37 PM

    I’m going to have to read this sometime. Is Pruitt a cyclist himself? Did he get his findings through scientific research or through his personal experiences?

    • All Seasons Cyclist

      March 16, 2013 at 12:49 PM

      Here is a small part of his biography, as listed on VeloPress: “Andrew L. Pruitt, EdD, is an internationally-known athletic trainer, physician assistant, and educator. Pruitt is director of the Boulder Center for Sports Medicine in Boulder, Colorado. He is one of the world’s foremost experts on bike fit and cycling injuries. Pruitt headed the U.S. Cycling Federation’s sports medicine program for many years, including through four World Championships. He was the Chief Medical Officer for U.S. Cycling at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta.”

  13. kruzmeister

    April 8, 2013 at 9:06 AM

    Thank you so much for your reviews, I just purchased a copy of this book and really look forward to reading it. – Simone

    • All Seasons Cyclist

      April 8, 2013 at 10:57 AM

      I would really like to know what you think of the book once you’ve had a chance to read it! Please fell free to make your comments about it here — I always like a “second opinion” (as the doctors here like to say).

  14. fastk9dad

    April 8, 2014 at 9:40 AM

    Thanks for the review. I had not heard of this book but just ordered a copy from Amazon.


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