I was originally going to write about my glassblowing class, but for the first time yesterday I had a honest to god awesome experience getting fitted for my bike. Let me explain what I mean.
Prior to yesterday, I’ve had 2 different fittings by 2 different people at 2 different shops. First was when I bought my bike back in the March of last year, and then a few months later once I knew how to actually sit on my bike. Here’s a picture of my little workhorse.
Anyhow those fittings seemed to be fine as I rode my merry way throughout the summer and fall. During the winter, I’d like to say things like the holidays and life got in the way. Or that it was simply to cold to go out! Sometimes either ones of those would be true, but more often than not, it was me simply being lazy. That’s the past though! Wayyyyy in the past. I mean 2 months is almost ancient history… at least that’s what I tell myself.
Moving on, since I started to ride again 2 things started to hurt. First my right wrist would go number. Second the muscle between my shoulder, which I would come to know as the Multifidus, would be very sore the day following long-ish(30 mile+) ride. Here’s a nice picture.
And giving that I don’t really enjoy numb hands or pain in my back, I decided that it was time for another bike fitting. Any this time, I was truly amazed by how much better it was.
My lovely girlfriend was heading to one of our local bike shops.
Side Note: I live in Austin, Texas which basically means there is a bike shop within 5 miles of any given location in the city.
So off we were to the bike shop. The lady was having her bike looked over for it’s yearly check, and I decided to schedule a fitting appointment while I was there. Turns out they had an opening for 4pm the following day, awesome! I was so excited that I dreamed of a better fit that evening. Well no, not really. I think I dreamed about my cats and world domination. I can’t know for sure.
I arrived at the shop promptly at 4:04. I already put my biking clothes on at home plus a little extra given the weather. I met the guy who would be doing my fitting, Spencer. We walked to the back of the store, where he threw my bike onto a Cyclops trainer. I hopped on the bike and off I went. As I peddled to warm up and get into my normal position, he chatted with me about how long my rides usually last, where I had pain. The questions straddled the line of idle chit-chat and need to know information quite nicely.
First up were the shoes. He wanted to push the clip-in cleats to the center. Apparently they started there and somehow drifted south. And here came a problem. You see the cleats, attach to the shoe via a screw and metal plate that sits inside the shoe. You can see that here.
Apparently both of the threads on the left side of the plate were shot. So after 20 minutes of first trying to change the plate in the shoe, Spencer found out that they didn’t have any extra plate in stock! No matter he said bring in a new pair of shoes. My old ones were, unbeknownst to me, were under warranty and since I had bought them at that particular store… new shoes!
Now that the shoe problem had been corrected, I hopped back on the bike and started peddling. It imminently felt nicer having the cleats in the correct position. Next we moved on the the seat height. He checked the this by measuring the angle my knee made when my foot was at the bottom of the stroke, with this tool
With this he determined that I need to be a few mm higher. So he adjusted the seat height a little and rechecked. He noted that it was still a little low, but thought we should check my seats position first, as moving it would also increase the height.
He asked me to move my feet parallel to the ground and moved my leg to be at the center of the upward stroke. From my knee he dropped the Plumb Bob which showed what he expected.
My saddle was to far back! So we move the saddle forward a pinch, rechecked my knee placement as well as it’s angle and Bob’s your uncle.
Finally we came to what I’d like to call, The Main Course. I had a large suspension before coming in that the pain in my neck was caused by the handlebars. This was my time to shine and be proven right! That’ll show all those non-existent naysayers I thought! First up was that my steam was to long and low. This meant that I was really stretching to reach the bars which placed a lot of strain on my neck muscles. A quick switch on the stem and MY GOD the difference. It was like the sun coming out of 1 year of rain. Next he noticed that my wrist was not aligning with the shifters correctly. I came to learn that your wrist shouldn’t bend, it should feel like your giving then shifters a handshake. Nice and straight. Here’s an example of what you want.
Left = bad
Right = good
With the handlebars done, I put my clothes back on, paid my bill and off I went knowing that I had just gotten the best bike fitting I’ve ever gotten. I haven’t gotten a chance to ride since then, but as I was leaving Spencer let me know that I had a 30 day guarantee. He said that if after a few rides I have any discomfort I should email him to set up a free ‘fitting tune-up’. It left me with a good feeling knowing that even though we were done for the day and the money had switch hands, we were not truly done until I was fully satisfied. My hat off to Spencer, King of the Fit!by