Monthly Archives: March 2013

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The mysteries of a bike fit

Well, not really that mysterious.

Mostly it’s get on the bike, get off the bike, get on the bike, get off the bike, pedal hard, get off the bike, get on the bike, get in the drops, get off the bike, get on the bike, get off the bike. Repeat what feels like about a million times until finally you’re done.

I had a Body Geometry fit at Bike Now. Nope, I don’t have a Specialized bike (but they were one of the brands on my radar) but it doesn’t make a difference. As they say on their site, they will fit you to whatever bike you happen to own, regardless of brand. Chris did a great job too. I’d seen him before when I bought my Specialized shoes and was having a huge amount of trouble with the cleat position. He sorted that and I felt that he really listened to what I was saying so it made me eager to have him do a fit on my new bike.

He’s good. Really good. We spent about the first half an hour talking about what I wanted to get from my bike riding (he was surprised I had no desire to race), my experiences on the bike and any injuries I’ve had. He did the sit bone measurement, checked my feet to see what my arches were like and checked to see how flexible I am (pretty flexible apparently!).

Then the whole get on the bike, get off the bike process started. At first he just watched me ride. Then he started tweaking and switched my saddle to a 143mm Oura Pro. The difference was immediate. I realised that the whole time I’ve been riding I’ve never really sat on my sit bones on the bike, especially on the right side. What’s most curious is at the bottom of each pedal stroke, there’s a centimetre difference between my left leg (126) versus my right (125). That’s a quite a hip drop I’ve got going on there courtesy of my prolapsed disc. Still, Chris thinks the pedal stroke thing might correct itself now that I have a saddle that’s the right width but it’s a big might. I’m not expecting things to change but still *fingers crossed*.

I know, I know… I’ve bought into the on-sell with the saddle and I am getting a black version of the Oura. However Specialized seem to be the only people who make saddles that are narrower than 147mm. Which is a problem for us girls with skinny hip bones. If you want a wider saddle, sure but narrower – forget about it.

Because of the fit, I’ve ordered a new stem. The one that came with my bike is 110mm but when we did all the measuring for an ideal stem length/angle it turned out I was more comfortable with a 100mm one. So he flipped the stem and angled the bars up. He took some photos of me at the start and end of the fit and you can see the difference. My arms are so straight in the first photo and much more relaxed in the second one.

The whole thing took about two and a half hours. It really was interesting. It was amazing how much information Chris gathered from just watching me ride. He worked out I wasn’t straight on the saddle after about 30 seconds of watching me ride while standing behind me. He really is interested in making the experience of riding a bike the best it can be. He spent a lot of time working on my position on the saddle and making sure it was in the right position, especially considering that was the main reason I went to see him. It was worth it, even though my arse hates me right now. I have a test saddle (brand new, mine is the first arse to sit on it) on my bike so my right site bone isn’t happy with me at all because it has to get used to doing some work.

Perhaps though it wasn’t the best idea to try out a brand new saddle on the 105km M.A.D. ride which included riding up Mt Macedon. Now, there are two ways to get up Mt Macedon. One is relatively easy, the other is quite hard. Guess which one I experienced? I’ve discovered that 13% climbs are an all-body experience for me. The next day everything hurt. Arms, back, shoulders. Still, I passed plenty of guys on the way up who were walking, even though I was only riding at 5km/h. It got the point where I was only looking about a metre in front of me and it got done to me dealing with it one pedal-stroke at a time. Looking up was crushing because the road just seemed so steep and never-ending.

There definitely wasn’t enough down on this ride. Took me 48 minutes to get up the damn mountain but there was only 13 minutes of fun on the way down! The rest of the ride felt like a bit of a slog. There was a lot of up and the down didn’t come until the last 20kms of the ride. Still, it was a fun day out.