After his crash and broken bones earlier this summer, Don Blount decided it was time to update his bike fit.
Being comfortable on the bike is important to being able to spend time on the bike. That is one of the reasons I went in recently for another bike fit. My last real fit by a certified fitter was about 18 months ago.
This time I went in to see Jon Tallerico, owner of The Bicycle Café (lodibicyclecafe.com), an eight-month old local high-end bike shop that specializes in bike, equipment, service and coffee. The shop has a few Orbea bikes on display, Sidi shoes and the ceiling is decorated with racing jerseys. I have not tried the coffee yet but I am told that it is good.
In addition to my bike, Jon told me to bring cycling shorts and a helmet. Instead of packing my car, I rode 11 miles from my home to the shop so I was warmed up when I arrived.
As Jon put my bike on the wind trainer he explained that bike geometry is built around cyclists with long arms and legs and a short torso. That in part describes me as I am 5’9” with a 35-inch sleeve length and 32-inch inseam.
A proper bike fit is akin to wearing a good pair of shoes. Just as you put on the shoes and feel your feet go “aaah,” you should settle on the bike instead of trying to get comfortable on the bike.
I got on my bike and pedaled and Jon watched and measured. He measured the bike, he measured me. I got off the bike and he made an adjustment. After several adjustments I took the bike out and rode around the block. Jon joined me and watched to see how my position looked.
In the end the changes appeared to be small in size but they were huge in effect.
- Handlebars raised 1 cm.
- Seat moved back 0.5 cm and down 1 cm.
- Cleats moved back and adjusted so my feet toe out a smidge while in the pedals so my feet, knees and legs track better.
The adjustments relieved pressure on my hands and low back and placed me more on my saddle in that “C” riding position.
I have seen and heard that we should get periodic bike fits because our bodies change over time. We can become more or less limber, more muscular or stronger.
The accidents I have had in the past year may have affected my bike fit. Jon did not say my old fit was wrong; however, my new fit is better. I took a different route home to get in an additional 17 miles and took note of how much more comfortable I was on the bike and mentally calculating the rides I would be getting in later.