Friday, December 19, 2014


     I'm referring to a bike fit, of course.  Not just having the sales rep making sure a 52 or 56cm frame is what you want, but a real, professional fit, with maybe a video with light-dots or string measurements of lots of body parts.  We recently have had several discussions after our Sunday morning Bicycle Sport Shop rides regarding ill-fitting bikes and how just a millimeter or two can make a world of difference in your riding comfort and power.
     Today my friend Jim posted he had such a pro fit from Skot at BSS, and "found that I needed significant adjustment of my pedal configuration to meet my hip width and knee action. We also found that I needed to bring my seat forward 15mm."  Jim is very tall and I love hiding behind him in a headwind.  He was driven to getting a fit by having a strained (or pulled, I forget which) gluteus medius (or some such).  His post is getting a lot of responses, mainly because he is very popular, but also because 15mm is a HUGE adjustment.  For the metrically challenged, think of it as a half inch.  Many of the responses were testimonials for how great Skot is, and what a large difference he made in their riding.
     Well, I cannot give Skot a testimonial because I was fitted in 2001.  And, I wasn't fitted to my bike, I was measured and the bike built to my measurements.  I flew to Indianapolis and checked in with Vern LaMere at the National Institute for Fitness and Sport.  In the Human Performance Lab Vern took a bunch of measurements (picture Harry Potter choosing his wand; or the wand choosing the wizard), took video from the side, back, front and then sent all this to Roark (which is in Brownsburg, IN), who built the bike.

     Not wanting to "waste" a trip to Indiana, I also had Vern give me a VO2 test (submax because I didn't have a doctor's permission).  I still have the results, but cognition of what the numbers mean has gone the way of the Dodo bird.  But I had just finished cycling coast to coast a few months before, so I was still in really good shape.
      Back to getting a proper fit, other than dropping a few pounds, my body hasn't changed dimensions, so my bike still fits perfectly.  My time-trial bike is also a story of getting a great fit.  In 2009 I went to Jack and Adams for a Felt (no need to go into why I ended up there).  I spent about an hour arriving at the right size.  Then we had to order the bike, Jack not stocking the expensive B-2 frame with Dura Ace and Zipp 404 and 808 wheels.  They built it up and when it came in, Jack spent several hours getting me fitted.  Seat height came first, then he tried several different stems before he was satisfied.  He gently corrected my arm position, and thankfully liked my imitation of a flat back.  Except for Nationals (where I was 13th in the 10k, but fastest from Texas), I haven't been off the podium with my Felt.
     I may have to up my game now in order to keep behind Jim, but I'm glad he is properly fitted to his bike.

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