Why Bother With a Bike Fitting?

That’s what I was asking myself. After owning my bike for almost four years I decided to make an appointment for a bike fitting at my local bike store (LBS.) Why? Mostly because I wanted to make sure that I was getting the most out of my bike and being the most efficient cyclist I can be.

We talk a lot about running mechanics – how high to pick your feet up, the importance of quick turnover and arm swing, but even though cycling is working with an actual machine I think we spend much less time on how the mechanics work there.

I spent some time the night before taking a break from my house-painting frenzy to clean my bike up from all the bug guts it’s accumulated riding behind my car. The next day I brought all the things I normally wear and use to my bike fitting. Since I didn’t have my household goods yet, it was pretty basic with just my cycling shoes and my bike shorts.

The technician, Brad, measured my inseam and my arm span and a few other areas. From there it was a blend of science and art. Science told him the most efficient angles for my legs to be at while pedaling, but it was my own comfort level that dictated a lot of it.

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My bars used to be at the top of that stack, now they’re almost at the bottom

From years of riding cheap mountain bikes, I had my handlebars set really high on the stem. Lowering that never even crossed my mind, but when Brad did it made such a big difference right away. He raised my seat a little bit and adjusted a few more things as well.

I can really feel the difference while riding, too. Before I would get some lower back pain after six miles or so and my hands would start going numb. Now it’s much more comfortable and easier to change positions and I even feel more in control of the bike and willing to get down into the drops.

For under $100, it was well worth the expense. I would recommend it for anyone looking to maximize efficiency while cycling or even if someone has an injury that limits them. Brad told me a woman had come in with two spinal vertebrae that were fused. Yeah, that would probably affect how you ride.