We all want to be comfortable on our bikes.
My job is to change the alignment of your bicycle to help your body feel like it is easy to relax and give the bike the most in return. For most of us change does not come easy. Frequently, bicycle fitting is about educating my clients to help them understand how to use their body the best way, as much as it is about making mechanical adjustments to their bikes.
Case Study 1: A New Bike
As a bike fitter, it is always an amazing challenge for me to see potential and then try to communicate in a way that lets the client take the lead.
I met this wonderful man with his new bike. He was so excited to be riding his bike to work 16 miles each way, and he had a joy in his description of his adventure riding to work every day. His new green bike allowed him to sit up and look around and he described it as very fun, but he had some challenges that he wanted to solve: knee pain, hand pain, and tight neck and shoulders.
After doing a complete interview and getting an idea of his goals, I completed a Physical Assessment and a Standing Observation to see how his body moved and what limitations that he had. Unfortunately, his new green bike was too small for us to be able to adjust it to accommodate his body in the correct position.
What to do next?
I used my adjustable fit bike to build an ideal position for him. I sent him to the bike shop with the measurements from the fit bike, to trade in his green bike and get a bike that would allow us to fit him correctly. We then fitted the new bike with the correct position for his body, and I sent him on his way, telling him to let me know how it was working after he had done at least 5 rides.
Two months later he related that he had taken 18 minutes off his commute time!
He was very excited and I was glad to share in his progress. After about 3 months he emailed me and said he was ready to get some cycling shoes. He came in and we set up a pair of Lake road shoes that have a very stiff sole and transfer your energy to the pedals very directly. We also reviewed his current position and made some additional adjustments to his handlebars.
My next contact with him was to hear that he had taken another 12 minutes off his commute time and was really enjoying his bike.
Case Study 2: Body Alignment
This client came to me with hand pressure, arm pain, and butt pain, and very little power to the pedals. You would think that if you have hand pain that to sit up and take your weight off your hands would help, but that’s not necessarily true. Our muscles are connected to our bones in a certain way, which creates a predictable action of movement. We can use that knowledge to help spread the strain of riding through the body, resulting in a much more comfortable ride.
We began with some biomechanical exercises to help her understand how her body really works and why her old position was causing problems. Next we moved the handlebars and stem of the bike to allow her to align her body more efficiently.