I used to believe that a new bike, any new bike, that appeared in my life would take me 3-6 weeks to adapt to before I felt good and comfortable on it. My reach would change from bike to bike, lever set up, bar height, etc., etc. I just got on and rode, making adjustments as I went, finally arriving at some more or less ok position. I was younger, and doing it that way was intuitive to me.
Looking back, I probably benefited from that repetitive process, because it gave me a better frame of reference for how a bike should be set up, but it’s also true that I rode through some repetitive use injuries that could have been avoided (ITB friction syndrome anybody?) and even when actual injuries didn’t develop, I was uncomfortable a lot, which meant I was slower than I could have been and probably didn’t ride as far as I might have.
The first time I rode a custom bike, one built specifically for me, it blew my mind. Straight out of the stand, when I took it around the parking lot to see how it felt, it was as if I’d been on it my whole life. Everything was right where it needed to be. It caused me to revise my basic assumptions about what it was to ride a new bike.
And the thing is, I know a LOT of people who ride bikes that don’t fit them. I mean, they think their bikes fit, but then they tell me they have back pain, or that their hands go numb. They just think that’s what happens when you ride a bike. As the art and science of bike fitting develops, hopefully we’ll move on from this place. Right now, there are a lot of shops who do “fittings,” but not a lot of fitters with real training and the requisite experience to eliminate people’s real world, physical problems.
This week’s Group Ride asks if you’ve ever had a bike fitting, if you felt it helped you to be more comfortable and/or faster, and if you have aches and pains you think could still be addressed by an experienced fitter? If you haven’t had a fitting, is it because you don’t believe you need one, or because it seems cost prohibitive?