Wednesday, May 27, 2009

A "Good" bike fit is a "Great" Investment

Have you finally found a bike that you have totally fallen in love with, however you just can't seem to get comfortable on and the more you ride it the more the "new bike bounce" wears off? Or perhaps you realize that of your "old" favorite. One thing I always encourage people to do is to consider a bike "fit" or "re-fit" to ensure comfort on the bike and that you have the opportunity to enjoy a growing recreational past-time with family, friends or on your own. A bike "fit" or "re-fit" is a "valuable" investment when you just can't comfortable and are considering hanging up your wheels for good. A bike fit would also be recommended when you are:
  • investing in a brand new bike
  • moving from a recreational rider to a more competitive rider
  • looking for a more aggressive or aero dynamic position
  • dusting off an old bike for the new season
  • investing in new bike parts to enhance your riding performance or comfort on the bike e.g. aero bars, saddle etc
  • just getting older and not as flexible as you used to be
  • dealing with a chronic/recurring injury that is not relieved with regular massage, physiotherapy or other therapy the like
As a matter of fact as recently as this morning, I went to visit my trusty friend JP for a bike "re-fit". Despite the number of years I have been riding and racing, I find myself needing a bike "re-fit" for some of the reasons I have listed above. Most recently, I have been working with my physiotherapist, massage therapist and chiropractor to manage some chronic pain in my leg, however was falling short in diagnosing the cause. After a great deal of treatment to calm the pain, and a commitment to myself to "take stock" I was able to determine the following:
  • during my winter training I never experienced the same pain
  • I could ride high cadence /low wattage forever with no pain
  • I suffered from pain in my adductor at the same time in my training cycle every season i.e. about 4-6 weeks into my build phase. Essentially when I started to include or increase my training for power on the bike
  • I did not have any adductor pain during my run interval training during training in the winter months
  • the wear on my shorts was only on one side which gave me the insight that I must be leaning/or favouring one leg

Key things that assisted me in diagnosing the problem and would encourage you to "take stock" of if you are considering a bike "fit" or "re-fit" prior to making an appointment include:

  • listen more closely to your body
  • try sitting in different positions on your saddle i.e. move forward or backward-how does each position feel
  • write down what you are experiencing, etc. each time you ride e.g. how hard were you working during your ride, was it windy, were you riding flats or hills, what was the most comfortable/uncomfortable. These are all valuable pieces of information and will help ensure a "good" fit.
  • determine what is most important to you i.e. comfort, speed, aero dynamics etc.
  • have you ever been assessed by a chiropractor or the like that has determined that you have leg length discrepancy or other imbalances?
  • how flexible are you in general?
I assure you time spent in "taking stock" and in a "good" bike fit will mean more happy days on your bike on the road, on the trails, in the bush or at the races - and less time on the doctors table.

Thanks for the fix J.P !

Happy healthy training


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