Surviving a Bike Fit

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A bike fit: the only time where someone can tell you that you have mismatched legs, weird feet, too broad shoulders, and a weird head (ok, that one was when I was looking at helmets), and you still say thank you at the end.  And you mean it.

Bike fitters are best when they’re being brutally honest, and pushing you to see what you’re capable of.  Blake Bedoya, one of the amazing fitters at Signature Cycles in Manhattan, helped me fit my road bike- a Cannondale Super Series Six- for me last week.  You can bet I’ll be going back with my ‘cross bikes the second they’re built up!  (I’ll be co-writing a piece and doing a video with Blake on the importance of CX bike fit for Cyclocross Magazine, so keep yours eyes peeled for it!)

Things I learned:

  • I need to stop pedaling at 40 rpm when “spinning” and move it up to 80-90
  • My left leg is more flexible than the right, but the right is dominant
  • Left leg is probably a teensy bit shorter than the right (yipes)
  • Shoes desperately needed new cleats
  • I need to keep my foot/leg perpendicular when I pedal for maximum efficiency
  • My legs are pretty evenly matched, power-wise
  • When I spin casually, I put out 160 watts without effort
  • I need to relax my shoulders and back so I’m not so hunched over when I pedal
  • Replaced handlebars so my hands won’t go numb when I ride

Results:

  • Bought a cyclometer that measures cadence and has a rear wheel sensor so I can ride the trainer and practice 80 rpm cadence.
  • Focus on body position when riding: relaxing shoulders and back, and focusing on angle of feet
  • New helmet actually fits my head (Catlike- so good!)

I cannot stress enough how important proper bike fit is.  Even minor changes can take stress off of weak areas that are slowly being injured because of something like cleats being a few degrees off.  So, if you’re interested in being able to put out maximum watts come Fall, consider getting fitted now, early enough in the season so you have time to adjust to changes.

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