Thursday, March 28, 2013

Bike Fitting, Part 2: My Approach

In my last post I discussed the importance of a good bike fit.  Let me expand on that by stating that all cyclists can benefit from a professional bike fit for the reasons I mentioned.  At the very least, a fit can decrease a cyclist's injury risk.  Also, getting fit is imperative to eliminate any bad habits the cyclist may have learned and may be perpetuating.  That is, a good fit must come before good form.

My approach to fitting is driven by the basic principle of focusing on the rider, not the bike, coming from a perspective emphasizing basic physics, biomechanics, and physiology.  The process applies the available scientific evidence to create a rider position that will take advantage of the optimum joint angles and muscle length and tension to allow the most efficient pedal stroke.

Yeah.  Great!  What does all that mean?  I do not use some slick, high-tech device or lasers or anything like that.  I take simple measurements of the rider and the bike and create a position that has been proven effective by current research, common sense, and the application of basic principles of science, fitting the bike to the rider.

Right!  But, what do I actually do?  I will have the rider fill out a questionnaire while I look at their bike
and gear, taking preliminary measurements.  Then, the rider will warm up on a stationary trainer while I confirm information from the questionnaire, possibly asking further questions, and begin a preliminary observation of their pedal stroke.  I will also record video of their pedaling for later viewing and analysis with respect to fit and efficiency.  We will review the video together and I will also take post-fit video for comparison, giving instruction for improvement as necessary.  Next, the actual fit begins.  I start with the shoe and cleat moving up to the saddle--the "power plant."  Once this is set, I move on to the "cockpit," the upper body and its relation to the handlebar.  That's the gist of the fit.  However, new parts may be necessary, thus postponing the completion of the fit.  This is the expected norm; most fits will be completed over two sessions.

Special thanks to Jeff and Jacqui Lockwood of Life Sport Inc. of Chandler, Arizona for your tutelage. 

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