Bike Fitting

About two hours into a ride, my feet went numb and my shoulders ached. I recently switched the pedals on my bike with clip in mountain bike shoes and installed aero bars. I raised my seat a little and adjusted my brakes. Although I have a basic understanding of bike mechanics, I have no idea how I look on the bike as I ride or what I need to do to alleviate shoulder pain or foot numbness. And that’s where a good bike fitting is highly recommended.

I made an appointment for a bike fitting with Human Zoom in Ardmore, PA after I picked up my bike from a general preseason tune-up. The people who work here ride a lot and some are coaches brimming with information. I told them about all of the recent changes to the bike and the issues I was having. They said that they could fix that.

Two weeks later, I arrive at the appointment in biking gear with Bia, my bike, at my side. Bia’s back tire was popped into the trainer, and I started to ride, stopping for measurements often. Stickers were placed on my foot, ankle, knee, and hip as well as the gear shaft and tire to make filming and calculating measurements easier. Everything was taken into account: center of gravity over the bike, leg extension, arm reach on the handlebars and in the aero position, and back extension. Small adjustments were made to the pedals, the seat, the aero bars. The stem holding my handlebars in place was removed and replaced with a shorter one. After all of these changes were made, I rode my bike for 10-20 minutes at a time to see if other things required tweaking.

All of this took over two hours. And in those hours, I learned all the ways my bike can be personalized for my body to use it most effectively. I learned that the ram horn handlebars allow for more stability and maximum braking power when going fast downhill. I learned about the differences between road shoes and mountain bike shoes, about how each shoe affects your feet, and about how a road bike is better for hills over a tri bike. Even if I ever invest in a tri bike, I’m keeping my road bike for most of my training and for hills. In the mean time, my road bike is now tri ready.

With all of the adjustments to Bia, my arms and elbows rest closer to my body on the aero bars, and my back is more rounded and relaxed in the aero position. I love my road shoes over the mountain bike shoes because my feet have more room in the toe box and float above the pedals, which means my feet no longer go numb. I’m getting used to the new shoes and trying not to slip with the large clip under my toes, but that’s a minor adjustment.

If you ever get a bike fitting, they cost around $200, depending on the shop, but the experience you get and what you learn about your bike and how you ride is far more valuable. To me, it was like a two hour college class focused on the bike.

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