Why get a bike fit?
My own cycling story begins way back when I first started cycling to school. However, once I bought my first car cycling took a back seat and my weekend sport of choice became golf. Around 4 and half years ago I came across the wonderful bike to work scheme and I decided to get back on my bike. After many weeks of research I ended up getting a road bike made from all sorts of exotic materials. Having worked in a bike shop previously I checked that everything was operating correctly I then hit the road. Many thousands of kilometres later and I look back on it as one of my smarter buying decisions.
I have read up a lot about getting setup correctly on a bike. It’s a lot more complicated that just raising the saddle up. A lot of angles come into play and a badly setup bike can even cause injuries. A quick search in YouTube for bike fit returns 241,000 results so there is no shortage of advice out there. However, this is a problem. There is so much information available and so many different ways to set up a bike it becomes confusing.
For a long time I had thought I had a good setup but I always felt I could do with getting it checked. If everything was correct then at least I could not blame the bike for not going fast enough. I contacted Padraig Marrey who runs Marrey Training Systems and he booked me in for a bike fit. If you don’t know who Padraig is, have a read of this article. Some contact info on this page although I am not sure if the email address listed works.
What is involved?
You show up with your bike, shoes and a new seat of cleats. Padraig sets your bike up on a trainer so that you can pedal on the spot. The first thing he did with me was to jack my saddle up a surprising amount. He said that it would improve my power output, especially on hills. Next came more measurements, spirit levels and plumb lines. The results were a higher saddle, handlebar angle change, saddle moved forward and cleat angle changes.
I suppose with time I could have figured some of this out but where a proper fit comes into play is with the ‘little’ things that you are doing wrong. Padraig pointed out that I grip the handlebars too tight which could result in shoulder pain, not enough bend in my elbows and that my knees were out too far when peddling. I would have never thought of this. The video below shows me in action after most changes were in place. I could have done with wearing a proper cycling top as I was getting too hot in the shirt I was wearing. He did adjust my cleats after so that I kept my knees in more.
Padraig then got me to go on a quick spin and it did not feel too unusual. I will go for a longer spin on Thursday evening and then the Mayo Pink Ribbon 166km cycle on Saturday which will be an interesting test.
Would I recommend it?
Absolutely, even if you think you have a good setup it is still worth getting it checked. Padraig will document all your angles and measurements so you will always have them. You will also learn things that are really hard to pick up from online videos and articles. Marrey Training Systems also have a range of training services on offer but for the moment I will stick to getting used to my new bike setup.