Well I had my fitting session from Simon at Putney Cycles on Wednesday. It was a very interesting experience (and quite lengthy at nearly two hours) and I think will prove to have been very helpful, both in the short and long term.
The session is a system developed by Specialized as part of their ‘Body Geometry’ approach to their bikes and accessories and the session is complementary to that.
Quite a bit of the session involves assessing the rider before they are even on their bike, checking a wide range of flexibilities, stance, leg lengths relative to each other. It includes assessment of your feet, ankles, knees, hips, spine, neck etc, any issues with which might translate into discomfort and/or loss of performance when riding – it’s the discomfort side that I’m most keen to address of course.
Following that (and I haven’t captured anywhere near all of it) you get assessed on a bike, riding your own bike on a turbo trainer setup. Before you do that, the assessor measures and records all of the various distances/angles on the bike prior to any changes are made in the setup (you get given copies of all this information at the end of the session).
Assessment of me showed up a number of things which Simon then worked to address – by increments he raised the angle of my handlebars, lowered the seat and then changed the saddle angle (with me riding between each change). One thing I do is point my knees out a fair bit and the change in setup seemed to curb that a fair bit – it feels like there is a lot less pressure on my hands although after a discussion we agreed that it might be an idea to remove the gel from my bar tape as the combination of padded tape and padded gloves may be contributing to the ‘buzzy-hands’ numbness I mentioned in the earlier post (Shedon Brown’s site suggests this also a possible approach).
I’m also trying some inserts in my shoes to improve my foot position – I think in the long run the solution might be to change pedals to something like Look Keo ones (this will allow me to vary the position and lateral angle of my foot in a way you can’t do with SPDs) and get stiffer shoes but I’m not sure I can afford them right now – I also don’t know how long it might take me to get used to them and if that’s a good idea at this late stage.
It did feel odd riding home, as although the changes were all made incrementally, it resulted in what feels like a very different setup. I do tend to push the bigger gears and have always found it ‘easier’ to do so by having my saddle set quite high – this does result in a lower cadence, which is something I have been trying to increase (the cadence I mean).
I wasn’t sure if I was initially ‘slower’ with the new setup, it was too hard to tell. I’m going to have to go out and so some solo laps of the park to get comfier with the changes – on balance so far it feel like I’m a little less powerful on the flat but climbing a little easier.
I would recommend the session if like me, you’re trying to address an issue that your own changes of setup don’t seem to fix. I think a good person in a bike shop would be able to do a fair amount if this for you anyway (over time) but this was a comprehensive and concentrated session that looked at every aspect of me on my bike.
Thanks again to Simon and Putney Cycles.