Monday, May 21, 2007

A Bike Fit For an Alison!

I finally made it in to see Larry Zimich for a bike fit on Saturday. He's a pro cyclist (a roadie, but we'll forgive him as he's a nice guy) who does bike fits on the side. He's fit at least four people in our club so far, sentences starting with "Larry said ..." are frequently heard at our workouts.

I wasn't quite sure what to expect, the last pro athletes I'd known were ex-NHL'ers I'd worked with who were nice guys but, um, what's a polite way of saying very crude? Ah, never mind.

Larry turned out to be a great guy, very personable and put me at my ease right away. We started with how I felt on my bike and any injuries, aches, pains, etc. I was feeling starting at the toes and working up from there (I went from numb toes to achy knees and got in trouble - we had to go back to ankles [tight achilles]). From there I got on the bike and did some pedalling so he could see what was going on.

The whole process was quite interesting, especially as there were some things that were very wrong with my bike set up. My seat was 13mm too low (for every 1mm in the first 10mm that your seat is too low you lose 10% efficiency. After 10mm you lose even more) so that was the first change. My seat is also old and nearing the end of it's life - it was bent to the left and Larry redjusted it but if it bends again I'll need to replace it. My handlebars were too high so Larry reversed the stem, which made my handlebars too far away so I had to replace that. Having the stem parallel to the ground, as opposed to angled up like it was, will supposedly make the bike handle better. My cleats needed adjusting (they also needed installation as I didn't have time to put them on my shoes). My tribars, which I've never liked, were pronounced unfit for me and had to go. The handlebars themselves were also too wide, which I expected. Having to replace the 40cm handlebars with 36cm ones was unexpected. No one stocks 36cm handlebars so that will take some time to replace.

I can away with my head full of way more info than I could fully absorb and some homework:

  1. replace my 110mm stem with a 90mm one
  2. replace my 40cm handlebars with 36cm ones
  3. get new tribars, preferably S-Bend

I managed two out of three on the weekend, West Point had the stem in stock but not the handlebars. Pacific Multisport had what I though were right tribars but I put them on myself and they don't seem to be narrow enough. I'm hoping the problem with the tribars is my installation but I have a feeling the quest for the perfect tribars is going to take a long time!

My bike now looks faster, I can't wait to get on it tonight and take it for a spin.

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