Kelly the Culinarian: My First Bike Fitting

Sunday, March 17, 2013

My First Bike Fitting

I've needed to do this for more than a year.  The woman I bought Belle the bike from told me I should get it fitted to me, but I've just now gotten around to it.  I wanted to get my cycling shoe and cleat system cleared up first, but get this taken care of before I started training for the 70.3 Racine Half Ironman. Since I start training tomorrow, there's no time like the present.

I went to Hartley's Cycle Shoppe today for my long-awaited fitting.  I got lots of recommendations and had a tune up at this place before, which is close enough that I could stop by during lunch if I had additional questions. Plus, Harley's was the cheapest - their base tune up starts at $60, whereas most other places that use computerized systems start at $200. I weighed this for a long time, but I figured that these people have been in business and fitting people for several decades, so a computer isn't necessary.

The employees set my bike up on a trainer and asked me about my cycling experience, mileage, complaints and problems. They had me warm up while observing my form and immediately zeroed in on a few things. First, my scoliosis is a problem. They guy actually asked me if I broke my collar bone because I was so uneven. It's kind of funny because I always have a giant bruise on one side of my collar bone from CrossFit, which is the shoulder he said was visibly higher than the other. My spine has a lateral curvature, which I've been trying to overcome for a long time.

He told me what I've heard at CrossFit a million times: I need to work on my core strength. This will help me sit in the saddle with less jostling side to side. And, you know, make me look hot, too.

In the end, I spent three hours and $107 changing my seat and handlebars centimeters at a time until it fit just so. That price includes the new stem, which dropped my handlebars down to an angle that prevents me from locking my elbows. It also helps me rotate my pelvis forward, which is more aerodynamic and a little more comfortable on my delicates. They also took a bunch of measurements so they can recommend a new saddle, which I'll get more information about this week.

I peddled at home for a bit this afternoon and I think it's improved my comfort level, so it was well worth the time and money. However, I need a lot more practice clipping in and out before I take this on the open road.

Day 1 of half ironman training starts tomorrow, and I already feel like I could use more time.

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