252 Upper Richmond Road
When I got my first road bike I didn’t get a bike fit. I thought I wasn’t a good enough cyclist at this point to really benefit from one. I’ve since realised that is entirely the wrong way of looking at it. When I started out, I had no idea how a bike should feel to ride and how comfortable it should be. I think I started with the assumption that it should be relatively uncomfortable after you are in the saddle for a couple of hours, so that meant for about a year, I was pretty uncomfortable when I was riding and with hindsight, I needn’t have been.
A year on, I had my first Retül bike fit and realised what a difference some really quite small but customised changes to my bike set-up can make. After a full assessment of my cycling background and a test of my levels of flexibility (pretty non-existent), changes were made to my bike position, saddle and handle bar height. I was videoed pedalling and after this my cleat position adjusted and further small amendments made to try and improve my fit to my bike in terms of both comfort and cycling efficiency.
Some people can feel the differences in comfort immediately, but it’s undoubtedly hard during a bike fit to feel what difference the set up could make in performance but this is a key benefit derived from a bike fit. I have improved a lot as a cyclist since I started riding. I’ve worked on my fitness, put in more hours on the bike and increased my strength and endurance. I can’t say exactly how much having the right bike fit has contributed, but it has certainly helped me improve my performance.
For people who may have been riding for a long time with a sub-optimal bike set up, the new position established during a bike fit could take a while to adapt to and it may take time before it becomes a natural fit. Ultimately the third and key benefit beyond comfort and efficiency is injury prevention and the right fit is essential here as riding for too long on a poorly fitting bike and you could be setting yourself up for pain and unnecessary injuries.
Another thing I’ve realised now that I had my bike fit about 18 months ago is that I could certainly benefit from getting a bike refit. My body has definitely adapted to my bike and I think my flexibility has changed and probably not in the right direction as I’m feeling a long ride more in my shoulders than I used to, so time for some more strength exercises and a refit, I think. To properly optimise performance, it’s actually recommended that cyclists have bike fits every 12 months.
Full details on all the bike fits that Velosport offers are outlined here: http://www.velosport.uk/bike-fitting/
Blog post written by Liz Pepper, 16th June 2017.