I have a confession to make. Despite having cycled my entire life, usually averaging 200 - 300km a week, I've never had a proper bike fit! I've always been one of those riders who smirks at Jonny Club-Rider as he explains (in detail) the benefit of a fit, thinking I know better; that watching youtube videos and adjusting parts myself is just as good. Why would I want to spend £250 on a fit when I can just adjust a bit here and there depending on how the bike (and my body) feels. Can't make that much difference, can it?
The truth is I'm not the best at listening to my body. For a while now I've been trying to ignore achey knees and pins and needles in my hands, putting it down to the relatively high mileage I'm doing every week. Surely, I thought, I just need to do a bit more warming up and stretching and I'll be able to work out those aches and pains? However, during Ride London last weekend, the pain in my left knee became pretty much unbearable! Every peddle stroke was agony and I had to back off until the pain had subsided, thereby dashing my chances of hitting my target time.
The nagging in my knee was almost as bad as the nagging in my brain; 'should've got that bike fit' I kept saying to myself. Would it have made a difference? Would it have meant that I would've been able to push hard without pain? It's hard to say, but I certainly wish I'd at least tried to find out.
A few days after Ride London I checked my event photos from the day and they all pretty much looked the same. Arms locked completely straight, back completely upright and shoulders hunched over; head right down trying to ease an aching neck. This, I thought to myself, is not how Peter Sagan looks on his bike. I thought back to all of the people who've commented on my body position, many of whom are very experienced cyclists, and wondered why I never listened to them before? Probably because they always ended their commentary with 'you really need to get a bike fit.' I have now resigned myself to the fact that they might just be right!
To be honest the cost of a bike fit has also been a barrier in the past. £250 always seemed like an awful lot to shell out for someone to adjust your saddle height! Or at least this is how it has always seemed, but I guess it's this sort of thinking that has left me with achey knees! When you stop to work out the actual cost based on the length of time you own the bike, it doesn't look that bad. What's £200* if I'm cycling 300km a week and I keep hold of the bike for 2 years? Quick maths will tell you that it works out at 0.6 pence per KM! On paper that seems like a much better investment than those new wheels I've been eyeing up. After all, what use is shaving 100 grams of weight if my knees are shot to bits!
So I've taken the plunge and booked a fit. After some research (there are quite a few options now) and a personal recommendation from Mason (club member, ride leader and all round good guy) I got in touch with Super Domestique in Shoreditch. They are the bike fitters of choice for the One Pro Cycling Team (pic above), so if it's good enough for them, I'm sure it'll be fine for me! They were incredibly helpful and managed to book me in for the following week. After a useful email exchange, where they allayed my fears of having to buy a new frame and loads of expensive parts, I am really looking forward to the fit.
So check back on Wednesday when I will post blog number 2 of the Bike Fit Series; how the actual fit went, what I learnt during the process and just exactly what Orthotics are!
*As Super Domestique have come on board as our official bike fit partner, DW members now get 15% off bike fit labour and orthotics, 20% off workshop labour and 10% off any parts. Check out our Club Membership HERE