A bicycle should conform to you and never the other way around.
When you’re experiencing pain while cycling, there’s a reasonable chance that it’s because you’re the one doing the conforming, rather than your bike fitting you properly. For most riders, cycling is an activity that gets performed at least a few hours a week. For the real pedal-happy among us, it’s much more.
When you’re spending that much time with a machine, the subtle adjustments really start to matter. A saddle placed just slightly too high or too low can cause increasingly more uncomfortable back pain. The pedals you use can make a surprisingly substantial difference in comfort and performance.
Aches, pains, numbness, or muscle discomfort including spasms can all sometimes be attributed to an improper bicycle fit. A professional bike fitting service like the ones we offer here at Rocky Mountain Multisport offer comprehensive solutions to these problems and more—when you’re done, you’ll understand way more than you thought possible about your bike and your body.
More on that in a moment, but first, let’s do a little myth busting:
Are Custom Bike Fittings Just for Experts?
And that’s really, really not something sporting shops like our say just because we want to sell you a service or a product—a custom bike fitting is an important investment for cyclists of all skill levels, whether you’re a hobbyist or you want to go pro.
One could even argue that a fitting is even more important for a beginner, because when you’re just starting out you have less of an idea of how your bicycle should feel and what the optimal comfort level for your body and the machine really is. It’s only later, likely after at least several years of experience, that you can truly detect the more subtle elements of what makes a bicycle feel “just right.”
Furthermore, bicycle fittings aren’t just about the bike itself; they’re just as much about your body as well.
Fittings are About More Than Just the Bicycle
While the primary objective of a bike fitting is, of course, to fit the bike to your body, a professional fitter will also help you learn more about your body and what you can do to improve comfort and performance.
For example, your flexibility will be evaluated along with your general skeletal structure, and the fitter will discuss any previous injuries or physical limitations with you. This helps to build a profile about how your body works and how that translates to the position you’re best suited to take on the bicycle.
What Happens During a Bicycle Fitting Appointment
In addition to what we’ve already discussed, a fitter will make suggestions on how to adjust your bicycle. Everything is up to you—nothing gets changed without your express permission. If necessary, the fitter may suggest replacement parts for your bicycle based on your body profile (e.g., a different style of saddle or pedals).
Something to look out for are fitters who hit you with a sales pitch right off the bat. If for some reason you can’t make it to Rocky Mountain Multisport, be aware of fitters who want to sell you a new bicycle from the start. It helps to remember that a bicycle fitting service is intended to fit you to your bicycle, not necessarily to sell you a new one.
Instead, a fitter should always make helpful suggestions. In some cases that may involve new parts or, yes, even a new bicycle, but the time spent during a bicycle fitting appointment should be all about how to get the most out of what you already have.
The suggestions made by an honest fitter should always come along with an explanation. For example, if a new part is suggested, the fitter should be able to explain in detail about why that part will benefit your bicycle and/or your body and riding style.
And if you do decide that you need a new bike, whether it’s your first or your tenth, make sure to give our 2019 bicycle buying guide a read.
After your bike fitting service, you should walk away with a deeper understanding of how your bicycle works in relation to your body and what you may need to work on or adjust in order to improve your overall riding experience and performance.
Your Bicycle is an Extension of Your Body
Cycling shouldn’t be a painful activity. When riding, even as a relative beginner or intermediate cyclist, your bicycle should feel like an extension of your body. Cycling offers a tremendous amount of benefits, even as a hobby. For more information and a little inspiration, make sure to check out our post Why You Should “Try a Tri” in 2019: Pro Advice for Conquering Your First Triathlon. But the first step is to make sure that your bike fits you just right.
If you’re feeling like you have to make concessions or adjust yourself to fit your bicycle, that’s a strong sign that you should come visit us for a bicycle fitting service.
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us. Otherwise, come and visit us inside of Runners Roost at the Square shopping center in Fort Collins. We look forward to helping you get to know your bicycle better!