Does Your Bike Fit?

By Kristen Gross (Team Ninja)

I mean really fit.

Because let me tell you, there’s a lot more to it than a couple measurements and turns of the allen keys.

I haven’t had a fit in a few years, and with a nagging pain in my left knee I thought it would be best to call in the pros. After listening to Aaron passionately discuss saddle heights and pedal mechanics at the weekly Fiesta Island workouts, I picked up the phone.

We set up an appointment and down the rabbit hole I went. Here’s what you need to know if a fit is in your future:IMG_3746

  • Aaron suggested wearing a good cycling kit. Do this. Here’s why:
    • Before you even get on the bike, Aaron spends about an hour with you testing your strength, flexibility and skeletal structure — best to be comfortable while you’re doing one-legged squats and hip bridges
    • Your seat height is about to get dialled — even a couple millimetres difference from your favorite chamois to the one you wore out and should have thrown away ten rides ago can make a difference.
    • You’re going to be riding. I don’t mean spinning, I mean he’ll say, let’s see you at “RPE 6.”
    • This is pretty much the worst time to forget your cycling shoes.
  • If you have two bikes, bring both.
    • Although I’m a mtb racer and lover, I do spend a lot of time on my road bike — having them both set up at the same time just makes sense.
    • But if you can only bring one, make it your road bike. We sit in one position a lot more frequently on our road bikes so better make it a good one.
    • If you bring two bikes, bring both sets of shoes!
  • LASERS!!
    • In case you’re worried about how *exact* Aaron is, you should know he uses lasers and he’s not satisfied until your knee is tracking with laser-accuracy.
  • New Stuff
    • If you have new pedals, or a new bar or stem, get it on the bike before you come to the fit — you won’t want to be messing with things afterwards
    • Similarly, be prepared to take down a list in case you need to pick up a new stem or pedals or handlebar. E.g. did you know that pedals have a widely varying range of spindle lengths?! It’s the number-one suspect for my knee problem!
  • There’s more to fit than fit ….
    • I had no idea but this whole time, I was pedalling in a way that wasted a bunch of power
    • Aaron showed me how to maximize my strengths and get 100% out of every pedal stroke
    • We practiced on the trainer, and we practiced on the road too …. which brings me to:
  • Bring your helmet!
    • I didn’t bring one since I naively thought I’d be sitting on a trainer all afternoon. Hopefully this post will help you not make the same mistake.

So in sum, going to an appointment for your bike fit is a fun-filled afternoon of medium sweating, moving around, riding indoors and out. Be prepared. For example, I was all of a sudden wishing I’d waited to do my intervals AFTER the appointment because even the small amount of soreness I was carrying was distracting when Aaron asked me how things were feeling. I wanted to be able to better isolate what was a problem, and what just needed a little stretching.

In the days since, I’ve been working on that proper pedalling and body position Aaron taught me. Things are settling in, I’m starting to feel pretty darn good, and Aaron has already texted me twice to check in with how things are going. You see, I also learned a proper fit is not a one time thing. It takes a little tweaking and 2013-10-01 08.21.51 amrefining to get truly dialled in. I have really appreciated Aaron’s attentiveness, dedication and his clearly-demonstrated love of what he does and how he helps his clients.

You can find out more about Aaron and Inner Strength Fitt Lab Training Systems here. I highly recommend it!

About Ninja Skills Guru

The Guru’s #1 passion is taking bike skills and breaking them down into tangible, progressive steps. Is there a skill you just can’t master? A maneuver you don’t understand? A fear you can’t seem to get past? Turn to the Guru! The Ninja Skills Guru has spent years riding bikes and carefully breaking down riding skills into easy digestible steps so you can tackle the trail with confidence. Yup, the guru is that friend who doesn’t talk about anything but bikes!

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