Caroline’s Bike Fit

Continuing on from our bike fitting blog from a few weeks ago, let me share my experience of having a bike fit done. As I mentioned in the previous blog, I had purchased a turbo-trainer so had been cycling much more frequently indoors at home, as well as starting to venture outside again in the nice weather, and this increased frequency had brought to light some issues I had whilst riding. The main issues I was struggling with were pretty bad saddle discomfort, numbness in my big toes which came on after 20 minutes or so of riding, along with too much pressure into my wrists while riding. I finally decided to bite the bullet and go down to Sigma Sport in Kingston to have a professional bike fit done.

My bike fit was being done by Lucy and James from Sigma Sport. It started off with an interview with Lucy – asking me about what I’m currently riding, how many miles per week over how many hours, the type of riding I do, where I feel discomfort or pain whilst riding, and what my goals are for the future in terms of cycling. She then progressed to my previous injuries/medical conditions, along with any other sports I currently do or have done in the past. She went into detail as to how aspects of my bike’s current setup could cause pain or discomfort. Once this was all done, she began to do a physical examination. This consisted of observing my posture, checking my height, shoulder width, foot size and width, measuring my inseam and also checking the range of motion of my ankles, knees, hips and low back. They were also looking for any underlying issues that may require treatment or rehabilitation, such as pelvic rotation and muscle imbalances or weakness.

purely-custom-fit-bikeThe adjustable Jig at Sigma Sport

Next, it was time to get on the jig. At Sigma Sport, they have a fully adjustable jig which was initially setup the same as my current fit. I jumped on and started pedalling. It wasn’t long before I began experiencing the usual saddle discomfort that I experience, and I could see on the screen where I was placing most of my pressure, thanks to their pressure mapping technology. I was overwhelmingly leaning to the front right area of the saddle, and true enough that’s where I was feeling most of the discomfort. Then they used the Dartfish Video Analysis which analysed my dynamics while I was on the bike. I could see that my left hip was dropping lower than my right while pedalling. James and Lucy were very aware that hip dropping can be caused by numerous factors, such as pelvic rotation or a leg length difference, and I was impressed at their knowledge of when they would recommend treatment to a client, be it chiropractic, massage or rehabilitation.

IMG_5092During the bike fit

Now began the adjustments. Since the saddle was my main issue, we tried a few different saddles. We eventually settled on a Selle SMP Well Saddle, which given the cutaway and dropped nose, it was so much more comfortable to sit on, but not quite 100%. Another quick look at the pressure map showed that I was much more even on the saddle, but still placing slightly more weight on the right. To address this, we then looked at my dynamics, and tried to sort out the dropped hip on the left. The physical examination revealed that I have a longer right leg, so by placing a spacer in my left cleat, it brought me into balance. Another quick look at the video analysis showed that I was back to neutral, with my pelvis staying relatively still while riding rather than the left hip dropping, and again, the pressure mapping had further improved. This also made it easier for me to get down to use the drops, as rocking my pelvis forward was a lot more comfortable with the new saddle and hip drop corrected.

SaddleSaddle pressure mapping

One problem I was still having was where I was placing my hands. Instinctively, I was reaching for the tops rather than the hoods. Holding the hoods didn’t feel as comfortable as it should have, and I couldn’t quite put my finger on why. James thought he would play around with the handle bars, as his expertise concluded that my reach wasn’t quite right. He gave me a slightly narrower handlebar which turned out to be perfect, and it was then much easier to reach the hoods. A few other tweaks such as saddle height, handlebar reach, orthotics and cleat position were altered before everything felt pretty comfortable.

Next, these changes were transferred to my current bike. I hopped onto the rollers for a few minutes to see how it felt and the change was just incredible. I instinctively reached for the hoods now, and felt no discomfort whatsoever. I couldn’t believe it! So I left the shop with new handlebars, a new saddle and some orthotics and I was pretty excited to get home and try out my new fit. Since having it done at the beginning of March, riding has been much more comfortable, both indoors and outdoors. I can ride for longer, I feel much more comfortable on descents, I’m much more energy-efficient and the discomfort has pretty much gone. I would 100% recommend to anyone who does any level of cycling to have a professional fit done, especially if riding is giving you any problems. It’s definitely a worthwhile investment if you plan to continue cycling. You’d be amazed at the difference!

 

If your issues remain even following a fit, or if your fitter recommends treatment to aid your riding, then call us on 020 7374 2272 to make an appointment with a chiropractor, massage or sports therapist, or book online here.

 

Caroline