Thanks to prodding from my colleagues Grant and Sadie, I got fit for my bike last week with Matt. And I’m glad I did.
Matt is a cycling coach who does fitting using a tool called Retul. It uses motion capture to figure out the best placement of your seat, bars, petals, cleats – everything really so that you have the right contact on your bike. Through the motion capture it can check a lot of bio metric measurements to make sure that you’re getting the most for your effort and not putting undue stress on your body. Given how much saddle time I have coming up, it would be foolish not to be in the right position on the bike.
Still I was a little skeptical at first because I thought I knew if it was right for me. I went in pretty sure that my seat needed to come up and my bars needed to move forward. Actually Matt suggested that I lower the seat a bit, move it forward quite a bit to get my knees over the pedals and flatten out my stroke a little. Seems I point my toes a little more than average.
The other cool thing that this software does is it gives you all the measurements on where you end up so that you can recreate it if needed. Basically it gives you a full electronic representation of your bike (including shape of the seat and hoods). That came in handy later when I accidentally lowered my seat – now I know exactly where it is supposed to go. Also I’m planning on replacing my bars so I’ll be able to know right where the new ones should go.
I highly recommend getting a proper fit. Matt made a few small adjustment (new insoles, moving a cleat to counter hip rotation, and moving the seat) that made a big difference in the feel of the bike. I feel like I’m in a lower gear all the time – it’s just plain easier to pedal.
Check out Matt’s website if you want to know more – he’ got some great videos on this and other topics. Or if you’re a total bike geek let me know and I’ll send you the full report.
Before I start out on my big trip I’m doing a lactate threshold test too (one before and one after) to see how much my fitness improves (or doesn’t) after a couple of months of 65 mile days.