Went in for my cyclefitting today at Cyclefit to see if getting my position right would help deal with my various problems. After a couple hours of pedalling, adjusting and measuring I came away feeling much happier about the cause of most of the problems: me.
The advice from Mark was that I need to get back into some semblance of a stretching regime as I’m ridiculously inflexible – he didn’t disagree with my opinion that I might as well be made of plywood – and that I should do this after every ride, when I’m warm and limbered up rather than from cold. I have to plead guilty to this as there’s no question that I often put off today’s stretching until tomorrow.
So it’s time to get out my mat and make a point of flexing my muscles properly. Now onto the rest of my woes…
Given that it’s my left side that has been causing the most trouble it’s no surprise that I came back with a LeWedge shim stuck between the cleat and shoe on that side. The difference in pedalling is definitely tangible as my heel doesn’t feel like it’s fishtailing through each stroke. My right foot didn’t need much doing to it, other than the cleat aligning properly over the ball of my foot.
The most noticeable change is from the custom footbeds that I had done. My feet actually feel properly supported underneath the arches and much more stable when the pressure goes down. It’s a novel sensation but not one that I feel uncomfortable with. I’m pretty sure I’ll grow to love it over the coming weeks.
Actually, the most noticeable change is at the front end where I had a 4cm plus drop to the bars. This has been reduced to 1cm which was no problem on my everyday Trek 1000 as that’s pretty much how it came in the first place. On my Giant it has meant having to foresake aesthetic pleasures in favour of flipping the stem over to give me the more neutral position.
Oddly this commonsense change felt a bit of a blow to my pride as it involves a tacit admission that I’m no pro and should stop dreaming about it. I’ve been putting off the cyclefit for ages (money the main reason) but I have to say I’d recommend it to anyone who has a niggle or wants to sort out their position on the bike.
So for me it’s stretches and building core strength up which are going to be important over the next few months. Which is cheaper than having to build up a new bike, although, while I was there I did take a peek at the Merckx aluminium frame they’ve got on sale and was severely tempted by it…
I must, and shall, resist buying another bike until at least next winter which is when I may consider building up a cyclocross bike for winter using my Trek 1000 as the place to salvage my parts from and attack to one of cyclefit’s Boxer Cross frames. I tell a lie, I may have to get an SRAM Rival groupset fitted before then, if I can get hold of one.
Still, at least I haven’t been driven to the sort of bike madness that has overtaken Richard Caseby of the Sunday Times: It’s all about the bike. Well not yet…