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Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Bike Fit

As a road cyclist I often find myself  getting ill whilst out on the road.
It usually comes when I am exposed to the presence of other bikes - especially new ones.
My symptoms are quite bizarre - blood drains from my body and I feel irritable.
I have even been described as looking so sick I'm almost 'green' in appearance.
Naturally I researched this extensively before booing an appointment to see my Dr - a keen cyclist himself.

After all the 'usual' examination procedures such as having to jump up and down like a rabbit and stretching to see if I could put my big toe in my mouth. The Dr said 'Enough!!!!!'

When I took what I perceived to be a prescription to the pharmacist I was expecting some new wonder drug. I was actually looking forward to sitting down and reading the list of side effects and let them run through my mind.
Headaches, nausea, tiredness, hot flushes and in extreme cases death. That one always made me smile.
I had previously tried to share my humour with the white coated pill pusher but he was having none of it.
After he took my note I could see a frown appear across his forehead where upon he looked at the reverse of the sheet.
Stony faced he handed the sheet back to me and directed me to the local newsagent.

It was the only time that I could actually read my Dr's note. The words were very clear. 'I prescribe the May addition of cycling monthly'  you have an acute case of bike envy.

With those quite clear instructions, I spent more time than usual in my haunt where I read cycling magazines.
As i turned over the pages things were getting worse. It was like being an alcoholic and reading a 'brew your own' manual.
All the apparent cures were  like Botox - They would make me feel and look great and surely make me feel better -  but I could not afford them.

What made things was worse was that the cyclists in the magazine all looked great too.
They pedalled up the pages with the poise of a ballerina, turning their pedals with the ease of an electric tin opener.
I sulked for days and was losing interest in my bike at the same rate that it was losing interest in me.

Just as I was losing the will to rotate my pedals one of my fellow Mules told me about getting a bike fit.
Not of getting measured up for a new bike to push me over the edge - but getting his old bike to fit him like a glove.
His evaluation was that it was amazing. He felt like he had a new bike !!!!!!!!
Well this was music to my ears so I booked an appointment with Darren Smith at Ken Ellerker Cycles on Chanterlands Avenue in Hull..
So on a rainy Wednesday morning I attended with my bike and two pairs of road shoes all of which were seized from me. After a preliminary Interview about my cycling goals and history and physical capabilities the real action started.
Just about every part of my bike and myself were measured.  That's right we were in it together.
I was photographed, filmed, prodded and manipulated.
At one point i thought that Darth Vader had entered the room as the laser appeared across my legs.
Darren reassured me that he was looking at my leg movements.
In fact all the time that work was going on  Darren was talking me through it.
I thought that I knew quite a lot about the physiology of cycling but it was a fraction of what Darren imparted in just a few hours. I felt that I learned so much that I would have paid for just the chat alone.

Any way Five hours later.......yes five.
Everything on my bike had changed.
My seat was higher and further forward and my stem shorter. 
I had changed from Keo Look to speedplay cleats and my horizontal leg movement had been drastically reduced.
For an introductory cost of £100 I felt that I had a deal of a lifetime.
For me I really felt that I have got a new bike and that I had found a new cyclist within myself.
Do I recommend it? Well for everybody who lives outside East Yorkshire DO IT - you will be amazed at the difference.My average speed has increased by 1.5mph !!!!!!
For those of you who cycle the same routes as me you really need to consider my condition so don't bother.
My bike envy has now gone, by getting a bike fit you may just bring it back.
For those who are interested Ken Ellerkers Tel Number is 01482 446341 and Darren will be happy to advise you.
Happy Cycling


  1. I bought my Trek through Project One and I loved it! But, I don't think that was anywhere near as thorough as your fitting. Now I'm a little green. ;)

  2. Very interesting, I sometimes go on group rides but nothing sportif. I have noticed with my Bicycle Saddles which are Brooks B 17 on the Dawes Audax and the B 17 Flyer with springs on the Surly LHT Tourer and the Brompton Foldy that they wear more on the left side. You can see this because they are Leather and not Gel Saddles. Which suggests one leg is more stronger than the other or I use more force.

    Did he advise you on anything or
    point out what you were doing wrong. I wont be getting anymore Bikes for the forseeable future. I just love the ones I have they are classic Bikes in Steel. I would like an old Raleigh or Hercules from the 1950ties ,that is about what I would get if I seen a nice one in good condition.

  3. Great post, very interesting to read your views on bike fitting. I recently started riding myself, but for one reason or another *money* I bought from an internet retailer without trying the bike, a risky strategy, but it's worked for me.

    I also live in East Yorkshire and I'm training for the Big G, have a read of my blog as some of my routes will be similar to those that you may ride, it may even raise a smile as I'm a terrible bike rider!


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