Fit Makes the Difference

Bobby Ketchum | Wednesday, 10 February 2016

Guest blog by Libby Hurley
Pushbikes/Giant Ambassador

In November of last year, I got a brand new Liv Envie Advanced 1 road bike and a Giant XTC Advanced 29er 1 Mountain bike from Pushbikes. Both bikes are brilliant! They have both definitely enhanced my enjoyment and performance while out riding. Although, neither of my bikes felt quite right, my road bike especially. It felt like I was hunched over the handle bars, my feet kept getting tingly before going numb on long rides and my lower back was super stiff every time I got off my bike.

Whenever I went on bunch rides, someone would always mention to me something to the affect of, “Libby your hips are rocking, your seat is too high." Not knowing what height to reposition my seat to, I just left it and eventually I got used to it. I found myself pedalling with my toes tipped towards to the ground, this motion seemed to be heavily engaging my calf muscles and letting my quads get away with doing very little work.

If something is to "fit" it is to be the right size, to be suitable and appropriate, or to join together to make a whole. A bike fit ensures the basis of these things.

Having ridden my new bikes for a couple of months with niggling aches and pains, I decided to book in with Richard at Pushbikes for a bike fit. To start, Richard checked the positioning of my cleats on my shoes. Your cleat should be positioned in the middle of the ball of your foot – mine were positioned completely wrong. I had no idea there was even a method of fitting the cleats when I screwed them into the bottom of my shoe months ago. After having adjusted my cleats Richard got me pedalling on the indoor trainer to examine my current set up. He checked the full extension length of my leg whilst at the bottom of a pedal rotation. Within a short time he could tell there were multiple angles, heights & distances between components that needed changing to suit me.

Soon my seat had been lowered and tilted to the right angle. It instantly felt so much better! It felt like I was actually using my whole leg to get the power when pedaling, instead of inefficiently pointing my toes to the floor and not engaging my quads properly.   

Richard also checked the positioning of my elbow in relation to my knee while pedaling and my body positioning when I went down into the drops. He came to the conclusion that I needed a longer stem. He was correct, because as soon as we changed the stem I didn’t feel so hunched over and jammed between my handle bars and my seat.

He made multiple other tweaks and changes and noted all of the measurements down, in order to set up my mountain bike correctly too. Richard then transferred the dimensions to my mountain bike and made a few additional changes. My mountain bike feels much more efficient and comfortable as well, I can now power up hills much faster than before having my bike fit.

The alterations listed above sound like minor changes, but they have made all the difference in my comfort, power and efficiency on the bike. I now feel like I actually look like a cyclist on both bikes, like they fit me. I am now comfortable without sacrificing efficiency, power, speed and control. This was my first bike fit and it won’t be my last. I am amazed at the difference you can make instantly to your cycling without even hitting the tracks or road.

- Libby

Follow Libby @libicajane