Jul 5, 2009

Humility and Bike Fit

I thought I knew what I was doing with bike fitting after all this time, but today I learned that I have more to learn.

Last Thursday night I brought the Rawland in the house for a thorough once-over. I've done some minor new-bike adjustments to it to solve ghost-shifting problems and stretched brake cables, but it was sorely in need of a cleaning and de-grease/re-lube after a few months of commuting without much TLC at all.

I cleaned the chain, took the wheels off and trued them up a bit, cleaned the frame up some, added a second bottle cage and moved the pump to the underside of the down tube (cool - I like that) and generally gave it good going over. As I stood back to admire my work, I noticed the seat was all the way back in the seat post. I thought that was a little radical and could not recall what I was thinking when I set that up, so I moved it forward a bit.

I have been bothered with a little tightness high in my calf, just immediately below my knee joint, and had a general feeling of weakness or instability in my knee as well. I was zeroing in saddle position as the cause, and after critically looking at my saddle/seat post orientation, I decided to make the saddle fore/aft adjustment and see.

A slow and easy ride to Hopkins today confirmed that this was just the ticket. The seat forward position eased my knees issues, but then my seat felt a little too high; so I dropped that about 0.33" or so as well. Of course, that felt too low at first, but after the 20-something miles out and back, I am pretty sure this was just what I needed to do.

The irony for me is that just last week at a focus group I participated in, I made the statement that most novices have their seat too high because it feels better; more like walking. I guess I can toss myself into the "novice" group at this point. Anyway, I am glad I figured this out and we'll see how this week's commutes confirm or contradict today's recreational ride findings.

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