Alishan, April 12 - 13, 2010. Click pic for album

Taroko to Kending

Taroko Gorge to Kending, Feb 14 - 19, 2010.

Northern Cross Island Highway

Northern Cross Island Highway, May 19 - 21, 2008. Click pic for album
7th October, 2010

Bike fitting

While I’ve been lying on the sofa, reading, trying to rid myself of a cold, I’ve also spent some time on the internet reading about bikes and biking. Over at Endurance Corner, I found an interesting series of articles about anatomic considerations in bike fitting by a man called Alan Couzens (MS in sports science). I’ve always (OK not always, but at least since we started taking biking as a way of exercise and to stay fit a bit more seriously four years ago)bikefit.gif had a problem with the view that you get yourself a nice bike, and if it doesn’t really fit, you adjust your body and get used to it – it’s a great bike after all!
In other words, the idea according to proponents of this view is that you adjust your body to the bicycle, rather than the other way around (because it’s more important to have a bike that looks good than it is to feel good riding it?). That, however, will only result in sore shoulders, knee or back problems, excess fatigue, or all of that. On our first long ride on our new bikes over the Lunar New Year this year, I developed shoulder pains and serious numbness in the thumb, index and long finger on the right hand (classic signs of carpal tunnel syndrome I found out later) and in my left big toe that only disappeared after four or five months. The problem was that I had to overstretch in the cockpit into a position that was unnatural to my body, and that’s the reason why I bought a new seat post with less offset, a shorter stem and new handle bars (twice!). Now I have the most comfortable ride I could imagine. In other words, adjust the bike to your body rather than the other way around.
The articles by Couzens take a more scientific approach to this issue, and he describes different ways of measuring joint flexibility and muscle length and so on and how that translates into bike fit. I haven’t tried these measurements yet since I am really happy with the way my bike is set up right now, but I’ll do it sooner or later, out of pure curiosity. Here are links to the articles: intro, part 1, part 2, part 3 and part 4

2 comments to Bike fitting

  • Scott

    Do you have any experience with alternative seat designs? Any tips on which is best?
    I have been doing a 2-3 hour ride several times a week recently. I have been feeling a bit of numbness, and have come to the conclusion that, in the long run, for me, biking is going to lead to serious deficincies in the um… well… the virility department.
    Of course there are issues like height and angle, which I have been experiementing with. Mine is old-style mountain bike. The seat I have is wider than what is typical on sleek and expensive road bikes.
    May have to go to a recumbent…

  • TBV

    Hi Scott, I had the same problem with the first saddle on my first bike (previous post). I bought this saddle to deal with it. They come in different widths and have an inflatable cushion in front so you can adjust the pressure on your private parts, pretty comfortable. The places selling that brand should have a special seat that you use to measure the width between the bones in your butt so you get the right seat width. Worked very well for me and it solved the problem altogether. I have since changed bikes, and the saddle that came with my new bike works very well for me so it’s not a problem any more. Try it out.