My First Bike Fitting: I Got Cranked And Am So Glad I Did!
Posted Jul 01 2013 5:00am
As I mentioned not that long ago I felt I had to do
something for the pain in my knee while cycling. I felt that now was the time
to go get a true bike fit to get the bike adjusted to me and the quirks that I
have. When I bought the bike last fall I was told to ride it for a few weeks or
month and then come back for a fitting. As fate would have it I injured my knee
at just about that mark so I never went back for the fitting. The fitting that
I failed to do was a very basic one and I do not feel I lost anything but not
doing it last fall. I actually think that I ended up with a far better and more
appropriate fitting by waiting.
I started researching the bike shops in the area that do
fittings. All of them seem to have some special technology or program that will
do their fitting magic for you. I finally narrowed it down to four shops here in
the valley and one a couple of hours away in Madison. Most had a range of offering
from basic, to advanced to pro level. I certainly felt like I needed more than
the basic fit. But I also felt I was not an avid cyclist and or racer so the
pro level fit would not be needed as well. The advanced fit is described by
most shops was a good balance. OK so I know what I think I need but where? Well
the Madison option is out as I don’t want to rive two hours for the fitting and
or tweaks. I did not want to return to where I got the bike from, too trendy
there and I felt I was unworthy and too old to be in there. The shop that I can
see from my home is too uppity as well. I always feel like I am wasting their
time when I stop in there that is if I can get someone to wait on me. Too bad
that would be so close. The large shop would be good and I actually know some of
the people there. But they seem to be more interested in volume than what I may
individually need. There is a shop that is right down the street from my office
that has a great reputation and following. Its name is the Cranked Bike Studio .
I again thought that it might be too trendy for me and or catering more for the
true cyclists in the Valley. I have a certain I also heard that they provided
very good overall service especially fitting so I thought I would at least
check them out. Besides I was down to them or the large shop for the fitting.
Looking online I couldn't really get a good feel for the Cranked
Bike Studio. So I swung by there one evening on my way home. I was somewhat
surprised by what I saw inside during that first visit. It reminded me of what a
more traditional shop might be. A good, warm and friendly shop with people that
actually wanted to help me. The shop had a nice selection of gear, bikes and accessories
but not huge were it looked like a department store. I liked it right off the
bat. I asked about the fitting, was told the various levels and then told to
email the fitter to make the actual appointment. I was called that night and
scheduled something for two weeks from then. I was all set.
I was pretty nervous the day of the fitting. I wasn't sure that
I would be able to pedal as far as I might have to for the fitting. Since I had
only been on it a couple of times since the knee surgery I was pretty out of
shape. I really feared looking like a real loser trying to huff and puff my way
through the fitting. Well the time flew by that day and before I knew it I was
changing into my riding gear for the fitting at work. I felt a little funny
walking through the offices in the clothes but survived. As soon as I walked
out the door a cold steady rain began and I got chilled on the drive over to
the shop. I was pretty wet and cold when I entered the shop.
Once in I met Lyle. Immediately we hit it off as Pink Floyd
was playing in the fitting area and we struck up a conversation. He hooked my
bike up to the monitor and training stand and we were off. He wanted to know
about me first of all. What type of riding I’ll be doing and what if any
injuries I was dealing with. I talked awhile bout my bad knees and foot and
general goals I have for cycling. Almost immediately it sounded like I would
need some adjustments that would not be a part of the advanced level fit and I opted
for a pro level without the video taping of the fitting. So I was already up to
a $150 fit due to my knee but I know it oil be well worth it if I feel better
on the bike.
So over the next three hours (yes three solid hours) the
fitting and experience was pretty amazing. First he had me do a few miles to
get a feel for my cadence and to see how I rode. To get a baseline of sorts for
the fitting. For the next three hours poor Lyle then had me on and off the bike
at least a dozen times as he tweaked and adjusted it in a number of areas. A
fair amount of that time was spent trying to adjust for my right knee that was
in a lot of pain while I pedaled. He worked on everything from adding risers to
extenders on the pedals to adjusting my seat slightly side ways to take the
pressure off of my knee. Slowly over the time pieces began to fall into place
as the stem was repalced and then the seat. The most interesting part was him
working on getting my legs not to pedal in an open V shape but straight ahead.
At the end of the night he had the bike to where pain and mechanically I felt a
lot better on it. I felt really good in fact that that the bike was now adjusted
to me instead of me having to adjust to the bike as it was assembled. In the
end I was very happy with the results and felt very comfortable on the bike
now. My fears of not making it through the process was proven to be for nothing.
But I must say that I did pedal around 10 miles during the process. Thank God
it was not all in a row.
The experience also was one of meeting a new friend and fellow
cyclist. During the time that Lyle worked on the fitting we chatted about
almost everything. I have not spoken in this amount of time and detail to most
of my neighbors and yet I did with Lyle. We shared a lot of common things, interests
and experiences both good and bad. I felt a bond with him beyond the interest
in cycling that made the fitting a very good and comfortable experience. He took
the time to learn about me and my goals and even life to the point of understanding
me. For that I am very grateful and the experience was certainly a really
enjoyable one. One thing that really impressed me is that he liked the bike
that I brought in for fitting. He didn't try and sell me something from the
shop or inform me of where I could have done better. He in fact like the brand and
model and thought it was a good choice for me. I felt good about being told
that I had made a good choice without really knowing what I was doing when I
bought it. But I trusted Lyle to be honest and open and it meant a lot for me to
give me that validation.
When I rolled out of there I felt the bike was now truly mine.
Mine in a way that it was now built or fitted to my needs and goals. I walked
out of there knowing that I had finally a home shop that I felt comfortable in and
welcome in. I also walked out of there knowing that I have a new friend and a
group of people that I could and will share my cycling experiences with in the
future. I have found a cycling home and even in the shape and stage I am are I
feel a part of it. That is what I had hoped to find somewhere in the Valley and
I finally have. I’m finally on the cycling road and am excited about there that
road will take me.
If you are looking for a bike shop in the Fox Valley I recommend
the Cranked Bike Studio very highly. The fitting was a great introduction to
the shop and staff and what a wonderful experience it was. Top notch I say. I
know recently they were named one of the top Bike Fit shops in the country and
I can certainly see why. Go over and check them out and or go for a group ride
with some of the staff or customers. You may even see me in the group soon
smiling ear to ear and being a part of that bike tribe. Thanks Lyle and staff
for the great fit. See you real soon.