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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.
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