I have talked about getting my bike “fitted”. If you are not in to cycling, you may not know what that means, or why it is important. According to Wikipedia “Ergonomics (or human factors) is the scientific discipline concerned with the understanding of interactions among humans and other elements of a system, and the profession that applies theory, principles, data and methods to design in order to optimize human well-being and overall system performance. Proper ergonomic design is necessary to prevent repetitive strain injuries and other musculoskeletal disorders, which can develop over time and can lead to long-term disability.” In a nutshell then, for cyclist this means having a bike that fits in such a way that you are comfortable, and efficient.
Many things are taken into consideration besides just seat height, which is all we adjusted on our bikes as kids right? If you look at the diagram above, you can see the various distances and angles that are measured and adjusted. Ideally the pressure from the seat is on your sit bones, there is minimal, pressure on your hands on the handle bars, and the angle at your knee in the pedal down position is within a certain range for more efficient pedaling.
I had been fitted by the Sports Medicine Department at UC Davis a few months ago, however the changes seemed to exacerbate my initial problem of lower back pain, cause foot cramps, and I felt I wasn’t pedaling efficiently – like my pedals were too far forward and decreasing my pedal strength. Three and a half days, and 330 miles on an ill fitted will most definitely make for a very long miserable ride.
So off Rosie and I go to the local bike shop, and with a tweak here, and a tweak there, and raising this, and lowering that, I feel Rosie and I have got our groove on again!!! We rode Saturday and I had no back pain, my butt felt good, I had minimal issues with numbness in my hands, and my legs felt powerful…….just like it is supposed to feel. A good bike fit takes time, and it can be pricey. There is the cost for the “fit” by a trained fitter, and then there may be additional cost of parts that need to be changed for a more ergonomic fit. The process is well worth the money if you are going to be more than just your average weekend warrior type cyclist.
Rosie and I are as ready as we are going to be as a team, and we are both looking forward to the 0645 start from Folsom, CA on Thursday the 16th – now just a day and a half away!! The excitement has been building daily as I collect my things and pack my bags. Tomorrow night at this time, I hope to be sleeping for the early start of Day 1 of the NorCal Aids Cycle.
This ride is a fundraiser to help raise awareness and decrease the stigma of HIV/AIDS, and to provide money to programs that provide support to those living with HIV/AIDS. It takes money to increase education, testing and early intervention. All of these things are important if we are to decrease the number of individuals newly infected with HIV. Check out the NCAC website, and if you haven’t already made a donation and would like to help me fight this cause, check out my donation page. You too can make a difference in someone’s life.