Robin Groot was my team's mechanic last year, and that was when I got to know this really nice guy. Robin is from the Netherlands, but is now living in Sweden. His experience from a career as a Cyclocross-specialist and his passion for the sport makes him an expert in bike mechanics and also bike fitting. Today I'm really pleased to present a blogpost from such a skilled man. Learn and enjoy!
The Classics are just about to start which means the road season is getting closer, even in Scandinavia. A perfect time to sharpen the knives and get ready to dot the i's.
Next to cleaning the carbon, alu, titanium or magnesium horse, greasing the chain, increase training and buying some new good looking and light weight cycling gear(the lighter, the faster isn’t it??); most people never even consider taking a bike fit. And why should you? After all you can't see a bike fit. Isn't it way better to buy an expensive saddle or a good set of wheels?
Let me explain something about cycling and the energy in your body. First of all the body is a very inefficient tool. From all the energy that your body produce(100%) to ride your bike you only get 18 to 20% on your pedals. The rest is leaving your body by means of heat. Can you make this better with a saddle or a pair of wheels? Just a fraction.
If you don't have a good riding position you can put whatever on your bike, but it will not help you go faster, give you more comfort or stamina. If you are searching for all or one of those three factors then you need a bike fit. Actually all cyclists need a bike fit.
Do you ever feel pain or discomfort during or because of cycling? Just a small 6% don’t, so no worries ;-). During each cycling tour you take you sit in a monotone static position for a long time. As a result of this you have to make a lot of repeating movements. This means that if you are not in a good position on your bike it will damage your body.
The goal with a bike fit is actually to create comfort. And this is why all cyclists should take one. The extra things you create with it are speed and stamina because of the best alignment of muscles and bones, as well a better oxygen intake. But let’s not go into detail. With a bike fit I can get the efficiency up to 23-25%.
Most fun is to do physiotherapist and elite/pro riders. The physios always come in skeptical or curious and leaves enthusiastic. The elite and pro riders always come in like: "Help me! I always have my bike like this and I want it the same. Can you help me to become better?" But of course let’s do the same and improve on it. This could be a typical conversation:
1.– Mmm I don’t think I can help you.
2.– But I really want to become a better cyclist and I'll do everything for it!
1.– Okey, lets level up your steer, lower your saddle, look at the distance from your pedals to the crank, remount your cleats, put your bones and muscles in 1 line, etc etc bla bla bla.
2.– No, not my bike position! I know someone that knows someone who was a cyclist in the eighties and I had to put my heel on the pedal with a straight leg and I had to put my arm between my saddle and my stem. He realy knows what he is talking about…………………………?
1.– Yes and monkeys will fly out of your butt tomorrow.
This can be a random conversation with some of my clients. Not word for word, but the gist of it is always the same ;-). I’m not saying that these elite/pro riders are stupid…..(let’s stay on topic) I just want to say that cycling is a beautiful thing do, so why not also enjoy it? And if you like winning or if it is your goal to win but haven't done it yet. Go for the best and give your body what it deserves. Take a bike fit and enjoy cycling even more ;-).
Robin - Cave Mex