Q - When i begin a ride all is good but when i hit the 40km-50km mark i
seem to get a lot of tension in my lower back/traps and shoulders, Why is
A - After around 40km's if you are in a slightly stretched position on the
bike the front of your core will become slightly overloaded, for the first
few kms this will not be a problem, however before to long your front core
muscles will begin to fill with lactic acid and effectively start shutting
down therefore or the load will be transferred to the rear core muscle
and extra weight will be loaded on the shoulders and hands (also a major
cause of numbness in the hands when riding) It is very important that your
weight is evenly distributed on the bike, sometimes even a few mm's can
make a world of difference.
Q - What is the definition of a good bike fit?
A - A good bike fit should do the following.
- Take in to account the riders position and not necessarily how the bike
looks as there is no guarantee that the bike will be a perfect match to
your body - always adjust the bike to the body and not the other way
around, this way you will have a perfectly balanced rider with maximum
power transfer. remember it is a bike fit and not a rider fit.
- The most accurate way of bike fitting is to perform the fit on a custom
size cycle, this allows you to get an absolute mm perfect riding position
without actually referring to your existing bike, when the fit is finished
all measurements are taken and transferred to the existing bike, this way if
for some reason a measurement doesn't match up you know exactly how far out
the bike is from your custom set up.
- Bike fitter's should never rely on "the eyes only approach", a human eye
is only accurate to around 6 - 7 degrees when an angle is static, when
moving this accuracy can be out by over 15 degrees! using dynamic video
analysis this accuracy range can be brought down to within 2-3
degrees.....remember in a bike fitting a "mm = mile"
- All good fitters in this day and age should always perform a fit in a
dynamic (moving) fashion. Far to many fitters use only a goniometer and
plumb bob to take random measurements, bike fitting is an art and a science
and everybody is uniquely different so every person should be set in
a unique way to maximise their comfort, balance, power and effectiveness.
- Finally, all measurements/bicycle contact points should be taken, If
something happens to your position when travelling or due to an accident
you don't want or need to a have a full fitting, your contact point
measurements will easily transfer your position over to any workable bike.
Q - I had a bike fit yesterday but after my first ride it doesn't feel
great, should i make some adjustments myself?
A - This is a pretty common experience shared by a lot of riders, however
it takes some time in the saddle to reboot your central nervous system/get
all muscles firing in sync etc. this can take anywhere from a day to a few
weeks depending on how drastic the bike fit adjustments were. try
to persevere unless of course it is causing you pain or discomfort. More
often than not after a few rides the position will begin to feel more
natural and you will start to see increases in power and generally you will
feel a lot more comfortable on the bike.
Q - How do i know if i need a Bike fit?
A - Its pretty amazing what the human body can get used to, i have seen
some pretty radical positions where the people riding didn't feel any level
of discomfort, this usually will not last forever and problems will
A few things that can help you identify if you are in need of a bike fit.
- Numbs hands or feet.
- pain in neck/shoulders and or upper and lower back
- Knee pain
- Bad knee alignment, i.e knees kicking out at the top of the pedal stroke.
- The feeling of sliding on the saddle or generally feeling unbalanced on
- The feeling that you are getting as much power from the bike as what you
are putting in.
If you think you are in need of a Bike Fit or a re fit then please do not
hesitate to contact me on 0210682746 or go to www.aucklandbikefit.co.nz to
find out more about our services.
I have been seeing clients for many years, day in and day out and the question I get most often is :-
"WHY DO I GET NUMB FEET?"
There are many things that can cause the feet to go numb when cycling but the most common cause is a very simple one
THE WRONG SHOE!!
If you suffer from this issue a good test is to put your foot on a piece of paper and draw around it, then take the shoe and place it on top of the drawing and then draw around the shoe.
Look at your drawing if your foot actually looks wider than your shoe then you have found your problem. your foot ALWAYS needs to fit nicely into a shoe with room to spare (your foot will swell up considerably during a ride)
Seems simple right - just buy a wider shoe?
Unfortunately not, New Zealand distributors rarely bring in wide fit shoes and even the ones that have been bringing them in over the last few years are now stepping away from it. Considering the majority of people in New Zealand have a D+ foot this is creating a huge problem.
We are sourcing as many D-E width brands from around the world to bring in to VBike so that the New Zealand cyclist can get some shoes that actually fit their feet.
Say goodbye to numb feet and join the revolution.
If you think you may have the dreaded numb feet issue feel free to give us a call on send us an email, we will do our absolute best to help you with this issue.
The human eye can only pick up so much on its own
We sometimes need a little hand to help us achieve success.
Think of an astronomer without a telescope, a lab technician without a microscope or something a little closer to home, office worker without a computer. These are all things that nowadays we take for granted and in way this just how I think about bike fitting in 2016. You still have lots of people doing "static eyeball" fits on clients. The human eye can only achieve an accuracy level of around 7 degrees on a static angle and that level drops to around 10 degrees when the angle is moving "dynamic"
Imagine an engineer working to this level of accuracy!!
OK SO LET ME EXPLAIN STATIC FIT VS DYNAMIC FIT.
Static fit has been around since the 70s and is what I like to call the "caveman fit", I don't think I need to explain why! Simply having the rider stop and looking at the angles with the naked eye or using a goniometer device on someone's leg. The issue with this is that when the rider stops pedaling the muscles relax and so does the heel. The static leg angle will always differ to when someone is actually rotating the pedals!
Dynamic fit is the 2016 way to bike fit a client. With Dynamic fitting the rider is filmed and then the software allows us to put the angles on to the moving pedaling riders realtime. Very accurate and very fast! This also means we can highlight a section and take a measurement several times over if required. This way of fitting brings down the tolerance to around a 1-2 degree accuracy level
myself the same as every fitter have used the static method in the past before the technology was there to help. In every job a person thrives for perfection, I am no different! Technology is here to stay and everyday it becomes more advanced. Embrace the change. A tool cannot replace someones knowledge of the game, it purely allows then to achieve a more accurate more satisfying end result which at the end of the day is what really matters.
There are lots of people out there performing bike fits in one form or another, unfortunately a lot of the fits I wouldn’t personally call a bike fit, more of a basic adjustment.
I have compiled a top 10 of things to look for when looking for a bike fit. There are some good knowledgeable fitters out there – bikes are changing and so are fitting techniques so choose wisely.
THE TOP 10 THINGS TO LOOK FOR IN A BIKE FIT
#1 Definitely don’t go for the cheapest priced fit, in the service industry time = money so if you have an $80 bike fit you are going to get $80 value for money.
#2 Do your research on the fitter not the shop that your booking in with. Google is a very helpful tool, google your fitters name and check out his credentials. Ask around your cycling buddies and see who helped them.
An experienced master fitter will have a minimum of 300 – 400 fits under his belt. A fitter with this kind of experience will have seen and had the opportunity to fix the majority of bike fit related issues, as with any job you never stop learning so experience is the key. I hate to say it but there are so many gung ho fitters out there that fit everybody the same way using the same methods – not a good practice when you want results. Bike fitting is a science and every human body is different.
#3 Modern dynamic measuring tools e.g. not the plump bob or geomeometer. though these methods were the favoUrite back in the day it is now 2013 and we have software that enables us to check all these measurements digitally and more importantly dynamically (when you are actually riding and not at a stand still)
#4 Video analysis/motion capture – The human eye cannot work within the accuracy range needed to fine tune a fit, at best the human eye can work within 7-8 degrees of an angle and this is the problem. Video software or motion capture enables you to place real time body angles on to the client as they are riding. we have up to 75% more accuracy over your standard “eye ball” bike fit.
#5 Look for a full 360 fit – Side on measurements are what people think of when having a bike fit and I think most people out there have experienced the 15 minute “that looks about right” fit. When performing a bike fit we should look at everything both sides ,front and back. one of the most overlooked areas in a bike fit are the feet. Your feet are the main contact point on the bike and over 86% of the worlds population have some kind of pronation, pronation will effect your alignment which in turn will effect your power and comfort.
#6 Size cycle – The size cycle is a fully adjustable bicycle that allows the fitter to accurately find the riders optimal cycling position. If you have a bike that is a bit small or a bit too big then it will be pretty impossible to know where we need to end up, basically lots of guess work. With the size cycle we can find our desired end result and then adjust the existing bike ask close as we possibly can.
#7 Make sure your fitter actually records and stores your finished bike measurements. The last thing you want after spending hours perfecting your position is to have something move and not know where it needs to go back to. If in doubt just ask at the time of booking, it will save you a lot of frustration
#8 Look for a fitter with a dedicated space or studio away from the main area of the shop. It can be a little awkward trying to have a fit when you are slap bang on display in the middle of a busy sales floor, not ideal and definitely not professional.
#9 When looking for a new bike try to use a fitter that is not brand biases or affiliated with one or two bike brands, get an outside opinion from a good fitter to see if the bike you are looking for will even fit your body, you can then make your purchase full of confidence.
#10 Patience – Sometimes certain issues take time to fix so a good fitter will realise this and generally book you in for what is known as a follow up appointment. Follow ups are needed to tweak your position over time due to injury, changes in flexibility etc. Check when booking that this is a service that is offered.
Numbness in the feet and toes when cycling can be caused by a number of things.
The most common are.
Fit of your shoe
Feet are not adequately supported
Weather and Wind chill
Which shoe is for you?
It is important before you buy a pair of cycling shoes that you are aware of what size and shape feet you have, every shoe is different in the same way that every bicycle is different so the idea is to match your foot to the appropriate shoe, for example If we measure your left and right foot we may find that your left is a 45E and your right is a 44.5E, in this case we will need to go for the bigger size to give you room in the shoe for your feet to expand ( The general mass of your foot can expand a huge amount once your feet receive adequate blood flow from an increased heart rate ) Certain Brands of shoe suit different width feet, for example Specialized/Sidi generally have a narrower fit and will better fit people within the C-D range. Shimano/Northwave/Lake tend to suit a slightly wider foot and normally range between a D-E, it is important that you try shoes thoroughly as there are big differences in the fit between different models.
Supporting your feet
Cyclists need support for there feet for several reasons, supporting the arch increases the power transfer to the pedal and also spreads the load of your foot over the whole insole rather than only supporting your forefoot and heel like a conventional insole. A top sports footbed such as the eSoles eFit model on the right has interchangeable arches to customise to almost any foot type, they also have interchangeable metatarsal pads which are a great feature for increasing blood flow to the toes and reducing the chance of getting numb feet.
Weather and wind chill
Cold weather during winter can cause numbness in feet and also the hands. Make sure you have a good pair of overshoes (booties) to help keep you warm, Most overshoes will have a thin thermal layer underneath and a wind-stopper fabric overtop.
Certain pedal/shoe combinations can be uncomfortable an the ball of the foot. Cleat positioning is very important not only for power transfer but also for cycling comfort and enjoyment. If you are getting numbness or soreness around the ball of your foot try moving your cleat back on the shoe by a couple of millimetres, you will be surprised what a difference this can make by taking the pressure of the ball ever so slightly.