How or where do you ride?

In any bike fitting there will always be the question of what type of riding you see yourself doing. Most bike fitters will start with an interview where they ask how you plan on using the bike. Cycling has many categories which seem to have very little in common. Mountain biking, gravel riding, road riding, touring, commuting, track racing – the list goes on and on. They are all cycling but the skill sets are very different. Given the different skill sets it would make sense to find a fitter who specializes in the type of riding you’re looking to do, right???

Let’s go back to the two primary goals of bike fitting: Put the rider within their range of motion in every direction and teach them how to get their body weight on the pedals. Note that the type of terrain they’re riding on or the amount of stuff attached to their bike never comes into it. Bike fitting at it’s core is interfacing a machine with terrible quality control (the human body) with a machine with very good quality control (the bike). If the fitter doesn’t reach the primary goals, nothing else can work.

Let’s talk about quality control. In manufacturing, companies produce parts which are interchangeable – standard light bulbs all screw into standard sockets. Quality control is when a part that doesn’t meet standards gets rejected. Bicycles have good quality control, the left and right crank are the same length, stems hold bars straight, seatposts hold saddles on center… The human body has no such quality control. Some people are tall, some are short, there’s no guarantee that your left femur is the same length as your right femur. Some people are as flexible as a rubber band, others are as flexible as a brick. And then there’s your injury history… The hard part about bike fitting isn’t the bike, it’s the human body. Perhaps I should change my title to Human Interface Engineer…

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