Monday, May 11, 2009


When I purchased my road bike back in, umm, 2004, the shop eyeballed my height and adjusted the seat post accordingly. Done, bike fit. That was fine for a fitting, since I only rode the thing a few times before moving to Chicago, let it sit for another year, and then finally gave it the attention it deserved last summer. (I know, shame.) And once I got into riding somewhat regularly, the fit seemed...well, fine. But after hearing how some tweaking over the weekend gave Kate tons of the extra oomph she'd been missing in her VQ workouts, I began to wonder if that eyeball-technique in the bike store more than five years ago was really the best fit for me.

A trip to my neighborhood shop down in Hyde Park, DJ's Bike Doctor, wasn't too fruitful. It's a friendly little shop if you're a 10-year-old looking for a cruising bike or an adult looking for some help with a flat. But ask about aerobars, bike computers or--gasp--bike fit, and you'll get a blank stare (or, upon pressing, a "looks fine" followed by an exasperated sigh).

So I decided to head to a legit tri-friendly store for a more in-depth look. And that's just what I did yesterday. The kind folks at the newly opened Mox Multisport in the West Loop (formerly Mission Bay, the same peeps who hooked me up with aerobars last August) were more than happy to check out my fit over the course of a half hour or so. Turns out, they thought there was a fair amount wrong. For starters, my handlebars were so far forward that I was using a lot of upper body strength to stay stable (good to hear my splayed arms and biceps/triceps soreness after a ride isn't necessarily ideal). And my aerobars were so close together that it was obvious why my upper back and shoulders have felt pinched. And the bars were too high, too. Mox took out my stem, effectively reducing my drag since I'll be angled down and forward instead of sitting so upright. They also moved my seat forward and higher.

Whew! That's a lot of changes. It felt good in the store, but we'll see how it goes out on the road--that's the real test. I'm hoping I get a chance to find out as early as this weekend, I'm desperate for some outdoor cylcing after so many months cooped up indoors on the trainer.


  1. Eyeballing is bad bad bad. That's how I was fit for my first road bike and two crashes later learned it was too big for me. Check out the May issue of Windy City Sports (if you're in Chicago) where I examined the ways to get a good fit.

  2. We drove down from Madison to go to Mission Bay when we were wetsuit shopping. Fun & helpful store! Definitely hear you on the bike fit. I hope the new setup works better for you!



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