Getting a Bike Fit before you get a Bike?

By Scott Heyhoe

I was very interested to hear Jake Yarranton of Precise Performance, at the recent club night, talk about the benefits and pitfalls of having a bike that actually fits you. I remember the ‘good old days’ when bikes came in every size from 16″ to 26″, in 1/2-inch, and sometimes 1/4-inch, increments. It was easy somehow to get exactly the right sized bike. If you were lucky, you’d even get a bike built for you, to your exact specifications. With the advent of cycling becoming mainstream, and major manufacturers deciding that S, M, L was a good start for most bikes, it is now easier to get a bike that is just a bit too big for you, or just a bit too small. It’s true that most manufacturers now make frames in 2-cm increments, but 20mm is still very crude compared to the previous 5mm to 10mm increments.

At the same time, the internet came along and made the local bike shops search for new services to offer. Hence, the idea was born of offering a service to make adjustments to your bike (saddle height, rake, tilt, handlebar reach, shape, height, and so on): the professional bike fit. Specialist companies like Precise Performance also offer a professional bike fit service.

I’ve had the same race bike for maybe 7-8 years. Bought it in a sale, and bought a 51cm whereas a 53cm might have been better. Still, I’ve managed to compete at regional and national level on it. However, I’ve had a long-standing back injury. I’ve suffered from cramp on and off. When I got some power-meter pedals a couple of years ago, I discovered a massive left-right leg imbalance: sometimes as little as 34% of my power was coming from my left leg, and as much as 66% from my right. I’d tried my own adjustments: saddle up to alleviate cramp, saddle down to alleviate back ache, saddle in just the right place to get backache and cramp at the same time! As I am now comfortably (uncomfortably?!) in my 50s, I figured that my body shape had also changed from the halcyon days of my teens and twenties.

I’d decided at the earlier club night to buy a new race bike, probably from Simon Whiten at Handsling who gave a terrific talk on carbon fibre and aero tech. My original plan was to buy the new bike and then have a bike fit. Makes sense, right? Well, something that Jake said made me think that I should have a fit done first – on my current bike. I could then use the measurements to buy exactly the right-sized bike from Simon. So I decided to have a fit on my current bike, before buying the new bike. I spoke to both Simon and Jake about this, and both agreed it made sense. Jake even said he’d conduct my six-week check-up on the new bike.

So, just before Christmas, I headed to meet Jake at his clinic/studio (not actually sure what he calls it). We spent the first hour talking about my aims for the year (National Road Championships, 2nd Category road licence), and measuring my basic body structure and flexibility. On a first spin on the bike (on a turbo trainer), Jake immediately realised I’d make a model patient! Lots of things to adjust. The Retül system that Jake uses is quite sophisticated. It uses sensors placed on feet, knees, thighs and so on, to track movement using 3D cameras. Jake can then make adjustments, to get everything in balance and tracking properly. My saddle was too narrow, so I was tilting to one side – this would probably account for some of the imbalance. My saddle was too low, my handlebars too high. These are all the more coarse adjustments. We then moved on to finer adjustments like foot contact and rotation on the pedal. Some well-placed shims inside and outside my shoes ensured that my legs tracked evenly up and down.

The new position felt “weird”! Lots of things were changed as I’ve said. I’ve done some easy and hard sessions on the turbo. Because of a chest infection, I’ve only been out on the road twice since. So I need more saddle time to report back fully. The one thing that I would say is this: I went out for a 42-mile ride, and rode it medium fast. Spun the pedals at times, ground up hills in the big ring at other times, all for the sake of trying different pedalling styles, in and out of the saddle. My power trace when I got back home said 49-51%! Similarly, I went out for a 66-mile out and back ride a few days ago, spinning hard on the way out due to a strong breeze against me, and powering back with the wind a little kinder, and my wife and child waiting for me at Reading station. The trace this time was 47-53%. Early days but extremely promising. I’ve just ordered my new race bike … oh, and a new cyclo-cross bike that I’m getting built up with exactly the same fit dimensions.

More Prizes! Club Night of the Year, 9 February

Don’t miss out! Tickets are selling fast, the prize list is growing, and already more than 40 people are looking forward to catching up, eating up and running up to collect prizes at the Club Night of the Year on 9 February.

We’re delighted to announce that the following additional prizes have been added. Remember, entry to the Grand Prize Draw is FREE to everyone with a ticket for the evening:

All these are in addition to the existing list of prizes already detailed at the events listing for the evening, which is where you can also find out how to buy your tickets. We look forward to seeing you there!

Alex Paton’s Club Night Talk

We had another well-attended club night earlier this month, with local professional road racer Alex Paton talking about his experiences and answering many audience questions. Warren Vye (club road race secretary) hosted the talk, and started the evening by talking about the club’s road racing activities. Please contact Warren if you’d like to find out more about racing with the club and joining his very successful team (with plenty of support and encouragement available).

You can download both Alex’s presentation and Warren’s introduction from the website in PDF format.

Also, anyone interested in being coached by Alex can find out more about his coaching packages at his website.

Fancy Winning a Cycling Holiday in Spain? – Club Night of the Year

This could be you, cycling in the mountains of Spain, if you buy tickets to the Club Night Of The Year on 9 February. Someone who attends is going to win this prize! Check out the video below, courtesy of Spectacular Cycling.

If you have trouble accessing the video from the box above, try it directly at https://www.fccc.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/Spectacular-Cycling-1.m4v . Sometimes videos can refuse to play on certain devices – if it doesn’t work on your computer, try it on your phone, or vice versa.

Please note that flights and taxes are not included in the prize.

Committee News and New Members

We’re pleased to announce that we have two new committee members. Deb Coren is our new general secretary, and Scott Heyhoe is our new social secretary and also will be looking after the club’s expanded off-road activities on the committee. We’re grateful to them for stepping forward – we’re always in need of help. Remember, the club doesn’t run itself, and we need your help to make things happen.

On a related note, we need as many members as possible to come along to the AGM on 1 February to help us all move the club forward. Thanks.

We’d also like to welcome all the new members and returning ex-members who have joined the club over the past few months: John Constantinou, Stephen Woolley, Stephen Edwards, Vaughan Newcombe, Gordon Rendell, Carlson Lopes, Tracey Cooper, Dalton Flesch, Carl White, Conor Boyle, Paul Knight, Adam Basson, Mike Griffiths, Jamie Parkinson, Richard Sutcliffe, Luke Seal, Caroline Wallace, Ryan Holleywood, Alex Ballinger and Matthew Fawcett. We’re pleased to have you aboard.

Your club, your idea, your Club Night of the Year

This year, the annual club get-together is very different, and takes into account all of the feedback that many of you kindly took the time to provide. A new venue, a casual and welcoming evening, a terrific guest speaker and an amazing Grand Prize Draw. This year, there really is something for everyone.

The Club Night of the Year will take place at the Heron on the Lake, Fleet, Saturday 9th Feb 2019, from 7.30pm to 9.30pm. The evening and the dress code are both completely casual. The food will be a hot buffet, with the usual dietary requirements catered for. The cost this year is just £16.95/person, and this includes your entry into the Grand Prize Draw. We’ll hear from Dick Poole, Club President, and special guest Nick Hale, rider with the Primera-TeamJobs Race Team. Trophies will be awarded, and this will be followed by the Grand Prize Draw.

First prize is a cycling holiday for two in Spain courtesy of Spectacular Cycling; second prize an aero helmet courtesy of Handsling Bikes; third prize a £50 voucher towards a professional bike fit or coaching with Precise Performance. Plus more prizes to be announced!

Bring your partners, friends and relatives – every attendee gets an entry into the Prize Draw, and the prizes are truly fantastic.

Look out for more news soon about how to get your tickets for this not-to-be-missed event.

Notice of AGM on 1st February 2019


Notice of AGM on 1st February 2019

The official notice of the club’s annual general meeting and list of the current committee and officials to be held on 1st February 2019 has been sent to all members as an Announcement so please check your private message area of the website for details: Account>Private Messages

The message is also repeated here:

Hi Everyone

Attached you will find the official notice of the club’s annual general meeting to be held on 1st February 2019.

Also attached is a list of the current committee and officials from which you will note that we are looking for a new Clothing Secretary to take over from Tim Duncan-Booth who is stepping down.   The role is one of collating orders from the membership, sending to our supplier and distributing the kit once it’s been delivered.  Typically 3 or 4 orders each year.

If you can help please let me or another committee member know, it will be greatly appreciated.

And make a note now in your diaries for 1st February.  It’s a very important meeting and requires a minimum attendance to go ahead – refreshments including free beer will be provided.

Thanks and best regards.

Jeff Davis

AGM Notice

Committee and Officials List

Trophy Claims – Time is Running out!

A reminder about the importance of claiming club trophies. As posted about previously, we are very fortunate to have a large number of club trophies within the club (far more than are pictured above).

However, the onus is on members to come forward to the committee and claim trophies (or for road race trophies, contact the road race secretary in the first instance). Thank you to all who have submitted claims so far (though that’s very few of you!).

The full list of trophies and the rules for each one are detailed in the club rules document (pages 5-9), accessible via the Members’ area of the website.

If you think that you have won a trophy in one of our own club time trial championships then it’s easy enough for the committee to see that. But for many trophies it’s a lot less clear. For example, there are time trials all over the country that members may have entered that may count towards winning a trophy, and the committee will probably have no idea about members entering those non-club time trials. Hence the importance of claiming.

Here’s another example – The Sportive Trophy, which according to the rules (page 8) is “awarded to the member with the greatest total distance ridden in sportives and audaxes. The time period to be 10 months from 1st February to 30th November.” Now this is one where the committee will have no real idea who might have won this, and we need members to present their lists of sportives and audaxes to us. Someone out there will have won this, and we want as many trophies as possible to be looked after and displayed by members and not to have to sit in a box in a storeroom somewhere!

The trophies are presented annually at the club dinner (date for 2019 to be advised soon).

Don’t be shy in coming forward, and please email the committee if you would like to put forward a claim for a trophy.

Good luck!