Monday, November 30, 2009

If the bike fits....

I was home for the holidays in Charlottesville, Virginia, and while there, thought I would take advantage of the pretty and hilly environs to rent a bike and go for a ride.  It was easy to find a local racing club that was riding on Saturday at a decent hour and a decent distance and the ride happened to leave from the parking lot of a local bike shop, so from there it was just an email or two and I had rented a Specialized Roubaix Elite for the day.  I went to pick it up the day before the ride and they were kind enough, as people in the south often are, to spend a great deal of time with me and give me a much more extensive fit than I had ever received.  In the interest of full disclosure, I am what I have heard referred to as a "monkeyer" or something like that.  I don't fully buy the hype around bike fit, or at least, believe more in trying to find little adjustments yourself.  I believe that is much more reliable than all the measurements in the world, not to mention that they charge absurd amounts.  I realize people don't agree with me on this, and those people probably beat me in bike races as well, but, as I told Chris, the man doing the measuring, I really am always pretty damn comfortable.  He asked about numbness or tingling, I said none, except (and his eyes lit up, I knew what was coming.."there should never be any...") except past the 80 mile point or so, and nothing that a little shaking my arms doesn't fixed.  He looked a bit forlorn and admitted that maybe that was acceptable.  I pedaled, he measured, etcetera, etcetera...  After he felt fairly comfortable about the setup he asked me to step off the bike and said he was curious about something and, then, mumbles, and "uh-huhs".. and "I thought so..." and he seemed very happy to tell me I was a freak.  This didn't come as a great shock to me since I have been suit shopping in NYC and had this experience repeatedly.  He felt that I had ridiculously narrow shoulders and fairly wide hips (my wife will be thrilled at the child bearing potential.)  His suggestion was that I use much narrower bars, and throw in a couple of pedal spacers.  He would also suggest double wrapping the bar tape to accommodate my larger hands, and mentioned that Boonen wraps a garden hose around his bars (hadn't heard this, but had heard that he double wraps his bars).  

The ride was very disappointing, probably mainly due to constant headwind and frozen toes.  I never got comfortable, and had a terrible mile long walk of shame dressed like a navy seal, in cleats, through a suburban mall parking lot, since my blackberry died in my jersey pocket.  (apparently, if they get the slightest bit damp, including sweat in a jersey pocket, the phone dies, over, end of story, people replace several a year, and somehow this is supposed to be acceptable.)

Knicks get pounded by the Suns tonight 121-101, and make D'Antoni weep for his lost lovers. 


  1. I'm really fighting cold toes and finger tips this year--especially the distal phalanx of my left index finger which I nearly amputated a few years ago. It's getting painfully cold, and we haven't had a good spell of 30 degree temps, yet.

    On the fit front, I am grateful for proper fit, being all of 5'6" when I acquired my road bikes 10+ years ago, I thought the 48cm frames were overly small, now I recognize that these bikes are the perfect fit. I'd have trouble adjusting to anything else. Now for all that, I'm not racing anyone.

    I'm amazed that you'd rent a bike, that sounds so alien to me--did you rent the shoes? Clothes?

  2. Nope, brought kit, gloves. hat, booties, socks...but was taking the train down for just a couple days. Costs less to rent, and it's fun to try out a different bike for a day