Saturday, February 16, 2008

Getting under my skin! Decision based on how a rider looks in a trainer!

The ideas that come out really get under my skin, rather your skin!

So-called custom bikes use simplified sizing methods or use a CAD program.  Many estimate the frame size from charts of a rider's height.  But the most common method is to go to some retail store that pay someone to stand on the floor for most of the week, most part-time while they are in school and read the tags of the latest and greatest that you could have done yourself?  Most just have the rider mount a bike or use a adjustable contraption while they are in a trainer/jig and stand to the side and make their decision based on how the rider looks while pedaling.  After all, god forgive, they would have to pay for a fit!!!  You even see saddles price $450 being picked up and that person won't pay for a fit?  They already know why they hurt?  After all, they are pros, they have been hurting for years!

There are drawbacks of them all, but the largest is the last method.  You can have some sizing jig and move the person while on the saddle where you think they need to be?  Even ask them how does that feel? Who's the pro?  The problem here is the appearances even with years of experience are not enough, because of a few things!

First fact, the bike is in a trainer, that means the rear wheel is locked in space! That means pressure and force is going into your body!  Most of it between your legs!!!

This is a movement sport, the bike moves, so that method throws the fit off!  The bikes either moves under the rider or the rider moves over the bike.  That is why we don't eye it!  

How many times do we hear of someone spending too much time in the trainer and then their performance level is not what it should be when the roads are open and the weather is nice. Many harm the integumentary system, tissues that provide a protective membrane that guards the deeper tissue.  Secretions from the skin are slightly acid in nature, providing it the ability to prevent bacterial invasion.

This is more of an issue for the gals than the men!  The skin contains two types of glands that produce important secretions (sebaceous and sweat glands).  Sebum helps to lubricate the surface of the skin, and sweat helps to cool the body.  Nerve fibers located under the skin act as receptors for sensations such as pain, temperature,  pressure, and touch.  Thus, the adjustment of an individual to her or his environment is dependent on the sensory messages relayed to the brain and spinal cord by the sensitive nerve ending in the skin.

There are other things that happen to this very complex system!  Skin tissues aid in maintaining the body temperature. Nerve fibers coordinate (thermoregulation) by carrying messages to the skin from heat centers in the brain that are sensitive to increases/decreases in body temperature.  Impulses from these fibers cause blood vessels to dilate to bring blood to the surface and cause sweat glands to produce the watery secretion that carries heat away!

How comes the news!  More and more saddles are becoming more flat!  That means if you miss where the sit bones hit, well the "saddle is not what will wear out".  I watch the sell of saddles everyday and can't believe the lack of understanding?  Then you have all the new saddle tools that take a outline of your sitbones?  This has nothing to do with where the saddle is in space?

Just more mass marketing ideas vs. correct bike fitting? When its more to do where the saddle is in relationship to the bottom bracket.  Your pedal style!  Can you understand that too wide of a saddle will wear out the layers of the skin.  


Not that long ago, we had ski decks for people to get on a rotating deck with a grade and work on their ski turns.  This did not work!  Yes it was cool and yes it was fun for the first few times.
But nothing is like being in the real world!

Number one, maximum efficiency can't be made because the bike is locked in the trainer.  True the frame dimensions will allow him to adopt to the position, but only within very narrow parameters.  For the most part, if the seat tube is too vertical, you might not be able to set the saddle back as far as you might need.

If the frame is too small, it's impossible to set the handlebars in space at the right distance, so you have to use a oversized stem and that will compromise the riding!

No one just goes out and buys new golf clubs and even with the perfectly fitting custom clubs on the first try and hits the ball like Tiger Woods!  But the Tiger Woods still go to someone who can help them with their strokes!  Even pros slowly modify their bikes after many years to get them right, or they get dropped!

Can we say, at least the best ones do, and don't have a problem perfecting their style and position as they gain more experience.  You can win races on a imperfect bike, but your career will be short!  You can't perform at the highest level for very long with the wrong mobility.

Even when you stand at the side and watch with a careful eye, a knee that seems to be operating in the correct mobility, wear and tear can be going on!  Think about your foot being attached to the pedal, the force on the attached pedal, the muscles firing reduces the tibia from rotation.  This has to be picked up at the femur or the hip or even your lower back.

A poor foot position will cause problem within the femur's rotation in relation to the tibia and cause problems around the joints of the whole leg!  Any abnormal tensions in any muscle is a "red flag".  This poor alignment, even with the cyclist's hip being under less stress from their body weight on the saddle can cause problems.

Many things need to be looked at as the body is constantly subjected to great stress in cycling!
Getting  fit using CAD has made a difference for many, and now we have the Dartfish to really help you outside!

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