I came across this quote last week and posted it on my Twitter feed. I think its a good reminder to question everything.
So many things came to my mind when I read the quote. I thought about cycling ‘coaches’ who design training programs that their clients faithfully follow and the ‘expert’ professional bike fits. What strikes me is that people rarely question their newly prescribed bike position or training program.
Please think about, how many athletes have been successful under the direction of your coach? Do you have goals that exceed what your coach or his/her athletes have ever accomplished? I hope so.
What about bike fits? There are many different thoughts out there and most of those doing the fits have the best intentions. If its your first bike, your probably starting closer to your ideal position than if you did it alone. Know, that if you had a dozen ‘Professional’ fits that you would probably get a dozen different results. If you had the time, you could average out all of the results and get a result that would probably work out quite well.
The same goes for choosing the correct frame size. It may take a few bikes to find your ideal frame size and geometry. “Watch out for the preacher with certainty” Get a second, third and forth opinion. Ask yourself about the experience and expertise of each person that you ask. (did the guy giving you advice accomplish something with the bike of your choice?) I think it matters.
There are good fit calculators out there, but not many will ask you how flexible you are. Two identical athletes with the same measurements can differ drastically in flexibility. One athlete may have a hard time touching his toes and the other athlete can easily place his palms on the floor. Do you think these two should be on the same size frame? Maybe and maybe not…
I’ve noticed over the last 20 years or so that the “perfect” position tends to mimic the rider who has recently won the Tour de France. However every rider who has won the Tour de France has had a different body type and a different bike position.
So, get a professional bike fit and hope that it comes close to your ideal and future – preferred position. This may take many years and different bikes before you ‘know’. Find a coach that helps motivate you and helps you believe in yourself. Take the best of what the ‘professionals’ teach you, but believe in yourself and your ability to question everything…. Most importantly “watch out for the preacher with certainty”. ( in fact run away from that guy… )
Fall in love with your bike and ride more….
2 Time Tour de France Finisher
1999 US Professional Road Champion
( with no writing credentials )