My first acquaintance with a road bike, as I have previously explained, arrived via a bike fit session at Cube Bikes/Infinity Cycles in Durham with their head technician, Luke Parkin.
In for a penny, in for a pound as they say – if you are going to do something, you might as well do it right. Bring on the bike fit!
Cube’s £120 fitting option, their second-from-top offering, was next step on the road from rookie to ace (Nairo Quintana – you have been warned).
For me, that meant a long morning being put through my paces on the Apex Bike Performance bike fit jig – a very intense session if you, like me regrettably, have slipped out of shape.
The end product was a perfectly-fitted Cube Peloton Race bike and an even – or as even as they can be – power output and body shape.
But how did I actually get there?
Biomechanics are the key to the session – weaknesses or imbalances can be easily rectified with regular stretching and, when corrected, can make a massive difference to your performance – or so I am told.
My own body, more used to the demands and constraints of football or cricket bowling, had some big imbalances to start – even at a low cadence my left leg was a disappointment to put it mildly.
With no previous knowledge of any serious injuries, I was put through my paces off the bike with a series of stretches instead.
My weakness was, it would seem, caused by a tight tensor fasciae latae – outer thigh, in other words, and the difference a bit of stretching can be make can be quite remarkable.
What was previously producing jagged graphs and mismatched outputs, was quickly corrected, nice clean circles and even distribution granting me – or more accurately, Luke – a small win before I even get out on my new steed.
Another disadvantage was caused by my slight leg length discrepancy – just a few millimetres, but I am, it would seem, wonky nonetheless.
Adjustment of my cleat position cleared that up too however, so I left Durham a little saddle sore – no pain, no gain as they say – but with some extremely helpful measurements.
The report dropped into my inbox a few days later – a very basic reminder of everything we discussed in much greater detail during the fitting session.
Advice for stretching is also included, in order to avoid undoing the work already done in the fit.
Time to get riding then, and the immediate lesson that a jig is rather easier to master than your first set of clipless pedals…