I thought I had my bike all figured out. I thought that I, unlike the rest of the proletariat riders, was riding a bicycle that was perfectly fit to me.My bike is a custom build, aluminum frame, with some upgraded gear. I didn’t think I needed a fit. So when bike coach Rick Schultz offered me a complimentary bike fit I thought to myself, ‘sure, why not? I bet I’ll be the fastest bike fit client he’s ever had’.
On an afternoon, I drove over to Rick’s garage at the top of hill in gorgeous San Clemente with my bicycle, bibs, jersey, cycling shoes, and socks. Rick rides regularly and frequently, and his favorite rides are usually with his daughter, Amy, who can easily keep up with him. Both father and daughter are passionate about health and fitness, and Rick often works with Amy and uses her expertise in Physical Therapy to further his knowledge of bike sizing and fitting. Rick is also a frequent test rider for Cervelo, a fitter for Team Simple Green and works with Peaks Coaching Group, so his knowledge and experience handling bikes and fitting is immense. When I drove up to Rick’s garage, I knew I’d be in the right hands for my first fit.
The Right Equipment Can Yield Great Results
After a friendly greeting by Rick’s regal dog Max, he gave an overview and tour of his equipment that he uses for his clients. Rick uses 3 bike fitting/bike sizing machines including the GURU DFU (Dynamic Fit Unit), a Serotta Size Cycle, and a Computrainer. For the majority of the visit we used the GURU DFU which electronically adjusts the position of the stationary bike in small increments. It is a completely data driven program that focuses on things like power output and processes how this data can impact your performance.His garage looks like the lab of a very enthusiastic, cycling mathematician.
From taking some of my measurements, I learned from Rick that even if buy the recommended size bike based on your height and weight, you still need to consider that every body is proportioned differently. Rick set me up on the GURU DFU bike, where he can control the positioning of the various elements of the test bike. Using a few calculations, Rick input my measurements into the software and it generated the positioning for my size. From there, Rick can begin to make further, incremental changes and compare it to the amount of watts I was putting out. With a couple different cameras set up, I could see a live video feed that showed my posture and positioning on the bike. The most interesting part was when Rick activated the lasers, which were used to show the angle where my knees should go while I pedal.
“You Don’t Know What You Don’t Know”
Based on the information Rick gave me, many of the measurements of my bike were spot on, but the glaring truth was that my crankarms were too long and my handlebars needed to be adjusted. Rick has written about how too long of crankarms can cause knee pain, but I figured this wasn’t the case for me because my knees felt just fine. Nonetheless, my legs were pedaling in an unnatural position and my arms were hyper extended, so my power output wasn’t as great as it could be. The handlebar is an easy fix with some adjustments, but too long of crankarms is a common encounter for cyclists because most of us usually don’t switch out the crank arms that come with the bicycle. When my watts increased dramatically as the result of a shorter crank arm adjustment, I knew that I had not had the perfect bike fit.
At the end of the appointment, Rick provided a work sheet with a lot of numbers indicating the perfect size bike for me. On a follow up he also sent me a list of bikes that would fit me really well based on my measurements and results. In addition to performance-based services and fitting, Rick also offers high-end tech services including Di2 Installation/Di2 Upgrades, Di2 Firmware Updates and Programming, ROTOR Q-rings/QXL-rings Installation and correctly Indexing (re-regulation). Rick is one of the best in the business and sees the great value in making sure riders are not only strong on the bike, but also comfortable. He’s seen a great many folks resist cycling because they think that they are just not meant to ride a bicycle, but as Rick points out, “you don’t know what you don’t know.” That is to say, you don’t know how truly great you could feel riding if you’ve never been properly fit to your bicycle.