Bike fitting - an interview with resident Trek Fit/CycleFit expert Mark Craddock

Words by Aaron Scott

on 29/08/2013 17:58:00

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We caught up with our Fineshade store manager and bike fit expert Mark, who filled us in on all the details about bike fit - what it is, who it's aimed at and how it can benefit you, the rider.

Bike Fit

LC: I'm not a competitive cyclist or a triathlete. Is bike fit for me?

Mark: Bike fitting is for anybody who rides a bike. Some people would like to go faster, some people want that niggle in their knee to stop and some just want some reassurance that everything is all right. Many companies that offer bike fitting services will only offer it to people who ride road specific bikes, whereas our methods of bike fit apply to all styles of cycling - from full-on time trial bikes to folding commuter bikes.

LC: Why has bike fitting become so popular?

Mark: There's a short answer to this - you were never meant to ride a bike. And neither was Bradley Wiggins or Mark Cavendish. You, me, them; we simply didn't evolve to hurtle everywhere with our bums in the air, chins on the stem whilst pumping the pedals hard. Humans are designed by evolution to climb trees, walk about, build simple tools and look for food. That's why we have opposable thumbs and feet instead of aerodynamic heads and wheels where our legs should be.

But riding bikes is challenging, exciting and above all a lot of fun. Mother Nature may not have intended us to do it, but we do it anyway. The problem with making your body do what it was never designed to is that it can cause us some problems. Everybody who has ridden a bike at some point has experienced an ache or pain or maybe something more sinister. If nothing is done it can lead to reluctance to get back on two wheels, reduced performance or even serious injury.

That's where bike fitting comes in.

LC: So what exactly does a bike fit involve?

Mark: Bike fitting is a process of adjusting a bike to fit its rider. Not the other way round. In fact, the way you move around off the bike can be as important as how you are on it, so we always start with a full on-bike and off-bike assessment. Using techniques to measure ranges of movement and flexibility, we start to make adjustments to your bike, which will typically include saddle and handlebar position, stem lengths and cleat set ups, with the aim of making you feel more comfortable and move more efficiently.

LC: Why should I choose Rutland Cycling bike fit?

Mark: We have a team of male and female bike fitters, who have all been trained with Trek and CycleFit in London - two organisations with a long and prestigious history of bike fit. The methods we use mean we can offer our service to anybody - so, no matter what your age or cycling ability, we'll help make your riding more comfortable and efficient, so you can stay in the saddle for longer.

We offer a comprehensive and completely personalised bike fit service, lasting two to two-and-a-half hours. What does this mean? Firstly, we look at the bike fit process as a whole. Beware of companies that offer a 'cleat-only' or 'saddle-only' set up - any adjustment made to one part of your bike without considering the impact on other areas can have potentially disastrous consequences.  When you think about it, the human body is the most complicated bit of cycling kit you own - so, like any other service or treatment relating to the body, make sure it gets the correct diagnosis and treatment.

Find out more

If you're interested in bike fit, call the bike fitting team (we're open 7 days) on 01780 460 705, or drop into our Whitwell store to make a booking.

Cost: £120

Length of bike fit session: 2 to 2.5 hours

Location: our Whitwell store

How to book: advance booking is essential, so call our bike fit team on 01780 460 705 - we're open 7 days a week.