When I began seriously cycling 10 years ago, I just assumed that we weren’t really ever supposed to be comfortable on a bike for very long. Naturally, as my riding skill progressed, so did my saddle time. And so did the discomforts that come with long miles: saddle sores, an achy back, numbness in the hands and tired shoulders. I just learned to put up with it and accept the (false) ‘fact’ that we just hurt when we get done with a long ride. I had so much to learn!
In 2015, I bought a used bike from a 6′ tall racing friend who had the body of a linebacker. I tried everything to make my body fit his bike with wide handlebars, a slammed top tube, a 172.5 crank and 54 (yes, 54!) chainring in the front. I bought the bike because I loved the custom paint job – not the best thing to consider when making a multi-thousand dollar purchase.
Fast forward to the end of 2020: enter Moxie Rose on the scene. By now I knew much more about body geometry, sizes of components and the importance of a professional bike fit. Some friends and I were hanging out at Adrenaline Bike Works, Mount Dora, after a ride as John Hollingsworth was doing a bike fit on a customer. I had heard of John, but we had never met. As if a fly on the wall, I listened to how he talked with the client, how he meticulously took measurements and listened to her explain her aches and pains on the bike. Every so often I would tune back into what my friends were saying, but I was quite distracted because John just made such sense. I hoped they hadn’t noticed!
Once he was finished, I introduced myself and we chatted a few minutes. He gave me the price for a fit and I went home and made a “bike fit” envelope and started putting greenbacks into it. When I had saved enough, one phone call to John was all it took to get the ball rolling… and me on the way to comfortable riding as I knew Moxie and I have quite a future together.
The actual bike fit took a bit over two hours. He asked lots of questions, had me fill out a medical background complete with surgeries, injuries, etc. and asked more questions. Having gathered sufficient information we moved to a table where I had to perform basic stretches for him to take measurements of hip angles, shoulder flexibility, hamstring strength / flexibility and everything else I could imagine. I did bilateral 1-legged squats as he analyzed my ankle, knee, hip alignment. He did so with such a sharp eye, as he knows the human body very well. I felt as if I were with a Physical Therapist as I watched him work on the perfect fit of this new machine to how my body works.
This is what John discovered:
- First of all, the saddle I was on was 10mm too narrow and entirely too long for my body. What a difference the right saddle makes!
- My left femur is 4mm shorter than the right, which caused my hips to turn slightly to the left in the saddle. No wonder when I got saddle sores they were always on the right side. He actually raised the saddle a bit, which I found surprising. He explained they “why” behind the “what” and it made perfect sense to me.
- My right foot slightly pronates, making the right knee collapse slightly into the midline. It wasn’t unusual for my right knee to rub the top tube when I was tired. Now I understood why.
- Now that I had crank arms the correct size for my short legs (160mm), John correctly sized the top tube height, length of stem (from an 85mm down to a 70mm). This keeps the pedals directly underneath the weight of my body so that the power isn’t lost by my leaning forward too much or down too far.
- Since my feet had a slight pronation(rolling inward) he set me up on some shims for the shoes. I was quite surprised how much more stability the shoes offered despite being carbon already. What a difference this slight variant made!
- The angle of the stem was a bit low so John inverted it, which helped with comfort as well. This back of mine has seen many injuries and needs all the help it can get.
If you are contemplating a bike fit, I suggest that you do so sooner rather than later. John is only going to get busier as time goes on. He is professional, extremely knowledgeable and kind. His bedside manner is gentle and unpretentious. We discussed saddle fit comfortably, which is a pretty sensitive subject to discuss with a male.
In his own words:
“My first visit to Specialized Bicycle Component University (SBCU) was in 2009, I am a Certified Body Geometry Fit bike fitter, A Retul Fit Technician, Assistant fit Professor Twice at SBCU teaching Retul fit to new students and a Ace certified personal trainer since 2017.
I enjoy being able to help riders understand their how their bodies function on a bike and correct the bike build to get them pain-free and performing at their best. I believe that my approach is more medical-based than some fit systems, understanding the riders goals, injuries, and range of motion lets me build an accurate bike position that the rider’s body is asking for.“
Give him a call today. Your body will thank you.
Oh, did I mention he comes to you? That sweetens the deal. Give him a call today: 321-945-1346