I’ve always been keen on spending more money on bike parts (saddles, pedals, handlebars) to be more comfortable on my bike. I’ve never been willing to spend anything to know more about my bike fit. As someone at the edge/near the edge of the bike rider spectrum at 6’6” tall, I figured that I’d just settle for being mostly comfortable while riding and figure it out on my own without professional help of any kind.
I’ve had some Achilles soreness of late and so capitulated and I set up an appointment with Brian at Paragon Studios (he’s a friend of the shop and regularly buys us donuts lol). During the hour-long appointment, Brian had a few bits of feedback for me: my foot position on my pedals was problematic (size 15.5 shoes means even big platform pedals are almost too small), my brake levers were too far out and needed to be angled down, and my shifters were at a sub-optimal angle. I’ve been riding without any Achilles pain and my hands haven’t been strained since the fit. Either way, it’s only been a couple of weeks so I’d like to know more before I report back with any conclusions, etc.
Bikes are very, very personal. And, for the most part, bikes are made to work for most people and, as such, don't work for quite a few other people as a result. Whether you’re on the edges (tall or small, slender or not) or have yet to find the right bike, getting fitted is a minimal expense for all of the enjoyment that can be derived from riding bikes.
We have one of our Pinarello F5s decked out with an Enve SES 3.4 wheelsets here in the shop and it’s super light and snappy. It’s a 56cm (we also have a 57.5cm) so swing on by and give it a shot!
Fenders. Bigger tires. Relaxed handlebars. Looks like Mr. Bean knew well enough on how to spec his bike to dust that group of lycra-clad racers! Jkjk. In the scene before this photo was taken, Mr. Bean caught up to this group of cyclists by skitching a ride from a passing car. This photo has nothing to do with what I want to write about this week -- I'm just feeling nostalgic about childhood stuff.
I don’t have much to say in the way of bike-y opinions this week other than I like them and I like that a lot of people also like them. I may have some preferences as to how or what I ride that doesn’t align with other riders but the end result is the same: our lives are all positively impacted by the fact that bikes are in them.
I believe that each human is, in the end, looking for one thing: community/connection. Some enjoy lifted truck bro kinds of things (I get this to a degree having spent my formative years in Southern California), others love getting together to enjoy cocktails or fine wines, and still others opt for book clubs. All of them are no better or worse than the next and all help each of those who participate to feel less alone and more a part of.
Bikes at their very best are a wonderful tool. I find that bikes suck for me when I begin to bring my ego into things and think about how much cooler my bike is than yours, how much stronger I am than X, how much weaker I am than Y, how Z has a more expensive bike, etc. Comparing in that way makes this pastime feel less like an escape and more like drudgery.
I’ve seen others fall victim to that sort of thinking, too. It’s corrosive and takes away the inherent freedom and joy that accompanies riding bikes, whether that’s for the sake of commuting or for pure recreation. I sincerely hope that riding bikes remains fun for everyone and isn’t yet another thing used to compare yourself to others. I know from personal experience that that doesn’t end well and only embitters me, leaving me feeling like the community that I thought I had is gone.
Until next time,
P.S.: All of our old newsletters are now on our site as blog posts here.