This Space for Rent

There’s nothing like a crippling injury to make one realize just how important bike fit can be

After a considerable period of time of riding, tweaking, riding more and tweaking I finally got the mlcm set up in a position where it is comfortable to ride for long stretches of miles in or out of the drops (almost accidentally; I’d been dropping the stem as I got more flexible until I ran out of removable spacers, so I then had to get a long-setback seatpost and shove the saddle back about a centimeter to increase the virtual drop to the point where I hover above the saddle and bars at speed instead of carrying a load on my hands.)

And then I crashed and destroyed my right shoulder on the very next permanent I rode (the (now elided in favor of the paved but much more terrifying Germandown Road descent) Saltzman Road section of Volcanos-vs-Farmlands) and was knocked off the bike for an indefinite period of time.

That indefinite period of time pretty rapidly became “six days” because after a few days off the bike I started to go stir-crazy, spent a bunch of time researching whether it was okay to try and ride a bike after this sort of crippling injury (the rider consensus was “sure, go ahead, your shoulder is already irrevocably fucked up so you can’t hurt it any more unless you actually tear it loose”; the medical consensus was much the same, but fenced it with enough caveats to build a large country house out of,) then jumped on for a short city loop while my arm was still in the “I feel like I’m going to fall off now, k?” mode.

Surprisingly, it was really comfortable except when I either rattled over an unpaved section or stood and tried to crank my way up a hill.

Next day I went out for a (much slower) 58 miles, which were also very comfortable except for muscle pain on my pectoral and trapezius muscles. And the for the next 3-4 days I did 10-25 miles a day, all in a state of extreme comfort (and maniacal grinning.)

And then I pulled out the Trek, which had fallen off the bandwagon of being tweaked to fit several months again. And, ow, it was nowhere nearly as comfortable, even after a couple of small tweaks to the crankset and pedals (I’m trying out clipless pedals, so I had to replace the MKS Sylvans on the Trek with a pair of eggbeaters.)

So I’m going to need to measure the mlcm and force the trek into fitting that geometry. Oh the joy. But when I go force it, maybe it will be in a good state to take out on brevets again?


Sorry to hear about the injury. I’m glad you are back riding. I’m still learning how to fit my bike or have my bike fit me. I’ve just discovered that I actually am more comfortable with my stem lower, despite me thinking I was more comfortable with it higher. A bunch of friends got fitted and told me about their fittings, so I try different stuff. Also, it is surprising how much of a difference seat tube angles make. Good luck with your bike fit. -Ely

ely rodriguez Mon May 21 07:22:14 2012

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