A few months ago, I took the plunge and got a triathlon bike. It was a substantial process because I went and had a proper bike fitting done.
At my first meeting with Barry the bike fitter at Cyclologic, we talked about all my past injuries, he checked my legs for strength and range of motion, and he took a some of measurements. He then put a bunch of dots on my body â€“ one on my hip, knee, ankle, and shoulder (at least) â€“ so it would be easier for him to take photos and measure my angles.
Then it was up on the bike measuring contraption. It was like a bike in that it had a seat, pedals, and handlebars, but there was no actual frame. He could raise and lower each component as well as move them closer or further apart to determine my ideal fit. There were cameras on two sides to shoot video and images, and the whole platform it was on could spin. There was also a special seat cover to detect how I distributed my weight on the seat.
The entire fitting took about three hours which culminated in figuring out all my measurements and then looking for a bike that fit my proportions.
At 5’4â€, I’m the same height as the average woman, but because of my proportions, I’m tiny when it comes to bikes. I had to get an extra small frame. When I stand over my bike, there is less than 1 inch of clearance between the top bar of my frame and my crotch.
The upside of needing an extra small bike is that I was able to get a good deal on one from last season. They only had the â€œguy colorâ€ left â€“ black with red. (The â€œgirl colorâ€ was peach and gray.) The moment I saw a picture of it, I knew I was going to call her the â€œDelta Flyerâ€ because it reminded me of the uniforms on Star Trek: Voyager.
First Ride = First Fall
My first ride on my triathlon bike was the first time I rode with my feet clipped to the pedals. In the weeks leading up to getting my new bike, I paid close attention when I was training on my mountain bike to see which foot I push off of to start riding and which foot I put down when I come to a stoplight. It turns out, I do everything the opposite on my triathlon bike.
On my first ride, I clipped in my right foot, pushed off with my left, went about two feet, and fell over, with my right foot still attached to the pedal. I couldn’t keep the bike moving forward while trying to clip in my left foot. Once I switched to doing everything with my right foot, I was fine.
Switching from a mountain bike to a road bike was like changing my shoes from sneakers to ice skates â€“ all my weight was balanced over skinny tires! It took awhile to get use to keeping my balance on a lighter bike and narrower tires.
Now that it’s warmer, most of my rides are on the trainer, a device that turns my bike into a stationary bike. On the upside, I don’t have to worry about traffic or having to stop at lights. On the downside, it’s pretty boring. I always watch movies to help pass the time on my bike.
I love my tri bike. My hip is slowly adjusting to riding in the â€œaeroâ€ position. I only ride in the aero position about 10% of the time, but hopefully that will increase, and I’ll be able to take full advantage of the benefits of my bike in races.