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TRIA Orthopaedic Center Your Cycling Blog

Function, Form, Fit, Fun

May 6, 2009

Bill Metz, from OptumHealth, will be a frequent contributor to the blog. This is the second of many posts that Bill will be making, dealing with a variety of topics within the life of a recreational cyclist.

Walking the halls at work I ran into one of my team members for team UnitedHealth Group riding the Larkin Hoffman MS 150.

He had this look of amazement on his face as he launched into his bike buying story. He had recently asked for my recommendation on what bike to buy and my advice when he asked this is always the same: go to a shop that will spend the time working with you to find the right bike, regardless of brand, and then spend the time making sure the bike fits. He did. They spent a ton of time interviewing him on use, budget and goals. They measured him up and finally selected the brand and model that fit all of his requirements. The bike in his budget needed to be ordered so they knowingly had him ride the same bike in a bigger size to test the components. His reaction was “This bike seems fine, why not buy this?” To answer that question and to have him feel the difference, they put him on another slightly more expensive bike fit to him. Needless to say, half a mile later he walked out of the shop with that bike and he was stoked! Talking to him now he just couldn’t believe what a difference it made.

It seems so logical now but I had been riding for about 7 years progressing from 450 miles a year on a florescent lime green “mountain” bike to 800 miles on a steel brick of a “road” bike when I walked into the local bike shop for a new water bottle cage. I wasn’t looking for a new ride, but, there it was, a used Trek 2300 (cue the angelic chorus). A carbon tube, aluminum lugged beauty. It had Ultegra components and it was sweet! Now, hopefully it was my size. Not knowing a thing about sizing, I lifted it down from the wall, stood over the bike, made sure there was about an inch between the top tube and me, asked the guy behind the counter “Do ya think it’s the right size?” Of course, he said yeah and I rolled away with the bike I would spend the next five years riding. Five years of cramped, dicey, twitchy, achy riding. The bike just did not fit and the longer I rode it the more I understood.

So, when circumstances arose that enabled me to look for something new, I was smart enough to do it right. I found a shop that knew what they where doing. I thought about how I was going to use the bike and I wrote down my goals and objectives. I calculated my budget, as I planned to spend enough so that when I walked past the bike in the garage I felt compelled to ride it just to “get my money’s worth.” I even did some preliminary research into brands and models. The one thing that changed is that what I thought I wanted to buy was not what I ended up with. When I rode away from Flanders in Uptown on my Serotta Colorado III, it was like the bike and I became one machine. This is a far cry from me and my Trek, where I was just another guy on a bike.

Form follows Function, Fit follows Form, Fun follows Fit.