With Summer behind us our busiest season draws to a close. The Winter is when we see most repeat bookings, from riders we’ve worked with in the past. Yet, ask these clients when they think we’re busiest and 9 out of 10 will guess we are at our peak right now. So, why is it that their assumption is so often wrong…
…The first reason is actually fairly self-explanatory; Bike fitting is still, by the majority, seen as problem solving for cycling injuries and this is certainly a huge chunk of our workload. Helping to address the aches and pains brought on by the high volume and intensity that is often reserved for the summer months.
However, could many of these concerns be addressed preemptively? Who voluntarily goes to the doctor for a routine check-up, or a better analogy would be: who visits a Physio when taking up a new sport?
To give a different perspective, speak to anyone planning a long driving holiday and all-but a small minority will get their car booked in for a check-up and service ahead of the trip – rather this than break down on the side of the road in a foreign country.
So in this view, a bike fit in the winter can make a lot of sense for many reasons, of which I will outline a few:
For Leisure riders
- Winter often sees ride distances reduced – not many of us can suffer more than a couple of hours when the temperature drops and these shorter rides are the ideal way to allow adaptation to occur due to changes made during a bike fit and allow the body to accommodate any revised ways of moving and working.
- Almost all events for “recreational” riders are the in the spring and summer so this gives plenty of time to not only test your cycling position but also time to revisit and work through any revisions with your bike fitter if necessary.
- Its much better to prevent injury than treat it – while we bike fitters don’t have a crystal ball, many red flags or injuries-waiting-to-happen can and will be picked up during a comprehensive assessment. Riding with your saddle 2cm too low or cleats improperly positioned can be quickly identified and rectified – the resulting knee strain from said poor setup may not be so quick to resolve.
- Following on from the the last point; your bike fit consultant may suggest some cycling-related conditioning work to do away from the bike to help prevent injuries from muscular imbalances, inflexibility etc. Typically people find more time to do these exercises when they’re riding less and the weather is worse!
Winter sees a switch to turbo training or indoor cycling – indoor training, be it on Zwift, Trainer Road, Sufferfest or whatever your chosen platform of pain, turbo training is hard on the body. With most workouts focusing on intervals and maximizing bang-for-buck, trainer workouts involve lots of high-force efforts and little in the way of true respite. Add to this cocktail the increased popularity of “Erg” trainers such as the Wahoo Kickr and Tacx Neo and you have a recipe for indoor specific issues to arise. (We go through our 5 top tips to avoid this in our latest newsletter, if you would like to receive these click here).
Planning to spend some time in the gym? A bike fit is an opportunity to highlight any key areas to work on such as improving mobility or specific strength. We may set out a plan which sees progression in conditioning rewarded with improvements in your bike’s setup.
Due to the need for an adaptation period, mid-season changes to a rider’s position may not be desirable and, while we may suggest minor revisions in the lead up to big events and target races, more significant changes are often best suited to out-of-season. This period also allows for a more exploratory approach to bike fit, potentially testing more “drastic” changes in search for improvements.
So, if you’re thinking your cycling position may not be at its best, perhaps you’re considering changes in equipment or a choice of new bike, or are just starting to think about next year’s goals, now might be the best time to consult a bike fitter.