Friday, October 02, 2009

Poppa's Got A Brand New Bike

OK, not really. It's the same bike I bought a couple of months ago. But it *feels* like a new bike.

Today, I took my Trek 7.5 FX down to the Beaverton Bike Gallery, where "Rambo" fitted it to me. As an engineer, it was a pretty interesting process to watch and be a part of.

The first part was aligning the cleats in my shoes front-to-back. Apparently I have nicely pronounced metatarsal protrusions. Who knew? Given my shoe size, that means that the third metatarsal is about 5mm back from that point. Of course, there was considerable adjustment after that point, but that came later.

Next it was time to get on the bike and ride. To nowhere. This was my first time on a "trainer", which is where you put a special spindle through the rear hub that allows you to mount onto a frame that lets you ride the bike as a stationary unit. I was happy to learn that I can leave this spindle in for the winter, and that the spindle on my trainer is actually better than the one on the bike.

This was also the first time I'd used the cleats in the SPD pedals I bought when I got the bike. I've been using the stock pedals (cleatless) since I got it, and it will take a little practice to get used to engaging and unengaging them. The tech set them pretty low, so it should be easy to get out fast if I need to. Definitely a different feel than I'm used to, but now I can use the pedal upstroke to generate energy as well as the downstroke.

He then set the seat height, which was astonishingly low. I'd had the height set when I bought the bike, but apparently it settled a bit or else was just way off. That will be a big change for me as well, but it felt more comfortable. Note that all of this fitting required measurements, including determining my flexibility on a yoga mat before I ever got on the bike.

After getting the seat height, it was time to check for the lateral setting on the cleats and the pedals. My left pedal was off enough that it required a 3mm washer as well as a pretty strong lateral adjustment to the cleat on that foot. The right leg actually bent *inward* rather than outward, but not as much, but it did require the rough equivalent of a washer under the cleat, and now I can't walk on hardwood floors with these shoes. Like I was going to.

Finally, we checked the stem and handlebar, and the stem was also pretty short. One of my few complaints about the bike was that I was with my hand position on the straight handlebars. You know how your hands flex outward when you're using a keyboard? The opposite of that. A longer stem helped there, although it's black and the old one was a powdered silver. The mutation of my bicycle has begun!

And then it was just a matter of making sure all the torque on the various nuts was correct, and off we went. I haven't gotten a chance to actually ride yet (that will be Sunday after my band's gig on Saturday - I've been told not to ride on gig days as they'd like to have me there alive), but I plan to get on the trainer on Sunday to watch football, and it will be interesting to see how much different the bike feels. I was pretty happy with it before, but with all of the changes (and the new SPD pedals, which will allow me to do one-legged pedaling on the trainer) I'm looking forward to getting back on.

Special thanks to Laurent and Nina, who both strongly urged me to get the bike fitted, and to Nina for her awesome comment last Sunday when I came out in my gear and she said, "Well, don't *you* look credible?" I am *so* using that at the gig on Saturday. That and, "I think I just lost a bet with my wife."

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