After much deliberation and research on bike fits, okay twenty years of riding a bike and almost as long thinking about the current bike fits etc. that are about I decided to go along to visit Mike Veal in Leamington Spa from the lofty alpine region of Norfolk. Now some may say that is a long way but I was after the experience and nous to interpret the flashing lights and apply this to the TT bike position for an ageing veteran cyclist (56 years old) making sure the ageing body was in it's optimal position. Mike applied his engineering and cycling knowledge along with the flashing lights and video footage beginning with the saddle position being changed along with a change in the cockpit. Cleats were positioned correctly and all the time each changed area was reassessed along with slight adjustments during riding to fine tune it. This was all done at the same wattage and time post each adjustment. Almost immediately the knee pain had decreased to a dull back ground annoyance the neck and mid spine hump had decreased vastly and I looked rather like an aerodynamic demon. Two weeks post fit, minimal knee pain almost absent now with a position that enables the watts to be delivered with ease and with increased comfort. I have found that on the road or turbo I am not shifting myself forward on the seat, knee pain absent, much better aerodynamic to power ratio achieved. Overall Mike Veal knows his beans but it is the application of the beans that is important and this is the grey area from the science to the art and this is precisely why my round trip from Norfolk to Leamington Spa and back was worth every penny. Mike Veal and Bike Dynamics have nailed it and merged the art and the science and provided me with the perfect fit.
I went out riding yesterday and did 16 miles! (more than I normally do). I can report that the adjustments to the bars were very effective in relieving my numb & tingling fingers - with no problems whatsoever during the ride!! Fantastic!!
Bike didn't feel too ' twitchy ' even at speed which I was pleased about. Seat also felt ok yesterday so I'll stick with it for the time being. I did experience some discomfort, like a burning sensation under both Knee caps immediately after the ride but this has gone by the next morning this morning - probably arthritis! Just need to improve my fitness levels as really struggled on some of the hills.
I have really settled into the new cleat position now and am very happy with how things feel. My knees no longer ache and I am able to move both heels towards and away from the bike when I am riding. I have managed to perfectly replicate the saddle position of my new bike to that of the Defy that you helped me with. Add that to the shorter reach and higher stack of my new Salsa and things feel fantastic! So much so that I completed my first 100 mile ride on Saturday around the Cotswolds. Zero knee pain and my neck and shoulders felt awesome the whole way around. All in all, my time with you was very well spent and my new purchase has turned out to be absolutely the right bike for me. I only wish I'd come along to see you earlier!
Thanks Mike - really enjoyed the session - far beyond my expectations. Early days - but cycled 45km pain free on Saturday so I'm hopeful!!
Thanks for the email. I rode to Oxford on Saturday and pretty happy with the results. Much more comfortable and it has completely eliminated any foot or hand pain. My legs got tired in a slightly different way (I assume because of the change in saddle height needing a bit of getting used to). Neck was still a bit achy, but I'm not too concerned, I think I just need to get used the position and I'm pretty much leaning forwards all the time I'm not on the bike!
Really enjoyed yesterday and learned a lot, thanks. Been out on the bike this morning for a quick 10 miles to see what it was like as I have a wedding later. Early summary:
Stretched a lot more than I normally do.
Instantly out on the bike the position felt great. Maintained the aero position for at least 80% + and felt very comfortable there.
Bringing the pads inwards didn't have any negative effect.
implemented your Pedal stroke techniques, more work to do there.
Being out on the bike already in the first ride I can feel the money well spent. Overall very pleased and going to get out on the bike again tomorrow and start some longer rides.
It was nice to meet you yesterday and the Bike fit experience was certainly an eye opener for me. I went out for a 20 miler last night and I felt more comfortable on the bike (16.1mph average). No detrimental after effects either. A bit of lactic in the back of my legs today, but I guess that is because I'm using those muscles more in my new set-up. Anyway once again thank you.
Thanks - that's a very comprehensive report. I went out for 8 miles yesterday. After a mile I flattened the seat (as you pointed out it was tilted back slightly) and it felt better. In general I felt more comfortable on the bike, not stretched out and I spent 80% of the time on the drops naturally. One thing I noticed on the drops was that my knees felt like they came a little close to my chest. Not sure if that's "in my head" due to ideally needing 170mm cranks. I'll look at changing them soon. See you in 6-12 months with a shiny new toy!
Many thanks for the report, I wanted to leave it some time before emailing you back to see how things have progressed. Since seeing you I have changed the crank arms as you recommended, completed my first 100 mile ride and several 5 hour rides; the difference is incredible! On every ride I have not experienced any discomfort in my right hip or had pins and needles in either hands and riding has been so much more enjoyable. Thank you very much for your help and advice.
Thanks so much for yesterday and the subsequent report, it was all very fascinating. I went out for a 30 mile ride yesterday after the fitting with an increased average speed and felt less fatigued after the ride than normal so this is good. I also practised the hill techniques and felt that had an effect.
Thanks for the bike fit on Wednesday - a great experience. I did a quick 30 miles yesterday and despite having to slow down for sheep being moved along the road from one field to another I came in at just under 18mph avg speed for my local terrain. The main benefits I am noticing is that my pedal stroke feels more consistent (less lateral movement and occasional 'skips' within the stroke) and that I am on the drops more - feels easier. I am hoping that these benefits will transfer to the Dartmoor Classic next week! Thanks again.
Many thanks for the report. You have been most diplomatic in certain instances (as the season progresses could read "when you get rid of that gut"!) Raced last night and felt much more comfortable. Difficult to tell if I was faster as it was very windy on certain parts of the course, plus legs felt as though they were working differently / better; I think this means that I now need to develop the right muscles in the right places and the speed will come. My legs certainly hurt a lot this morning! As discussed, I can assure you that previously I gave 165mm cranks a good try out and they just didn't feel right. As it happens I recall that I used to race on my track bike many years ago in the early 1980s with 165 cranks and it didn't feel right then either. When I start to get fitter I feel that I may need to sneak the saddle up by 2-3mm and also extend my reach just fractionally as I feel most comfortable laying over the tri bars. Moving the pads outwards has almost completely eradicated shoulder pain also. Everything that you did confirmed where I felt my issues were, I just didn't know where to start!
Thank you very much indeed for the work and information. The fit has made a huge difference with aches and pains now only due to riding lots, not from incorrect posture! I did a 40 mile sportive the weekend after the appointment and the only issue, which I noticed the other day as well, was pins and needles in my left foot particularly the big toe. Could this be due to the ever so slightly shorter leg?! It feels as though I'm not quite on the ball and slightly using the front of the ball of my foot? I will be going out this week so will check again. Many thanks for your help and expert advice. It is very much appreciated.
Yes getting on much better. Your lowering the saddle and moving it forwards has improved things dramatically. It is much more comfortable. It has been a little difficult as the Q rings were bent (believe it or not) causing the chain to pop off constantly so riding has been pain free but a pain in other ways over ! Rotor are replacing them. I am trying to get 165mm arm lengths whilst we are at it but we are mid conversation with Rotor at the moment. I will get back to you properly when that is resolved but without a doubt the bike-fit was worth every penny as it increased my understanding of my own technique (or lack thereof!). The videoing is invaluable.
I went out on the Tri bike this morning with the intention of starting the transition from the road bike. I thought that with it being over 3.5 years since I had ridden using Tri-bars (and then for a max of 25 miles) it would need a little time to get used to using them over longer distances. I therefore targeted a 2 hr ride but am pleased to say that the set up enabled me to cover my current maximum ride distance of 57 miles (3.25 miles) without any adverse effects. In fact I didn't get either of the usual lower back or seat discomfort that I tend to experience towards the last 25% of a longer ride, so it would appear that the fit is very suitable and not too aggressive, though I'll hold final judgement until I extend my rides out towards the 110 mile mark! My average speed was up aprox 1mph to just under 18mph (not quite the 3 mph though that was always a little tongue in cheek) but there is certainly more to come from better fuelling for the 2nd half of the ride where the speed is dropping off noticeably and also better peddling technique. So many thanks for the "fit" and the follow up report and also the additional information I gleaned during the morning - I hope I wasn't too demanding but I not only like to be told what is best but also understand some of the reasoning and theory behind it.
Thanks for the session on Friday and the report. I was out riding over the weekend and could feel the benefits of the adjustments. The new pedalling technique is going to take a little longer to master but I will stick with it and hopefully get it embedded.
Thanks. 2 rides so far, 20 miles and 40 miles. Didn't experience any issues with hands or elbows, so looks like that's improved. Also seems to have been less discomfort with the saddle. Not yet been far enough to see if the upper back pain has been alleviated. Good result so far.
A very useful morning. Very professional and well organised! We went out for a couple of hours last night... Whilst I think I was quicker, my legs are killing me today!! I'm guessing I've started to use a different combination of muscles!
Many thanks for an enjoyable and extremely useful fitting + cleat session on Friday. I got thrashed on the track at the "Veterans" race meeting at Herne Hill the following evening, but that was nothing to do with my new position on the bike, which felt good, and much more to do with the fact that I was very much under-dressed for the near-freezing conditions, and couldn't stay warm enough for long enough to get all guns blazing. A lesson learned - outdoor tracks can get bloody cold the minute the Sun disappears ! I rode again this morning, also at Herne Hill, with much the same opposition as on Saturday last, and was much happier with my performance this time around. I'll change to the shorter cranks in the next week or so, and see what difference it makes.
Thanks a lot for the fit. It was very interesting, and reassuring to know that the science and numbers back up roughly what my feel suggests. I've done a few hours on the rollers and did 100km round the Chilterns on Friday and the setup is working well - the shorter stem does seem to make me more balanced (feels better out of the saddle as well) and I can push over the top whilst seated much more efficiently - which gave me a few pbs up the bigger hills like Bison Hill and Ivinghoe Beacon.
Thank you for sending the report so swiftly. I very much enjoyed the session. I went out for a 30-mile spin today and although rather windy I surprised myself with the average speed given that I was concentrating on using the hamstrings rather than pressing on. The riding position and pressure on the hands was better too.
Thanks, all seems well, I knocked 20 mins off last years Sportive that I did on Sunday. Although I did last years on my training bike. Comfort was good, even the hamstring seemed slightly better. Definitely more comfy and happy to spend more time on the aero's as well.
I am REALLY grateful to you for this. I would thoroughly recommend it to my cycling mates to do as it's incredibly informative.
Hi Mike. Very happy with the results. One happy customer. Did a 53 miler this morning and the bike felt great. Many Thanks.
Thanks for getting the report over so quickly. I found the session really interesting and first ride today was successful with improved comfort and ride position immediately noticeable. Surprised that tweaking dims here and there by such small amounts can have this effect and wish I'd come in earlier!
I found the whole exercise very enlightening. Your findings certainly helped to explain some of my aches and pains. I'm still getting used to the new cleat positions but both bikes seem more comfortable now. Adjusting the saddle height has certainly made a difference - whether it's enough of a difference to enable me to scale Bealach Na Ba remains to be seen!
I went out with George for a quick spin on Sunday and the road bike certainly felt better. The combination of the physio advice and your excellent bike fit is alreday showing dividends. The pain in my left knee has subsided and my hamstring feels better too.
Thank you very much. I had a great session with you on Friday and have already felt the benefits on the turbo. I am looking forward to hitting the hills in the near future with my new set up.
Thanks for the report, and thanks again to you and Helen for a very interesting and enjoyable afternoon. I know you felt that we didn't change a lot and therefore I maybe hadn't had best use of your time and fee, but I certainly don't see it that way. I am sure that taking that bit of weight off my arms will make a big difference to my comfort; but most of all the reassurance you gave me over my pedalling technique and power balance will help me push on without the doubts that I had previously. Because of this uncertainty I had contemplated trying changes to various parts and even hiring or buying something like a Wattbike, so coming to see you has proved very cost effective for me. I will try to take Helen's stretching and exercise advice and once I have ridden for a while get back to you with any feedback.
Did 75 miles on the adjusted bike on Wednesday with 30 miles straight off to finish. So much more efficient after adjustment and more enjoyable to ride. Thanks again for your skilled diagnosis of the problem. I just could not sort it out myself.
Thanks for this. Going very well after the fit. Feel much better. Definitely the best cycling investment I've made (or my dads made) in a while. Highly recommended!
45 minutes on the rollers tonight and the bike feels like a different place to be. Much easier to get cadence up and a bit quicker, more stable too.
A friend has asked me to help with fitting him on a new bike tonight and I know the basics having ridden 40 years and had many bikes and pains, but your guide has brought all the bits I kind of knew together but with the backing of measurements and science. Really great work! Many thanks.
Many thanks for a fascinating day, I really enjoyed it and all credit to you for being so patient and explaining everything in such a manner that I took it in (not a feat to be ignored I assure you!!!). I was on the phone to my brother for nearly the entire journey home and he is a definite for a fit.
I enjoyed meeting you and found the session very useful. It will be interesting to see if my knee-clicking is eliminated by the change in saddle height and cleat position: hopefully so. I did a quick 30 miles yesterday afternoon and the pedal feel was noticeably more balanced (Iâ€™m not sure I actually went any faster, but there was a strong and cold headwind on the return leg).