After doing the Tour of Flanders Cyclo, it was decided that I had earned sufficient “real cyclist” brownie points to pimp my ride. But since my resources are not unlimited (and each bike-related purchase must be rewarded by an even more outrageously priced purchase by my loved one), I had to make some choices.
My advantage is that my Cannondale is still pretty much fitted with the equipment it came with when I bought it, so the possibility to upgrade are endless. I decided to aim for a cost-optimal purchase with a view to increase riding comfort and power efficiency.
Hence the bike fitting.
Sure, you don’t get to buy more stuff, and don’t we all love buying stuff. However, not only should a bike fitting last longer than a bike or any other equipment, it ensures that you use your existing equipment as efficiently as possible. All purchases for the bike are “renewable” (ad infinitum), but this one is actually “sustainable”.
But then comes the next dilemma: which bike fitter to use?
There are quite a few shops that offer bike fitting in Belgium, and some have great reputations.
Peter Horn did an interesting post on the pavé blog on Frans Vanmarcke, a reputed bike fitter located in Ingelmunster. He is very cheap (50€ for four hours of work) and has apparently worked on the bikes of many famous Belgian racers (including Eddy Merckx, notoriously picky on his bike fitting). But I did not see myself do 100 km to get my bike fitted by an old unpleasant, dogmatic Flemish mechanic who does not speak English and probably will not want to speak French. And I don’t need (or want) a “racing” fit, as I don’t race, and from reading the article in pavé, I gathered that this was most probably the only thing I would get.
So I did a bit of research, and there are really all sorts of bike fitting methodologies. Some approaches are just too unscientific for my Cartesian mind. Others use an awe-inspiring quantity of electronic apparatus, cameras and 3D imaging, which tend to remind me of the Monthy Python’s Meaning of Life and the machine that goes “ping!” .
Many fall in the latter category, such as the ones using the RETÜL methodology (listed here). Some bike fitters seem to fall in between both extremes and are a mix between both approaches, such as Body2Bike, managed by an ex-mechanic of the CSC Team and a sports therapist. Finally, in Brussels intra muros, I was recommended the UrbanTriSport shop, which does bike fittings for around 50€, and I heard good things about the people running the shop.
In the end, I decided to go to the Ciclissimo shop, held by Pascal Vanden Bergh, near Mongomery in Brussels. Beyond the fact that he was recommended on a forum I often read and trust, what drew me there was the fact that he uses the CYFAC Postural System. This sytem is based on the work done at the Centre Médico Sportif of Lyon, a para-municipal medical center specialized in following elite-level athletes, and in particular cyclists and triathletes.
My experience with Ciclissimo in a next post!