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Deano on Bike Fit

Former professional and UK cycling legend, Dean Downing writes exclusively for Leigh Day, giving his views on why having your bike fitted to you properly really matters.

Dean Downing

The other week I was out on the bike in the Peaks doing some pictures for a certain cycling magazine and we saw a lot of cyclists out on their bikes.

The weather wasn't that great so it was even more impressive to see. We saw a few different types of riders out too, a group of old boys cyclists, wrapped up well in old-school cycling winter kit, full mudguards, just pedalling away like they've been for the past four decades. They were just getting it done, loving the bike.

We also saw a couple of riders that in my eyes, were clearly new to cycling, new bike, not much winter clothing on, no gloves and no shoe covers.

We even saw one rider out in shorts, crazy stuff. I’ve written here on riding in cold weather and the dangers of winter shorts!

What I did notice with riders new to cycling was their bike fit. All of them seemed to be riding with their saddles too high.

One rider had his saddle so high that his hips were rocking and he had to point his toes to pedal.

I’ve had many bike fits over the years and I can’t recommend them highly enough, it is the one thing that’s going to ensure you ride in comfort and to the best of your abilities.

Saddle height is one of the most important measurements that an expert bike fitter. This week I got some new kit for bike, mainly new bars, stem and a new seat post.

With just a tape measure at home I set them up like my old position and kit. Or so I thought. Friday I went out on the bike and tinkered with my saddle height several times on the ride as it just didn't feel right.

My hips were aching after an hour or so and my dodgy knee started to feel a bit tender too.

I got the feeling right in the end, after several adjustments. After all the years of riding I would say I am quite sensitive to position change and even more so after my knee injury, so I noticed it straight away.

So for all those new to cycling who have bought a bike, bought the kit and are getting out there, riding and getting fit, being comfy on your new bike is essential to give you the enjoyment you are looking for.

If you ride and ride and ride and feel uncomfortable sometimes and don't know why, maybe a professional bike fit is the answer.

Cycling is a great pastime, a great sport and great for fitness, but if you are not comfortable on your bike it's not enjoyable at all.

Across the country there are plenty of bike fitting services within bike shops, different price ranges too. But if you have spent 1000's of pounds on a bike and kit, why not spend a 100 or so on a bike fit for you to feel nice and comfy on your new bike.

You will enjoy the riding more; I know that for sure.

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