Monday, April 16, 2012

Shiny New Bike for the Open Road

After 25 plus years of riding the same bike, it was exciting to head to Bushtukah back in early March to get fitted for a new bike along with my son Erik, and so I thought I'd share the experience here as we will be picking up our bikes in Calgary this weekend as my bike ride across Canada in support of the Boys and Girls Club of Canada gets started.

Its 8pm on March 7th and Erik has just arrived at Bushtukah in Ottawa. We're getting fitted for our new bikes from Trek today. Trek has been kind enough to get behind our cause and is donating equipment for our ride. I've always prided myself on being a part of a good team and Trek is a great partner to have on this ride for so many reasons. On top of that, I haven't bought a new bike for myself in over 25 years and bike technology has come a long way. My old steel bikes are classics and I've kept them in great shape but it's definitely time for an upgrade.
Dan is our bike fitter and gets right down to business, asking us questions about our riding history and our trip as he grabs a bike off the showroom floor and guides us to the fitting room.
Imagine a fitting room at a clothing store but with a bike trainer and tools everywhere. He sets the bike up and we start to try and figure out our size. He has me touch my toes to show how I flexible I am and then I hop on the bike and start spinning. After a few seat adjustments he stands back and just watches for a minute or so.

Just like a tailor checks to see how far the sleeves of a suit come down your arm or if your pants will need to be hemmed, he watches for key features in my riding style and the positional characteristics that will determine what size bike will be right for me. Right away he points out that the angles between my torso and my arms is perfect and everything seems to be in order. He does point out my tendency to shrug my shoulders and drop my head when I ride, which can hinder breathing. A quick adjustment in my position and we establish that I'll need a 60cm frame and that making the adjustment with my head and neck will help with comfort and breathing. Erik hops on next and he has a quick fit. We have essentially the same body type so he'll be getting the same bike.

As we finish up, we chat with Dan a while and he tells us about his travels cycling across Africa with a shotgun and a machete in his pannier. I'm glad we won’t need those on our trip; hopefully we won't have to fend of any rattlesnakes or herds of wildebeests like he did. He emphasizes that we can never have enough chamois cream and tells us to be prepared for everything. "You guys are going to have a great time, riding across Canada is definitely on my bucket list. We live in such a beautiful country," Dan shares in his French accent. It's nice to hear things like that, especially from someone who has the experience of riding across an entire continent. As we're leaving, he asks me to autograph a work order form to add to their collection of other athletes they've fitted for bikes. With pleasure I sign the paper and we say our goodbyes. The order will be placed in a few days and soon enough we'll have our new bikes. I can't help but feel like a kid; I'm excited to ride my new bike and I'll post some pics once I have it! 

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