The Bike Doctor

During the back-to-back centuries of RAW, I was — try not to laugh at a statement of the obvious — having lots of pain. Most of this was concentrated in my hands, and has since been recurring in my not-always-daily commute. Nearly every cyclist who’s experienced and done something about this sort of thing directed me to Erik Moen, a physical therapist working at Seattle Pro Club.
As fate would have it, he’s in my health insurance company’s network. I’ve not had time to read through the five-thousand pages of policy documentation to determine what this means to my bottom line, but I scheduled an appointment anyway.

The session started with my overestimating how horrible traffic into Seattle would be at 8:00 a.m. causing me to arrive at 7:15 a.m., encountering very little traffic, finding the office without problems, finding free parking, then deciding that I didn’t want to watch hurricane coverage but instead ought to get some coffee because dang it’s cold.

I returned at a less eager time, wheeling my bike and its accompanyments in. Someone took my bike to set up on the cyclo-trainer. I kept waiting to hear hysterical laughter. Meanwhile, I filled out a bunch of general medical history questions (“no, no, no, no…”) and two pages of bike-riding tendencies. One mistake I made was ticking the type of rider: “masher” box. I was later corrected that I’m a “spinner.” (A masher rides in too high of a gear, stomping on the pedals; a spinner rotates the pedals > 90rpm most of the time. I’m definitely not a sprinter, unless it’s downhill; I’m not sure what a cruiser is.)

Erik did an evaluation of my body mechanics and flexibilty.
Eric Gunnerson kind of warned me that the bike wouldn’t be the only thing needing adjustment. There were some things that were very good, and of course I forget those because I have poor flexibility in my wrists and hamstrings, affecting overall reach.

Next, Erik looked did a bunch of measurements of the bike, then did some measurements of my knee angle and pelvis height. I wasn’t paying much attention to this because there was a big screen TV switching among coverages of the hurricane, beach volleyball and Australian Rules Football. My brain was trying to grok the connection when there was probably none.

My lack of reach is an issue. I’d been compensating by tilting the bars up, which puts some odd pressure on my hands, making them numb. The stem’s unchangable, but there were some adjustments that could be done on the seat. First, the seat was sagging. Brooks’ models need periodic tightening. I’ve been riding a lot more this year than last, but without adjusting my service interval. When he adjusted that, it added some height to the seat. He then raised the seat another 1.4cm. To further improve reach, the seat was moved forward 2 cm and I was instructed to move the brake hoods back about an inch now that the bar’s flat.

We talked about bikes a lot. I’ve been thinking of selling my Bike Friday and buying something more conventional as I have only used the foldability aspect once, and it wasn’t even on a business trip. While he copied the measurements, another trainer gave me some stretching exercises. I knew my hamstrings were very tight, but didn’t realize how bad they were.

The best quote of the day: “You’re over 35, and are therefore entitled to titanium.”

I’ve got the Tour de Whidbey Saturday.

5 thoughts on “The Bike Doctor”

  1. “You’re over 35, and are therefore entitled to titanium.”

    Sweet! Four more years ’til my upgrade! Wait…that isn’t for replacement body parts is it? Eh, either way. New bike, new hip; to-may-to, to-mah-to.

  2. >Australian Rules Football

    The Australian Football League (the premier Aussie Rules competition) grand final was on Saturday afternoon. After far too long a drought (they last won in 1933), my team finally managed to win the cup again 🙂

  3. “You’re over 35, and are therefore entitled to titanium.”

    I turned 50 this year. That must mean Santa is bringing be the carbon fibre bike with the gold leaf finish.

    I was a good boy this year. Helped a little old lady across the street, and ate my vegetables…

  4. You have to be 35 or older to get titanium? Hmmm…I may be ahead of the curve then since I only just turned 33 in August and have been riding Ti since May. One of my friends that turned 31 earlier this year also made the switch to Ti in May. (I’m only on Ti because I want something LIGHT and DURABLE and was worried about a crack in the center tube on my Look carbon fiber bike. I’d steer clear of carbon and just go straight to Ti.)

  5. I’ve searched for “sibylla”, at that box below your provocative smile, and guess what I got:
    “Does “anal retentive” have a hyphen?”
    Why the question? Haven’t you hyphened it, already?
    Too early in here, my little blonde head is not working, yet :-o)))))))))
    Hug’n’a *

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