April 8th, 2011

Riding positions

A gentleman who does not know his sleeve length (76cm/30"), and collar size (38cm/15") I'm afraid is not quite ready for button up clothes. We have all been there. We had our unleavened skin though, which I guess compensated for our being so doughy. However, by his or her  thirties, a gentleman really should know his bow tie dimension (38cm/15"), European shoe sizing (41), and distance from his BB to the top of his saddle (71cm/28"). Without such knowledge, growing older was really not worth the humiliation, was it now darling?

A tailor can help you with those clothing dimensions, but it may require the service of an experienced bicycle salesperson, mechanic or frame builder to set your riding position for a life of pleasurable pedaling. We all come into this bicycling world touching the ground with both feet, because otherwise our mothers would fret. But oh how we gaze heavenward to real grown ups' saddles! It is a rite of passage, a matter of cutting of apron strings, that we each spend that ridiculous year riding with our saddles too high. In the shower after each ride, we send telepathic winks to our racing heroes in France, who we assume have these pustules in their groins as well. Then we buy our first from-new quality bike, and, if we spent enough money, at the right shop, have our positions corrected for free when we go to collect. It is a day in one's life that changes their riding forever.

Left and center: Boys in the hood don't neeeeeed no stinkin' fit kit, yo hear me? Right: world's tallest man prepares to defy mother's instructions for first time in life.

The seat comes down no less than two inches, then goes back an inch also. A few spacers bring the bars slightly higher than we've been used to. We get slogged $70 for a different length stem. We feel slower for weeks, as though all of our effort now comes from our thighs and our arse cheeks. But then, we get faster (and probably grow out of our trousers). This is a story familiar to all but those whose knees are still kicking their chests, or worse still, whose rear views are like cats' with their tails in the air.

From Dave Moulton's Bike Blog: Saddle Height = inside leg x 109%, minus crank length. Dr. Behooving uses 172.5mm cranks. So ladies, what is my inside leg measurement? The winner will enjoy a shopping spree, yes, with myself—though I've already given you most of my measurements; you could just get me something on-line.