Ride Bikes

What happens at a professional bike fit?


If you’re anything like me, you’ll spend ages choosing the perfect bike.

The colour, the wheels and the running gear all have to be perfect! You finally choose it, and get it from the shop. Then you put the seat to the ‘right’ height, make sure you can reach your brake levers and off you go!

I will admit it. I have never done a ‘technical’ set up for my bikes.

I make sure I buy the right frame size for my height, and then put the seat roughly to the right spot (based on putting my heal on the pedal, and straighten my leg, then set the seat height based on that). Then I might tweak it up or down depending on how it feels.

I never could justify getting a professional bike fit. I am far from a ‘professional’!.

So what exactly is a bike fit?

Put simply, a specialised bike fitter will measure you up and fit you to your bike.

A proper bike fit will reduce pain you might have in your back, feet, arms, neck while on and off the bike.

A bike fit also aims to get your technique right so you can get the most power out of your legs while riding.

Although I am far from being a ‘professional’ bike rider, I am keen to get the most out of my bike and my body. Perhaps my back problems are part baby-related and part bike-related? Maybe I can increase my power output and improve my race starts?

Fix a sore back

I do get a sore back. But they are not related to my bike…

It’s the kids!

People told me that having a baby ruins your back. But it's not the pregnancy that wreaks it. It's the slumping while breastfeeding. It's the rocking the baby to sleep and awkwardly and carefully placing them into bed. It's the leaning over the cot or through the cot rails patting or rubbing baby’s back at all hours of the night. It's the laying down sideways breastfeeding and trying to catch some zzzzzz. With a crook in your neck. Because you can’t move. Because then you’ll wake up the baby.

Anyway, I digress.

If you are sitting on your bike wrong and your pelvis/knees/ankles/feet are not working right, then you will do more damage to your body. You will get sore and probably won’t want to ride your bike as much. A bike fit can fix these problems.

Get more power

A bike fit can ensure your body is aligned and you are getting optimum power from each pedal stroke.

If you are set up properly you can be sure you are using those big muscles in your glutes.

Professional bike fitting

A friend I used to race with recommended I visit Gary Land from PRO Bike Fit. http://www.probikefit.com.au

He is located in Brisbane’s leafy suburb of The Gap, which is not far from me, so it seemed like a perfect idea to catch up and see what he does.

I met with Gary to discuss his professional bike fitting service, PRO Bike Fit. He is a Master certified Retul bicycle fitter who has been in the bike industry for 14 years.

His workshop has a lovely view of the rolling hills and is surrounded by bushland. Over a coffee we talk about the types of problems people have and how Gary fixes them. He legitimately wants to help people solve bike fit problems.

I know nothing about muscles

While listening to Gary explaining how the human body works, I realised I know nothing about muscles. He used all the technical terms for muscles which I can’t even attempt to spell, so I have no chance Googling them.

What happens at a bike fit?

Gary’s previous clients included high level road cyclists and World Champions. But surprisingly I didn’t feel ‘un-worthy’ being there. Gary also fits clients who are just getting into the sport.

PRO Bike Fit uses a Retul 3D motion capture system. The Retul motion capture bike fit assessment is about 90 minutes long. You get hooked up to a set of LED lights (on all your ankle, knee, hip, elbow, wrists etc), which is tracked by the motion capture system when you pedal your bike on a stationary trainer. I felt a bit like a super hero.

Photo: Part of the Retul system

The objective is to analyse your movement on the bike. Are you moving in the most efficient way possible? Are you flexing or rotating too far in one direction in your ankles, knees or hips?

The bike fit also includes bike measurement set up report of bicycle after setup, so you can use the measurements to replicate the bike fit on your other bikes (yes, I know you have more than one).

Making contact with the bike

It may sound obvious but there are three points of contact with the bike:

* Feet.
* Bum.
* Hands.

So, each of these needs to be assessed to see where problems may lie.


The PRO Bike Fit service will include an assessment of your bike shoes and cleat position in relation to your feet and toes.

I have always set my cleats up with the premise that they should be placed on the ball of my foot. I thought I had that part of my set up right…. But I guess I never really knew where the ball of my foot was!


Although I’ve been riding bikes for 15 years, I have never really thought too much about the type of saddle I’ve used. I just buy one that looks good and is light. I was never too fussed on the style of seat. I figured the women’s specific saddles were a marketing gimmick.

The PRO Bike Fit using the fancy Retul 3D system will determine if my saddle is right for me.


The sensors on my wrists will detect if I move my hands around while riding on the stationary trainer and it will also show the angle of my wrists on my bars.

Measurements and analysis

Once I was hooked up to the LED lights, all I had to do was pedal on the stationary trainer while the Retul motion capture system did it’s thing.

Photo: The bike fit process

Key findings from the bike fit

The analysis provided really detailed numbers for the various movements that your body makes when cycling. It showed where my right or left side were unevenly moving. It also showed that my pedalling technique needed work.

Bike set up

With the results showing where I had uneven movements, or where my body was moving in an inefficient way, the PRO Bike Fit assessment recommended changes to my bike set up and to my technique.

The big thing that I took away from the results was that apparently my trusty saddle was not the right size for me. It is too narrow for my sit bones. I needed a slightly wider seat because my sit bones were sliding off the saddle with each pedal stroke.

It occurred to me that I have no idea if I sit on a seat correctly. And what the ramifications are of it. Thankfully Gary lent me a women’s specific saddle to test out (that reminds me, I must give that back…).

Gary explained that some of the simplest bike set up errors can result in a lack of power. Your body may be using different muscles, and not using the strong glute muscles (in your bum).

When I got home, I found myself Googling sit bones and pelvic bones on saddles. I might follow up on a future blog about saddles when I’ve done my research.

Photo: The bike fit process


I was quite excited to test out my bike with the new PRO Bike Fit!

I did my normal loop in on my mountain bike. The cleats felt a bit weird, but I soon got used to them in the new position.

The women’s specific saddle felt really good. I could actually notice that I wasn’t sliding sideways with each pedal stroke.

It’s strange that I never thought I had an issue prior to the bike fit. But with the changes in place I could notice the difference.

I ended up getting a few Personal Best records during climbs on my mountain bike ride! Amazing!

I am totally sold that the bike fit will result in more efficient pedalling and more power for me. I’m not sure if it will fix my back pain as I am sure that is related to carrying my kids in awkward positions. But being more stable on my bike will probably help reduce potential future pain.

If you are interested in getting a bike fit, check out the PRO Bike Fit website (http://www.probikefit.com.au) and contact Gary for more information.

cell bikes

Anaconda Adventure Race Results

What a great weekend to hang out on the Gold Coast and do an Adventure Race. The weather was warm, but not too hot.

Check out the Anaconda Rapid Ascent website for details of the race:


Our team assembled in the morning of the race ready to have fun and smash ourselves. We raced in a team of 4 (Team name - A young 'un, 2 old farts and a banshee) and finished up 8th in our category. It was a tough race for each of us. Detailed results can be found here:


Chris the Swimmer did well, doing the 1.9km swim in the ocean in about 37 minutes. He had to run for a bit in the sand too, which would have been hard work.

Photo Below: In this photo, Chris hands over the timing band to Gary.

Gary the Paddler. Gaz smashed out the the 15km ocean and river kayak leg in about 1:47 minutes.

Photo Below: Gaz paddling to the transition point

Colin the Runner: Colin did the 12.5km run in 1:16 minutes.

I finished up with the 18 km MTB leg. I did it in 1:18. It was steep and tough. Some of the climbs were completely unrideable. So steep! But I keep on top of it, and tried not to let them beat me. There was a stupid creek crossing near the finish, which was quite deep. I got stuck in it for a good few minutes. Almost completely going under water into the slushy mud and reeds. It was stinky and really gross.

Photo Below: Taking off on the MTB ride

Photo Below: Then we all ran 2km together to the finish line.

Photo Below: The team after the race

Photo Below: Overall results below

Photo: My individual mountain bike leg results.


craft beer

Anaconda Adventure Race

It’s been a busy last few months, as I have gone back to work 2 days a week. But finally I have another race on the agenda!

The Anaconda Rapid Ascent event is being held on Sept 11th on the Gold Coast.

Im entered in a team of 4 where each of us will do a leg of the event. The first up is the Swimmer. I havent met him before, but good on him for being able to swim 1.9km in the ocean! whoa.
Next up is the Paddle. Gaz will be doing the 15km ocean and river kayak leg.
Then Colin will do 12.5km run and I will finish up with the 18km MTB leg. Then we all run 2km together to the finish line.

I know Gaz and Colin are super fast and will go hard in their events. I will do my best, but I feel a little underprepared and unfit. But my competitive spirit will kick in when Colin finds me at the transition. Add a bit of adrenaline, and I should be right.

Looking forward to the first race on the Banshee Viento. It’s light and tough so will be perfect for the steep climbs and rainforest conditions I’m expecting out in the Gold Coast hinterland.


craft beer



So I decided to hit a different type of race this time. An off road duathlon, held at Old Hidden Vale. The race was a 30 km MTB ride followed by a 12 km run. I had been running a bit prior to the race, but often only 8 - 10 kms. Fellow races out to have a crack, included: Tony and Bec (team ‘T-Bex’), Gary and Joel (team ‘Gaz and Joel’), and Colin (going solo).

Race start was 9 am, which was probably a little late considering it was going to be 32 degrees.

The Ride

The ride started with all solo acts and teams at the same time. It started at a fairly leisurely pace, which was nice. On the first climb, Tony and Colin passed me. I kept my cool and stayed at my own pace. Tony was doing the event in a team, so he didn’t have to do the run after. Gary was no where to be seen, and I wasn’t sure if he was ahead or behind.

After about 30 mins of passing people and getting into a comfortable rhythm, I saw Tony up ahead. Sweet. He seemed to be struggling already which wasn’t a good sign. I passed him and continued on, hunting down Colin. The trails were great fun! After riding the flowing trail of Yowie, we climbed up Grinder.

The sign said it was 1.3 km - presumably straight up....It wasn’t as bad as it sounded. Then onto the Epic track, which was a nice relaxing track with no great climbs to worry about. Still no Colin in sight. Most of the ride I was by myself.

Sometimes I worried I had taken a wrong turn. When my GPS clocked over 30 km I was eagerly looking for the transition area. It was another 2 kms away.

The Run

A quick gulp of water and change of shoes, and I was off. Bec was waiting for Tony to arrive and gave me the news that Colin was ‘miles ahead’. There was no way I was going to catch him on the run, and I still had to stave off Bec - she was all fresh as she was doing the run part of the race and taking over from Tony.

It was hot, really hot..... The run went up a single track through the gully. There was no breeze and it felt really slow after getting off the bike. There were no other runners to be seen, and it was a bit lonely. I got to the top of the big climb and poured a few cups of water over my head and tried to drink lots of water.

I continued on and at about the 6 km mark Joel (team Gaz and Joel) passed me. I came through the transition again (2 laps of a 6 km course) and threw on my camelbak that Tony had refilled for me. The 2nd lap was the worst. I had been out in the sun for about 2 hrs 40 mins by this stage and struggled to keep hydrated.

I walked up some of the hills and another runner passed me. At the drink station at the top I was glad that there were no more hills. I saw Bec coming up behind me in the corner of my eye, and quickly ran off down the track.

She was catching me! Only 3 kms to go, and I continued on at a steady pace. I overtook another person, who was suffering in the heat, and headed toward the finish. I reached the finish line in a time of about 3 hrs 20 mins. Bec came through just after I did. We got lots of cheers from the crowd (Tony, Colin, Gary, Joel and also the crew from Brisbane Boutique Bikes). Colin smashed the mens field and won convincingly.

Colin running fast

Bec running

Results 1st
Solo Women - Jayne Rutter 1st
Solo Men - Colin Fuller 2nd
Mixed Team - Team T-Bex (Tony and Bec) 2nd
Male Team - Team Gaz and Joel (Gary and Joel) 3rd
Women 30 km MTB event - Carol Bowman

Winners are grinners. $100 vouchers each from Groundeffects.

Monday, 21 September 2009



I did my first off road triathlon this month. It was an interesting experience! The trails were wet and muddy which suited me. I only swam once in a pool in the lead up, so the 350 m swim was interesting...   

Lets just say it wasn't pretty! I did ok in the run, and made up time on the MTB. It was very tough though getting out the water and jumping on a bike straight away. I surprised myself and came through in first place. Next time I think I will train for the swim leg, its not a nice feeling wondering if you will make it or not. 

Photo thanks to www.photoevents.net.au

Friday, 13 February 2009

Photo above: Im over on the far right standing. Not too keen to jump in that stuff.

Photos above: The best bit. The MTB ride!

Photo: Get out of my way mister.

Photo above: The crowd goes wild.

Photo above: Running to the finish.

Photo above: Yay I made it!

Photo: Tony and I.