This week we paid a visit to Mercury Performance Coaching near Carnforth, Lancashire for a Retul bike fit. The purpose for this was to get professional analysis of our pedalling action and to adjust the tandem to provide the optimum mechanical advantage for us. It also means we are less likely to pick up an injury from joints or muscles being used in an unfavourable position. When you are cycling 270 miles a day the more comfortable you are on the bike and the more efficient the cycling is can only be a good thing.
The bike fit involved having small discs stuck onto our cycling shoes, ankle, knee and hip joints and onto our wrist, elbow and shoulder joints. A camera picks up the movement of these discs and relays this information onto a computer. The computer calculates the closeness of the movement it senses to the ideal and provides data from which adjustments can then be made to saddle height, saddle position forwards/backwards, handlebars up/down etc. Mike Wilson who did the bike fit for us was excellent. His knowledge and patient approach was brilliant. So after 4 hours of cycling at different speeds and making careful adjustments to the bike, sometimes just 1mm, the process was complete.
The Retul bike fit process provides us with data we can use to adjust our solo bikes so that our individual training will replicate the pedalling action we will have on the tandem. We also have some tri-bars fitted on the front handlebars, so James can ride in a more aerodynamic position. After the bike fit we went out and had a practice and this worked well for us. It won’t be possible to cycle comfortably in that position for extended periods of time, but it will make a difference when James is able to use them. A great day’s work.
This weekend the tandem goes into JD Tandems for a tuning service. Jonathan is coming along to pick up some top tips on bike servicing which will come in handy during the race itself. More news on that next week.