As the summer race season picks up steam, many of us are traveling around the country, or world, for various competitions. These days I mostly load up the trusty Toyota for road trips, but in my glory days as a u23, I used to head off to far away lands in Europe. It’s important to assimilate into whatever cycling culture you’re hoping to embrace– so here’s a quick guide to bike fitting based on region!
Lovingly known as the land “Down Under,” Aussies make sure they pay a lot of attention to their own “Down Unders.” This means slamming the seat as far forward as possible, mostly to shut off those pesky glute muscles, but this adjustment is also claimed to help aerodynamics! If you find yourself South of the Equator, look for a saddle with as much cutout as possible (Selle SMP, Adamo, etc) or even steal the seat off a triathlete’s bicycle. Bonus points if you flip your setback seatpost backwards to really load up those quads!
Belgium/Netherlands (The Lowlands)
The heartland of cycling: this small part of Europe has produced more champions than the rest of the world combined. There’s over 100 years of cycling dogma steeped into the culture here, so they must know a thing or two!
When riding in this region, you will hear a lot of local heroes give advice about “more power on the pedals.” There’s no logic behind this, but it sure sounds good. Plus, whoever fits you here probably fit Roger de Vlaeminck or some similar champion. Essentially, the idea here is to fit the bike like a La-Z-Boy recliner: long and low. A good sign you’re getting there- you can’t keep the front wheel on the ground if riding up any grade over 6%.
As always, saddle selection is of the utmost importance. Look for a saddle with a European-sounding name, a great history of victories, and absolutely zero relief for your sensitive anatomy. Eddy didn’t need a cutout, what makes you think YOU’RE so special???
Anybody’s guess! Ask Becker. He fit a TT bike for Jarret in ten minutes, who then placed second at the Redlands time trial, beginning a nice run of numbers on the board. As far as I can tell, the key here is like nutrition: adjust early, and often.