Because let me tell you, there’s a lot more to it than a couple measurements and turns of the allen keys.
I haven’t had a fit in a few years, and with a nagging pain in my left knee I thought it would be best to call in the pros. After listening to Aaron passionately discuss saddle heights and pedal mechanics at the weekly Fiesta Island workouts, I picked up the phone.
We set up an appointment and down the rabbit hole I went. Here’s what you need to know if a fit is in your future:
Aaron suggested wearing a good cycling kit. Do this. Here’s why:
Before you even get on the bike, Aaron spends about an hour with you testing your strength, flexibility and skeletal structure — best to be comfortable while you’re doing one-legged squats and hip bridges
Your seat height is about to get dialled — even a couple millimetres difference from your favorite chamois to the one you wore out and should have thrown away ten rides ago can make a difference.
You’re going to be riding. I don’t mean spinning, I mean he’ll say, let’s see you at “RPE 6.”
This is pretty much the worst time to forget your cycling shoes.
If you have two bikes, bring both.
Although I’m a mtb racer and lover, I do spend a lot of time on my road bike — having them both set up at the same time just makes sense.
But if you can only bring one, make it your road bike. We sit in one position a lot more frequently on our road bikes so better make it a good one.
If you bring two bikes, bring both sets of shoes!
In case you’re worried about how *exact* Aaron is, you should know he uses lasers and he’s not satisfied until your knee is tracking with laser-accuracy.
If you have new pedals, or a new bar or stem, get it on the bike before you come to the fit — you won’t want to be messing with things afterwards
Similarly, be prepared to take down a list in case you need to pick up a new stem or pedals or handlebar. E.g. did you know that pedals have a widely varying range of spindle lengths?! It’s the number-one suspect for my knee problem!
There’s more to fit than fit ….
I had no idea but this whole time, I was pedalling in a way that wasted a bunch of power
Aaron showed me how to maximize my strengths and get 100% out of every pedal stroke
We practiced on the trainer, and we practiced on the road too …. which brings me to:
Bring your helmet!
I didn’t bring one since I naively thought I’d be sitting on a trainer all afternoon. Hopefully this post will help you not make the same mistake.
So in sum, going to an appointment for your bike fit is a fun-filled afternoon of medium sweating, moving around, riding indoors and out. Be prepared. For example, I was all of a sudden wishing I’d waited to do my intervals AFTER the appointment because even the small amount of soreness I was carrying was distracting when Aaron asked me how things were feeling. I wanted to be able to better isolate what was a problem, and what just needed a little stretching.
In the days since, I’ve been working on that proper pedalling and body position Aaron taught me. Things are settling in, I’m starting to feel pretty darn good, and Aaron has already texted me twice to check in with how things are going. You see, I also learned a proper fit is not a one time thing. It takes a little tweaking and refining to get truly dialled in. I have really appreciated Aaron’s attentiveness, dedication and his clearly-demonstrated love of what he does and how he helps his clients.
You can find out more about Aaron and Inner Strength Fitt Lab Training Systems here. I highly recommend it!
Richard La China is a Professional Mountain Bike racer, USAC Certified Cycling Coach and a IMBA Certified Mountain Bike Skills Instructor who coaches beginner to pro cyclist. Currently working with mountain bike XC, Endurance and Enduro racers and other competitive and non-competitive mountain bike riders seeking to become their best.
Woohoo! As good as it gets is appropriate! Richard is not only a great rider, he is a great teacher!...
Woohoo! As good as it gets is appropriate! Richard is not only a great rider, he is a great teacher! I would encourage everyone to stay away from the mind trap that buying a more expensive mountain bike is what you need to ride better. Spend the money on lessons instead, and I know you will be happier (and safer) in the long run. I can't say enough positive things about the Bike Skills clinics. ~ Chris G.
Within one hour we we clearing a 5 foot jump easily and with confidence!
Wow, a friend and I just did a one day private lesson with Richard and I can’t believe how much...
Wow, a friend and I just did a one day private lesson with Richard and I can’t believe how much we learned. I’ve been riding for over 10 years but with all self taught skills. We wanted to learn fundamentals the right way and Richard took us through all of that (along with critical bike setup) and the intermediate stuff that they teach in one day plus he spent an extra hour at the end to teach us jumping which I had always been nervous about. Within one hour we we clearing a 5 foot jump easily and with confidence, we even learned to move the bike in the air on a crossed take off and landing. I think my favorite part though was riding fast on the very gnarly technical descent. We will be booking up more private lessons during the summer at Big Bear. Thanks Richard you are a very good teacher! ~John U.
I took a Fundamental Skill clinic last weekend and learned so much! I've been riding for a few years and...
I took a Fundamental Skill clinic last weekend and learned so much! I've been riding for a few years and felt stuck and was not improving at all. Aaron was a great instructor! Very patient and broke down everything step by step and we repeated the skills until we felt comfortable. I look forward to mastering the skills I learned and taking another clinic in the spring. ~Jody Hachenberger-Amend
Special thanks to Santa Fe Fat Tire Society for bringing you in!
My wife and I had the privilege of attending the skills 2 day camp in Santa Fe New Mexico August...
My wife and I had the privilege of attending the skills 2 day camp in Santa Fe New Mexico August 20th and 21st. Richard and Aaron and Catherine where fantastic trainers and teachers they brought new light into basic skills of riding each person in the group was able to excel in what we were doing before we moved on to some other awesome skill or task individual attention was felt by all in the group and visible Improvement was seen in all Riders when we have you back next year you should plan on doubling or tripling the number of riders thanks for a super fun weekend and special thanks to Santa Fe Fat Tire Society for bringing you in and of course thanks to Richard and Aaron and Kathryn. ~Bruce Hamby
This past fall I finally broke down and upgrade my mountain bike. I was riding a hard tail bike mostly...
This past fall I finally broke down and upgrade my mountain bike. I was riding a hard tail bike mostly for the workout. After racing in an Xterra, I realized that a new bike was in my future. ( I could tell a huge story about the process of purchasing a new MB and the massive amount of miss information you can obtain from bike shops. Especially when you know nothing about bikes. ) Not long after I purchased the new MB, I had my first over the handle bars wreck. I still cannot remember the actual crash. I can see the rut that I am about to hit on the downhill, and then I remember waking up on the trail barely able to breath. The crash gave me some time to catch up on email. One of those emails was a beginners MB clinic hosted by Richard and the Ride Like a Ninja crew. I swallowed my pride and signed up. To date I have done everything I was taught. I made every adjustment to my bike that was recommended. I then had the bike fitted. The skills taught that day are priceless to me. For the first time I understand what position my body needs to be in for each type of terrain. I am not perfect by any means, but in my mind I am shouting the word NINJA to remind myself. I practice the techniques ever time I ride. ~ Hal N.
This truly life changing gift will be greatly appreciated by the recipient and is the perfect choice for birthdays, holidays, or any other gift-giving occasion!Gift Certificates are available for all Mountain Bike Skills Clinics, Camps, One-on-one Sessions and Ninja Gear. Order yours here.