Standardization = Poor Customer Service

Standardization = Poor Customer Service

The Bicycle Fitting industry is very different from when I started in the late 80’s.  All the “pros” used “Fit Kit”(still a great product) — the  non computerized version — and modifying insoles or shimming shoes/pedals was appropriate only for the infirm and/or injured.

Today we employ a number of different systems and tools, each marketed as superior to the next — all necessary to get the jobe done.  The promise is to reduce error and increase utility, making it possible for anyone who completes a short training to employ with “Professional” status.

I am clearly not a fan.   The human condition is too variable to be harnessed by a singular application — 2D, 3D, 2D x 2D (3D?), or otherwise.

Technology is a great aid, but a poor substitute for the knowledge, experience and humility.  Why humility?  Because  adjustments are only good when the inverse is equally bad.   Each hypothesis requres testing to ensure confidence.   Sometimes this testing uncovers a solution discovered exactly opposite the “standard-protocal”.  Clearly, my Ego is not my amigo.

Another problem is specificity.   Most of us rely on physical therapy techniques to evaluate leg-length, varus/valgus foot, hamstrings, psoas, illiotibial bands, flexibility, etc.  I am happy to provide alternate, cycling-specific tests, but only if you pay .  Just kidding.

Here is an example of the standard leg-length test and alternate hypotheses:

Measuring LLD — actual or apparent.

Full Leg:

Tonic QL or scarring or scoliosis = false positive for short leg.

Excessive facet mobility= false long leg on injured side.

Schmorl’s nodes = false as related to r/l endplates

Pelvic Fixation = false short on anterior side.

Femoral:

Much the same as above, but also with illiofemoral ligament..

Tibial:

R/L arch height variation @.08 population, indicating long/short; high/low

How do I measure for LLD?  Cyclist on bike, saddle raised to maximum possible pedaling, I observe hip rotation, terminal extension and vertebral translation.  If the left hip reaches further, it is possible that the left leg is short, but only if the spine follows.  Sometimes the leg appears short due to increased contra-lateral muscle mass (QL, ES, etc.), scoliosis, pelvic rotation, etc.  Fortunately, all of these issues are easily observed from behind the rider.   Seems more accurate than laying on a massage table and having your legs tugged?

The notion that an application can make anyone a fit-professional is anologus to a machine subsitute for someone like Richard Sachs.

That being said, I love the gadgets that make my job easier.

Check the “Technology” tab for more information.