November 19, 2008, the New York Times had an article on Bike Fitting called "Ouch My Knee, Is There a Bike Fitter in the House?
" Ever since then I've been toying with the idea of having a bike fitting operation at Innersport. The Retul fitting equipment and software intrigue me. However, I think the Retul application can be used not just for bike fitting, but for biomechanics from a rehabilitation perspective. What separates Retul from most other applications and professional bike fitters is that it takes an average of the angles your body makes at certain points of the pedal stroke. The makers of Retul have found that not each pedal stroke is the same. The software takes the average of the angles and then spits out a printout of the angles for each body part on each side of the body. What they are finding is that people have drastically different angles from right to left. Wow- that's very important knowledge!
What a bike fitter would do is create a set of parameters where both sides of the body would be in an injury-free and efficient range. However, I believe we can take that one step further. Using the Retul application of finding the asymmetries in the pedal stroke, what if we found out the weak link or the restricted joint, rehabbed it and made the right and left symmetrical? This would allow us to really dial down the bike fit AND prevent injuries and make the rider more efficient.
I often equate this to getting fitted for orthotics. If you have a foot/pelvis/spine that has joint restrictions and you slap an orthotic on, then you are just supporting the dysfunction in the foot/pevlis/spine. This is why I try to have the patient get a full spinal and foot check-up and correct any dysfunctions before getting fitted for orthotics. The same could be said for a bike fit- we could be supporting the dysfunction.
From my research, there aren't many bike fitters out there with sports medicine experience. Stay tuned. Perhaps I'll blog about my new bike fitting service in 2009. 😉