This bicycle odyssey never ceases to amaze. And today it amazed me more than it usually does.
Voucher in hand (see yesterday’s post), I arrived at AW Cycles for my “fitting”. I was a little apprehensive as I got the impression from speaking to them yesterday that it may involve intimate measurements. Would I be asked to strip naked in the shop and then be prodded and poked like a slab of meat in a butcher’s shop? OK, that would have been a worst case scenario but it did cross my mind.
In the end, I was asked to strip, but only down to my Lycra under layer (complete with padding where needed) and a t-shirt. Ironically I actually felt more like a cyclist than I had ever done before. Perhaps there is something to be said for going down the Lycra route, an avenue that I have always shied away from. Anyway, back to the “fitting”. I don’t think I have ever been measured more in my life; first up was my height – fairly straight forward there. Next was my inside leg measurement. The guy said to me that it may be a little uncomfortable (and here kicked in the visions of being asked to stand stark naked in the shop again) and proceeded to show me a long horizontal pole attached via a large suspension size spring to the ground. I stood with the pole between my legs while the assistant fiddle with a gauge or something behind my back. A few adjustments later and he declared that he had the correct measurement. Phew, no stripping involved. The whole procedure did, however, contain enough innuendo to fill a whole Carry On film. Next up was my torso and I was prodded in the chest, just below the chin. Again, measurements were scribbled down. Finally came the arms and it was here that I was asked to remove my t-shirt. Not likely I thought and quickly pushed up the sleeve of one arm of the t-shirt and queried whether this was absolutely necessary. He gave in very easily and after discovering that my shoulders were accessible without requiring me to do a Chippendale act, the final numbers were noted down.
The numbers were then plugged into a computer and I was told that I was around average for someone of my height – a typical Anglo-Saxon he said euphemistically. Then appeared on the screen the perfect bike frame for me; it’s here in the picture on the left. Absolutely amazing!
Now the bike that I am buying (and, incidentally, have now ordered) does, unsurprisingly, not come in my exact measurement. It comes in sizes from 50 cms to 60 cms at intervals of 2 cms. The vertical measurement is the key distance and if you look closely on the diagram you will see that my perfect frame would be 53.6 cms. This would mean that I am closest to the 54 cm frame. However, this may mean that it is difficult to accommodate my ideal length. It may be better for me to have a 52 cm frame and for adjustments to be made elsewhere (saddle height, forks height etc…) so that it is a better fit. At this point it all got a bit too technical for me and anyway, time had beaten us and the shop was about to shut. Tomorrow morning, they will look at the model they have in the shop and see if it is better to have the 54 or the 52 cm frame. I trust them to make the correct decision and await their phone call for the confirmation as to when the bike will be available to collect; probably mid April.
I was also given another diagram – here it is on the right – and this one is for a bespoke frame should I wish to go and have one made elsewhere. Perhaps next year…
Was pondering going down there myself and getting my Thorn checked over before i head off on a year long trip.
Odd that i stumbled across your blog when i live in Reading too!
Myself and three friends are planning to cycle around Europe and then maybe over to the US.
Thanks for sharing the Eurovelo 5 google map.
I came accross this the other day. Appears to be a handy resource from the quick once over I gave it.
Are they getting it hand forged in Tiwan or are they realy that busy? 🙂