Saturday, July 26, 2014

On the Importance of Persistence

I have almost tweaked my bike exactly how I like it. It took lots of cajoling and convincing of the bike shop mechanics that, yes, some people actually like to have a more upright riding position on a touring bike with drop bars. They told me my fit was perfect how it was! That my downward angle would give me so much more power and efficiency and let me ride faster and longer!

I told them I didn't care. "I won't ride if I'm not comfortable. Then efficiency will mean nothing."

"Well," he said after swapping for a more upright angled stem, "we can't get the handlebars any higher."

"What about a stem riser?" I asked.

"Well... I GUESS that would work," he said.

Me: "Is there any reason -- besides 'efficiency' -- why a stem riser is not a good idea?"

Him (thoughtful pause): "Aesthetics?"

Yep. That's what it came down to. This guy couldn't comprehend the idea of someone who wanted a bike that fit, that looked, a little different. It would look weird. So much for the wants and needs of the customer.

I eventually convinced him we are going with a stem riser. He reluctantly agreed. I picked one up on amazon and brought it to him the next day. He threw it on the bike and told me to go ride it for a few minutes and then we can tweak.

I left the shop and rode across Key Bridge. And within about twenty feet, I got this huge grin on my face, and I actually started laughing, because the fit was so perfect! I was more upright, and more comfortable, and I could look ahead without straining my neck upward... This was all I wanted!

I rode four miles to Reagan airport and called the bike store. Congratulations, I told them. It's fixed. I won't be returning. :)

It's been about a week and I still love the fit, although I do plan to tilt my seat nose upward a bit, as I've found myself sliding forward a bit too much. So we're still dialing in the mythical *perfect* fit... but even as it stands now, I'm extremely pleased.

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