The work at Bike School made sense, again, on Thursday and Friday. We covered brake systems and head sets. I was pleased that though the headsets have several parts and bits, I successfully got mine put back together without anything leftover!
In a discussion about bike fit, and how a lot of us are riding frames and saddles that don’t fit, we talked about the designation “Women Specific.” I can’t tell you how much I appreciated the way the instructors, all male, approached this topic. Basically, they said “women specific” is ridiculous. We’re all different sizes, with varying combinations of torso and leg length, and each of us should be riding a bicycle that actually fits our measurements in order to get maximum comfort, performance and fun out of riding our bikes! When I looked on my bike, I found that it says, “Women Specific Design” and the frame is painted with pink trim. The instructors told us that the Bicycle Industry used to say, “Shrink it and pink it,” as though that were enough. Unfortunately, this led to just giving women these pink bikes and not looking at how our bodies conformed to the set-up. I loved that the instructors were completely comfortable encouraging all of us to learn more about bike fit, for our own rides. And they pointed out that the industry is really moving away from boxing in women and men.
I was also intrigued about the possibilities of how to find a good saddle. When I bought my bike, it came with a super skinny, hard seat that hurt to ride. The bike shop guys told me I should just get used to it. And maybe I would have, if I’d really ridden it a bunch. But it hurt too much to try. So I got a gel seat that was fat and cushy. At Bike School, they pointed out that this seat it probably too wide for me (you’re actually supposed to look at the “sit bones” and how far apart they are for each individual). Several companies that make saddles sell a test kit. It includes different sizes and amounts of padding that the rider can borrow and really test out on her or his own bike. Then, when a purchase is made, the rider really knows which seat feels best. How great!
So, our first week at Bike School was super. We learned loads, were encouraged by excellent instructors and got inspired to practice, practice, practice at home. We received a certificate of completion and took a group photo. Here are the happy graduates: