Monday, March 25, 2013

Sponsor Spotlight -- Speed Matrix (Calgary, AB)

Speed Matrix is located in Calgary, AB (735A-10th Ave. SW).  They provide professional and dynamic bike fitting services.  But don't let the word "professional" scare you fitting is not just for elite athletes! 

In fact, according to owner, Adam Redmond, it is extremely important for someone who is brand new to the sport of cycling to get a proper bike fit.  Riding around on a bike that does not fit properly can result in pains all over the body, which can lead to injury.  As Adam explains, "Cycling does not have to be uncomfortable!"

Adam recommends biking on your own bike a few times to see how it feels, how it reacts. Then, when you bring your bike in for a fitting, you will have a baseline of awareness to appreciate the subsequent fit changes.

If you are new to cycling, the primary focus is on comfort and efficiency.  The fitting process begins with an assessment of your body.  Leg length discrepancies, the way you stand and walk are all taken into account.   The next step in the process is to observe you actually pedaling on your bike.  Your bike is set up on the trainer and a technician will start making suggestions and changes.  For example, your seat height may be raised or lowered, your cleat position may be altered.

The analysis delves even deeper once the bike fitter attaches sticky velcro tabs along one side of your body:  at your shoulder, elbow, wrist, hip, knee and ankle.  A wire is then attached along these points which transmits data to the bike fitter as you pedal to really dial in your bike fit.

There are 3 big changes you can expect from a proper bike fit:
  1. The feeling of efficiency and power.
  2. Saddle comfort!  
  3. Eliminating/reducing neck and shoulder pain
At Speed Matrix, the bike fitters have hundreds of hours of experience with all shapes and sizes of athletes. This vast pool of experience coupled with hard data enables your bike fitter to find a position that works for YOU.   What works for one person, does not necessarily work for another one. 

For example, take these two common complaints experienced by many riders:  toes going numb and "hot foot."   Some of the variables that Speed Matrix would look at are:
  1. Are the shoes are too tight?
  2. The structure of the bike shoe -- is it worn down?  Is the stiffness of the shoe gone resulting in the road vibrations being absorbed by the foot?  This is taking power away from the rider!
  3. Cleat placement:  the cleats may be moved closer to the toes
  4. Forefoot tilt -- what is going on at the inside of the foot, does the forefoot keep collapsing?  This can be addressed with shims and wedges.
  5. Hip angle -- if it is too closed off, the lack of blood flow can causes numbness
These are just five variables Adam rattled off the top of his head that could be at play to address one facet of a bike fit -- extrapolate this small example to what happens during a full bike fit at Speed Matrix and you get an idea how thorough and professional your bike fitting session is.

What's next?  Once you're set up on your bike:  go ride and race!  The more time you spend in the saddle, the more experience and awareness you gain about your body and how it moves.

Adam recommends a tune-up assessment once or twice a year to maintain an injury-free profile:
  • Right before the race season -- bring your bike back in and discuss what your goals are for the season ie aerodynamics coupled with a comfortable position.
  • Things change, so should your fit --- addressing areas of discomfort can prevent injury later on.
Speed Matrix bike fitters look at the individual athlete and emphasize the importance of interconnectedness of the body to the bike.  A solid bike fit is a "marriage" between rider and bike.

Check out Speed Matrix:

Speed Matrix currently does all bike fittings at Speed Theory which is located at:
735A-10th Ave. SW (1 block east of Mountain Equipment Co-op).

Give them a call toll free at:  1-888-563-6330 or fill out their online contact form: