Hey there, Aaron of Upness here. My pal Jason works at Western Bikeworks, one of the fine cycling establishments in my NW Portland neighborhood. One day, he mentioned to me that his store was getting a new Guru cycling fit machine. He then told me that the aggressive angle in which I set up/ride my road and track bike are not “optimal”.
1. Best or most favorable; optimum.”seeking the optimal solution”. 2. Good on the lower “no no” parts, back and neck of a cyclist. Synonym: Upness
He said that I was too old to ride around in such an aggressive position, that I was going to hurt myself or worse… someone else. This worried me greatly. This made me feel unoptimal, so I made an appointment to meet up with him right away. Meet the Guru:
Admittedly, I was nervous. Not only was I in stretchy pants, where my “no no” parts were in clear view, but I was about to be worked hard on a machine, and I was to be judged. I would be corrected, and no one likes that. I was going to be humiliated in front of everyone in the store (which was, like, at least a hundred people) on the day I had made my appointment. It was a cruel joke, I tell y’all. I was so worried in fact, that I didn’t eat for three days before walking into that damn store for the fit. I wanted to look lean, not 40 years old. And though I promised not to show his face, fuck it, this is the monster that would size me up and stretch me out like too little soy margarine over a large piece of Dave’s Killer Bread:
Ugh, just looking at him, just seeing those snake-like eyes makes my skin crawl as I type this. You might notice the initials “JZN” on his clipboard. I later found out that it stands for “Just Zoo Niggas”, which is his gangsta rap group. They are quite notorious, as it turns out, a ruthless band of thugs that even ONYX is said to fear. What I’m trying to say is that this Jason (or “Jay Sin”, his rap name) is formidable. And his breath, death.
He took measurements, said “hmmm” a lot, and generally made me feel extremely uncomfortable while pointing at my then shaky/nervous hands. I swung my leg over the Guru and he set up the machine as I have my Tarmac set up: “face down and ass up” (another rap slogan or phrase that I wasn’t familiar with). He yelled out, so that all could hear, “You must be soo uncomfortable, the way you ride your bikes Aaron of Upness.org! What a joke!” I shook on the machine. I may have wept a little. It’s all a blur now.
Here’s the interview I did with him over the phone, a week later, as I just couldn’t face him in person:
Aaron: So what did we do the other day?
Jay Sin: We got you fitted to your bike using the new Guru Fitting System. We also had a few laughs and a lot of coffee. By the way, have you heard that I’m in an awesome hip hop…
A: How much does a professional bike fitting cost a normal human?
J: Right, this isn’t my own personal forum. Let’s keep to the business at hand. For the optimization fit we did together today, $300. But, we also give a $150 credit with the purchase of a new bike with us. We also give complimentary high fives, hot coffee, and follow up consultations.
A: Why not just get a custom bicycle and not a fit for the bicycle I already have?
J: That’s a great question old man. A custom bike fits a person perfectly because the fit is being translated into a geometry that gives the bike a kind of “glove” fit. The two primary attributes that a custom bike give are performance and aesthetics. There’s an ideal look we all go for with our bikes: low and long stems, big drops, and that hard describe “fast” look. The truth is that few people can ride those fits on stock geometry bikes, which is why custom bikes are always such a reliable option to get that perfect fit and feel. But the truth is that millimeters are like miles in bike fitting. While the geometry of a bike could be a little on the aggressive side, small adjustments can be made to change the fit to an ideal positioning. For example, in the fit we did today for you, your bike is a solid fit based on the final numbers we came to. A few extra spacers on the stack, a zero setback seat post, and a 10mm longer stem. Small adjustments, on the right bike, can give a bike that glove fit and fast look we all look for. But it takes the right bike, which is an awesome feature of the new Guru Fitting System. We did the fit for you today, and not only is your Tarmac a good fit, but if you were looking for a new bike, a Cannondale Evo would be a killer choice too. Think of a proper fitting like buying a suit off the rack, and getting it tailored. And then checking out my rap group.
A: How did my butt look in my Upness bibs?
J: It was like watching the sun rise on the first day of spring.
A: Nice, that’s what I was going for. So, why Guru and not Urug?
J: It’s the only dynamic fitting system in North America. Meaning that I can not only take measurements while you ride, but I can also make adjustments to the bike while you ride to give you a better point of reference. When we’re done with the fit, I can build you a report with ideal bikes, their individual measurements and it takes roughly a third the amount of time of a normal comprehensive fit.
A: Why Western Bikeworks?
J: Top three reasons I think you come in 5-10 times a week: 1.) Peanut butter mochas. 2.) crazy good mechanics. 3.) 10,000 square feet of product that you can sink you bike nerd teeth into.
A: The mocha helped my tummy that day. Did you know that I was so scared to be fat in my cycling kit that I hadn’t eaten any food for, like, three days before the fitting?
J: Did you know that I’m a rapper?
A: How does a bike fit help a cyclist with chronic pain, like me and my MS?
J: Common things like numb hands/feet, sore knees/back, and a stiff neck come up all the time. The way I break it down for customers is that 50% of the battle is good posture and technique (which you actually have), the next 50% is the fit being encouraging to that posture and technique. Because I put equal responsibility on the rider and the fit, I like to think that it’s the riders that curb their symptoms with good form. My fit is just the consistent encouragement for that good form.
And there you have it folks. Thanx to Jason, his alter ego Jay Sin, and Ross for the photo from above… the dudes like 9 feet tall.