If your town or city is like mine there are cyclists everywhere. When I started cycling on the road, the Florida Freewheelers were the major club to join. A few bike shops hosted rides but the big and fast rides were with the Freewheelers. Times have changed; they are a more mellow group now, but other groups have popped up to fill that void. It’s not uncommon to see over 100 riders start at the 3-4 big groups that now meet. There has never been a better time to be a road cyclist.
One thing I do notice is that you can spot a new rider pretty easily by how their bike is set up. I’ve never seen as many upward sloping stems, bars as high as the saddle, knees sticking out, etc. I understand why its that way. It’s better to get folks onto bikes than not, but there is a huge market for followup advice in my opinion. As these riders get better we should be encouraging more efficient positions to make for more efficient bicycles and better experiences. How many times have you heard a new rider say their saddle is no good? They usually buy another and another until they find one they like. The one they like, usually is the one they are sitting on after a few thousand miles. I don’t think it’s coincidence. Everything changes with miles in the saddle. Set up should be like that too. To keep these riders happy in the sport we should be coaching and teaching good longterm habits after they get past their first few thousand miles because that is where fitness and efficiency starts to happen. I think if more bike shops thought of and sold fit as a process rather than part of the sale they’d build more and more long-lasting relationships and that would be good. A fit process would add more value to the sale. As our economy continues to transform, there is less and less reason to walk into any retail space, much less a bike shop. Give consumers another reason to come back for a sportier helmet, clothes shoes and gloves. Most of the shops I know offer “free tubes for a year” or something like that. Those are nice gimmicks. I think a reassessment of your fit after 6 months and 1 year would be more instructive and actually profitable. That’s what you pay for with a CPA, Financial Advisor or an Attorney. Why not?
I’ve only built frames for people who have many thousands of miles on the road and mostly know what they need. These are racers, for the most part, or performance riders, but if a newish rider wanted to have a frame built and bicycle assembled I’d love the opportunity to do that if long-term fit were part of the discussion. Buy a bike and I’ll work with you as you change and get stronger. I’d like to put Full Service back into service.