Thursday, March 4, 2010

The Importance of Proper Fit and ReTul

Why is fit or the incorporation of fitting systems so important? First the most critical aspect is to recognize that most people are taking part in the sport of cycling for the enjoyment, to gain fitness and live healthier lives. Taking this into account, like any occasion, cycling has certain comforts and discomforts and time participating in the activity of cycling can cause a great deal of repetitive movement. Consider that for the average age group rider a steady pedal cadence might be between 80-90 rotations per minute for 60 minutes. That is 4800-5400 revolutions of the crank arms in 1 hour time, for one leg alone and twice those numbers if you consider both legs. If you are performing this activity in a poorly positioned situation, there is obvious cause for potential injury or discomfort.

Secondly, bicycle positioning is largely individual outside the basic biomechanical guidelines of safety. Therefore it is important for injury prevention, comfort, and optimal performance. In the bicycle industry we look for fitting systems to better establish locations of current and new positions, to better aid riders to improving their existing positions or modifying them toward any physical changes: improved flexibility might result in more aggressive positions with less wind resistance. Less flexibility might result in lower seat heights, and less aggressive positioning to optimize limited ranges of motion. All together the goal of any system is to better establish the location of a rider, apply the appropriate course of action for adjustment, and to communicate that optimization more clearly to the customer. Assuming the process is correct, this usually results in maximized performance of pedal efficiency, muscle recruitment, and ultimately power. Remember, as a rider your position will and should change as you do, whether for the worse or better.

That is why we at J&A are very excited ReTul is here. We can incorporate RetTul fits to our already successful fitting procedures. Simply put, ReTul is a tool designed to aid a bike fitter to more effectively see and measure positioning in a 3 dimensional form. The ReTul system utilizes a 3 camera system which video references the rider in space and transposes him/her to the software where the body position and angles can be detailed within less that 1 millimeter of accuracy. The data is then transposed using Bluetooth technology to communicate with the electronic "landmarks" set on the body by the fit specialist. These landmarks provide detailed data that can be reviewed about the rider's position. This data is then interpreted within already established guidelines, all of which we have utilized as the base line standard for fitting in our fit studio prior to owning the ReTul unit. The ReTul system isn't telling us where to move or where the rider will feel most comfortable, the rider is still communicating this to the bicycle fit specialist. Rather, the RetTul System is enhancing our ability to see, correct, improve and record adjustments to the riders fit with a new level of precision.

The advantage of the ReTul system is to offer more detailed communication from J&A's fit department to the customer by way of measurements, better record keeping in an electronic format for the sake of the customer and the store, and to more precisely establish where problems may be occurring. It is important to add that bike fitting is still very much art as well as science, meaning the rider brings a level of individuality to the equation that has parameters of definitive safety and need attention. The unique qualities brought to the process might be the rider's length of upper leg to lower leg or a history of back problems or knee problems. The ReTul system enhances the fitter's eye, providing an opportunity for the fitter to apply our knowledge base to the rider. Additionally, all this is done in dynamic or constant movement format. The data is transmitted during movement and not limited to one dimensional phases of analyses (referred to as static fitting). This permits the rider to be fit in a more natural state, rather then in static states.

ReTul will be a great enhancement of our service both for both data accuracy and time efficiency. It will provide a very detailed standard of fit and precision in about two hours. This precision will prove to be quite advantageous to the enhancement of performance, comfort and efficiency of the rider. Contact the shop to get on the ReTul Schedule List.

- By Fit Specialist Zane Castro

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Word....Retul rocks. Good on ya for bringing it in