At the end of yesterday's post about my Friday visit to Belmont Wheelworks, I mentioned having taking time to get to know staff I really vibed with. One of those people was Sean Brennan, head of the fit department.
The first time Sean fitted me, working on my previous bike, the Giant, I knew we'd be working together again. He's sharp, experienced, and he really listens. He also has that fine balance of training and intuition so important in a field that's as much art as science. I later ran into two separate people who'd been fitted by him and came away with just the same impression. I've been going to him ever since. Wheelworks is a great store and all, and I would have liked it even if I hadn't found Sean. But in those days, it was a no-brainer, because they were so close to me. Now consider this: When I realized last week that I couldn't solve my own fit problems with my new bike, I made an appointment, took time off from work, and drove two hours in Friday afternoon traffic to go see Sean for a mere 50 minute appointment. If you're within driving distance of Boston and you're looking for an affordable, expert fitting, I doubt you could do better.
As a bonus, you get to hang out in the middle of the fitting center of one of the busiest and most reputable shops in the region; you learn a lot just by keeping your eyes and ears open.
So, yeah, my left knee was still bothering me, and I thought Sean could help. He did his usual careful observation of my pedal stroke, we talked a bit about all the considerations, and then Sean raised my saddle a bit, lowered my bars, and gave me a tip about my pedal stroke that might relieve some of the strain. He also fitted me for Aline inserts for my cycling shoes. I'd been thinking about inserts for some time to address the knee problem, and the Aline fitting system made it ridiculously obvious how misaligned my ankles and knees were. I'll keep you posted about the effects.
Then I went shopping for a jersey, since I've been needing a new one for a while. Fitting is definitely exciting and fun, but jersey shopping... oh, yeah. Bring the bling. I have been looking for a stylish top for probably a year now, and just haven't had the dough for the ones I really like -- the super-expensive Euro fine wool deals. Short of that, the best I'd found was the Twin Six line. For an affordable, stylish and unique look, you just can't beat 'em. Better yet, I found a bunch of 'em on the discount rack Friday, and ended up paying less for the one I chose than I would have if I'd ordered on-line!
After trying on far too many of them, I ended up with the first Twin Six I ever laid eyes on, and have wanted ever since -- the '08 Deluxe. I had hesitated all this time, because I worried that black would be too hot in the summer. Once I tried it on, it was like, "Yeah... and?" It was all over:
All in all, a successful day, topped off with a great Thai meal next door to the shop and an iced coffee at a nearby sidewalk café, listening to three different groups of friends chattering away in three different languages. City life: I do miss the diversity, the sophistication -- and the bike fitters and jersey selection.
I drove home a happy fellow.