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Reporter man measures up to his 280-mile pedal

PUBLISHED: 15:17 25 March 2009 | UPDATED: 10:34 23 August 2010

HIGH-TECH LOWDOWN: Nigel works the body scan machine to fit Martin exactly to his bike.

HIGH-TECH LOWDOWN: Nigel works the body scan machine to fit Martin exactly to his bike.

THIS week reporter Martin Sawden, who is taking part in a sponsored 280-mile Pedal 2 Paris ride for the Royal British Legion, prepares for a heavy training regime. As with any endurance bike ride the first thing to do is to get your kit sorted, so the R

THIS week reporter Martin Sawden, who is taking part in a sponsored 280-mile Pedal 2 Paris ride for the Royal British Legion, prepares for a heavy training regime.

As with any endurance bike ride the first thing to do is to get your kit sorted, so the Reporter went to the events chief mechanic Nigel Hill, from Team Sidcup Cycles, to measure up for the event.

This summer Martin will join members of Sidcup Cycling Team as they leave from Greenwich Park on the annual fundraiser.

LASERS to measure body dimensions - beam me up Scotty!

Body Scanning might sound like something out of Star Trek but if you ever wondered why a bike ride left you with neck pain or your friends' stream pass with bewildering ease, it's probably the best investment for any biker.

It takes five critical measurements and digests it through some computer wizardry so the bike can be adjusted to fit the rider and not the other way round.

Cut to the end result and it was quite astonishing. The computer, Starship Enterprise, call it what you want, said I have been riding for the last nine months with the saddle far too low.

Using an L-shaped measuring tool there was a space big enough for an apple in between the saddle and where it needed to be. Bearing in mind the £600 bike was bought from a reputable shop in Bromley and set up using traditional methods.

The handlebars needed to go up three centimetres and forward one centimetre. It doesn't sound a lot but if you had to squeeze into a box one centimetre too short for a couple of hours, chances are a royal pain in the neck would ensue.

On a 280-mile Pedal 2 Paris ride the situation would clearly be made more uncomfortable.

So what's wrong with using a tape measure?

Not everyone is comfortable with a complete stranger sticking a length of tape here and there, plus it can't match a laser for accuracy.

A body scan is non-invasive measuring height, shoulder width, shoulder height, arm length and hip height.

The information is then used by the mechanic to create a perfect triangle between saddle, pedals and handlebars.

Nigel Hill, owner of Sidcup Cycle Centre, said: "Your triangular fit never changes and it's gender specific.

"The software lets you choose what type of bike you are riding and also what intensity level.

"For recreation the position is more upright and becomes more extreme for fitness through to triathlon racing where you want the bars much lower than the saddle for better aerodynamics."

The difference out on the road is a revelation. A body scan may sound steep at £50 but it can help prevent injury and fatigue related to a badly fitting bike.

Anyone looking to improve their performance can say with confidence they have the best set up for their body shape. Enthusiasts may spend hundreds of pounds buying equipment to shave grammes off their pride and joy, overlooking the fact they are losing power and speed through bad body geometry.

martin.sawden@archant.co.uk

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