ErgoFit with Biosport

After a couple of months of cycling with a sore knee and hoping that it would magically clear up – silly girl – I headed to Biosport to have my first bike fit.

Biosport is situated inside of Chris Willemse Cycles in Bellville, the largest and most well known cycling outlet in the area. Here, Theunis Fourie and Liné Griffiths partner at Biosport to provide cycling race support, sports massage, personal training and bike fit services.

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I met with Theunis, who was trained as a conditioning coach through NETSA (National Exercise and Sports Trainers Association) in the USA. An avid trail runner for years, Theunis crossed over into the world of cycling after a knee op and hasn’t looked back.

At 3pm the uneaten sandwich on the desk confirmed my suspicions that Theunis is a busy man. It turns out his days are extremely full and he relayed how he and Liné did 112 bike fitment sessions in December, while the local competition reported only 35. He ascribes Biosport’s popularity to the well priced service, being affiliated with a well known retailer and very much to the choice of bike fit system, ErgoFit, “the best in South Africa”.

The ErgoFit system was designed by Dr Jeroen Swart, renowned sports physician and exercise physiologist at the Sports Science Institute in Newlands, Cape Town.

It is a dynamic fit system that makes use of scientific equations that take into consideration: your age, gender, cycling history, weekly load, hamstring and back flexibility, leg length, arm length and neuromuscular control to work out the most efficient and comfortable bike set-up for an individual.

So, how does it work?
First Theunis asked the standard set of ErgoFit questions, including my age, how long I’ve been cycling for and how many hours I spend on the bike each week. He captured all the data into the ErgoFit programme on his laptop.

My height and weight was measured and then I was directed to a table (similar to a doctor’s table) where Theunis set about measuring the length of my arms and legs and got me to do various stretches to check my back and hamstring flexibility, which including touching my toes. His remark, “You ladies are all the same, flexible”.

Theunis then checked my cleat set-up by feeling for the ball of my foot on the side of the cycling shoe and placing a sticker on these spots. He then checked to see if the cleats were aligned in the proper position. Perfect.

cleat fitting, bike fit
[The more specific BikeFit system (also offered by Biosport) is a American program that includes looking at knee and ankle alignment as you pedal and uses cleat wedges, where necessary, to create a neutral foot position throughout the pedaling rotation, to provide more comfort and power.]

After I’d been measured, the focus shifted to my bike that was secured to an indoor trainer. Using a self-leveling laser, alignments and measurements pertaining to my bike set-up were taken.

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I was then instructed to hop on the bike as Theunis needed to asses my cycling technique. I pedalled for a few minutes while my movements where being recorded and the video displayed on the wall-mounted screen in front of me. It turns out that I had a bad habit of pedaling with my toes pointing down slightly (instead of keeping my feet more parallel to the ground). Correcting this would mean a greater power output.

Following this, I was measured with a electronic goniometer , while on the bike – a device used to measure joint angles or range-of-motion (in degrees). After assessing all the information, Theunis informed me that my saddle was too low (a rookie mistake that I thought I had already fixed. It turns out that I needed to be sitting higher still). I am also ever so slightly overstretched on my frame and this can result in backache. To compensate for this I had already fitted a shorter stem, although I am still a little stretched out. Fortunately I haven’t suffered from any cycling related backache but it is something to bear in mind when I look at getting a new bike.

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Theunis corrected my saddle height, which in turn also corrected my drop (measurement from saddle to handle bar height) resulting in my legs being a lot straighter when fully extended on the down stroke. He suggested that I do a long ride in the next few days and see how my knee responded. He added that he prefers to make a few smaller adjustments and let the rider try them out and then work towards the perfect angles rather than make larger adjustments in one sweep. Once the rider has adjusted to the new set-up, further tweeks can be made if necessary.

I left Biosport with new found knowledge to help make my cycling experience a better one. Now, a few weeks later, the pain in my knee is virtually gone. It’s amazing how much difference one small adjustment can make.

To book a ErgoFit bikefit session, contact Theunis on 0826873472 or e-mail biosportsa@gmail.com

Sample report
After completing an ErgoFit session you can request the report to be e-mailed to you.