Fitworks Cycling Support Shows There is More to Cycling than Just Pedaling

January 10, 2013

by Teya Vitu

You buy a bike. You get on and you ride it. You’ve been doing it without a second thought since you were a kid. You certainly never gave a thought whether the bike fit you.

Kurt Rosenquis'ts goal is to get you perfectly fitted on your bicycle.

Kurt Rosenquis’ts goal is to get you perfectly fitted on your bicycle.

That’s where Kurt Rosenquist comes in. The bread-and-butter for his Fitworks Cycling Support bicycle shop, 186 E. Broadway, is bike fitting. He also builds custom bikes and customizes bicycles for customers.

“Bike fitting is helping people understand how to use their body,” Rosenquist said. “Most come to me because they are hurting, they’re uncomfortable, they have knee pain or back pain. They are looking to resolve an issue.”

That’s because so many bikes out there aren’t the simple ten-speed from 30 years ago, a time when nobody but racers had bike clips to keep foot attached to pedal.

Now there’s so much more technology involved with a the standard road bike, but have today’s weekend riders in racer outfits given a thought to how there are positioned on their bike or how their bike is adjusted?

“A kid rides a bike better than an amateur recreational cycling enthusiast,” Rosenquist said. “As soon as you get to a bike with more sophisticated equipment, where you are attached to the bike in a specific position, you do have more of a chance of getting it wrong.”

Riding a bicycle may seem like a unique activity not akin to anything else. Maybe that’s why plenty of people don’t do it quite right.

Rosenquist has found that the ideal position on the bike quite resembles the baseball stance and tennis stance – the forward crouch. And the pedaling motion is not all that different from walking and running.

You might need a different saddle or saddle stem or different handle bars. But more likely all a rider needs is guidance on how to assume that baseball-tennis-running-walking stance and motion.

“Many of the comfort issues are how far they reach for the handle bars,” Rosenquist said. “People are reaching so far in front that it pulls them off the back.”

Case in point: Karen Smith, a University of Arizona clinical pharmacist. For years, she suffered from lower back and hamstring pain. She assumed it was from running. Rosenquist named her bicycling posture the culprit.

“I was riding a bike forever,” Smith said. “I was too stretched out. Kurt fitted me and my hamstring and lower back injury went away.”

Fitworks Cycling Support is a sister business to O2 Modern Fitness – or, more correctly, the two businesses are married. Rosenquist is married to O2 Modern Fitness owner Susan Frank, and from November 2009 to September 2012, Fitworks occupied a room at the back of O2.

Rosenquist moved his cycling shop across the courtyard out back to give both Fitworks and O2 more space. Now, Rosenquist has 1,500 square feet, within which he does the bike fittings, building customized bikes, and the space serves as a hangout for the O2 Modern Fitness/Maynards Market cycling team.

He even has a small selection of Cinelli, ARGON 18, Independent Fabrication and GIANT bicycles for sale.

“Bike sales have been steadily growing. I think it’s fun to do bike sales,” he said.

But, more often than not, Rosenquist is engaged in one of the 300-some bike fittings he does a year.

“A bike fitting takes 2-3 hours,” he said. “Most of it is not figuring out bike proportions to a person. It’s guiding them to understand their relationship to the bike. What I’m looking for in the pedal stroke is the ability to press with force on the pedal to keep the chain taut.”

That may sound easier than it is when your foot is clipped onto the pedal.

“It just takes a foot being a little off or the saddle being a little off to keep pressure from the pedal,” he said. “Most people, if they are clipped in, have some room for improvement, at the very least. The most obvious thing is they can go faster or are more comfortable.”

Rosenquist is an avid cyclist himself but, ironically, he usually walks to work. He and Susan Frank live in nearby Barrio Viejo.

“By the time you do this,” Rosenquist demonstrates lifting a leg over a bicycle frame, “you could have walked halfway to the shop.”

Fitworks Cycling Support is open by appointment. Contact Kurt Rosenquist at  906-0409 or kurt@fitworkscycling.com.