Why You Should Invest In A Professional Bike Fit With Natalie Collins

Did you know that you should be comfortable on your bike? That’s right–your saddle shouldnt hurt, your back shouldn’t throb, your hands shouldn’t be numb.

So many of us have these issues, and we just put up with them. But we shouldn’t!

Investing in a good bike fit is one of the best things you can do for yourself. In this episode, I interview Natalie Collins, a professional bike fitter, doctor of physical therapy, and owner of Pedal Fit in Denver and Golden, CO.

She shares why we should get a bike fit, what to expect from a fit, and much more.

natalie collins

Stuff We Talk About In This Episode

  • How to find a good bike fitter and what a bike fit should consist of.
  • Why an independent bike fitter is preferable to a bike fit at your local bike shop.
  • The most common issue women come to Natalie with. (Spoiler: it’s saddle issues).
  • Why measuring your sitbones is only one piece of the puzzle when it comes to picking a saddle.
  • Why bike brands need to offer their bikes in more frame sizes, and why components should not be one size fits all.
  • How women’s specific brands have (mostly) missed the mark.
  • When in the bike buying process you should get a bike fit.
  • And lots more…….

Where To Listen

listen on apple podcasts

Connect With Natalie & Pedal Fit

measuring during a bike fit

More Episodes You Might Like

About The Host

kristen bonkoski

Kristen Bonkoski is the founder and owner of Femme Cyclist.

An avid cyclist for a few decades now, she took to cycling during her late teen years — a time when she needed something to help boost her self-esteem and confidence.

Mission accomplished, the sport has become an important part of her life.  Kristen’s favorite disciplines are mountain biking and bike commuting, although you can also find her cranking out a century on her road bike and touring with her husband and son.  If it has to do with two wheels, she enjoys doing it.

Kristen is a certified USA Cycling coach, and she runs Rascal Rides, a website about biking with kids.

IG: @femme_cyclist

Full Transcript

Kristen  

Natalie Collins, thank you so much for being here today, I’m really excited to have this conversation with you. Bike fit is a topic that comes up over and over and over. And I’ve been looking for a female bike fitter to come on and answer some questions for us. So before we dive into that, can you just tell us a little bit about yourself?

Natalie  

Oh, my least favorite thing to do, but I will. So again, my name is Natalie Collins I own pedal fit, which is in Denver, Colorado and golden Colorado, and I’m a physical therapist and a bike fitter, we’ve been doing this for about 10 years. 

Natalie  

I love what I do, I do feel like there’s a lot of message that needs to get out to folks, I am shy, and I kind of like to hibernate into my own little world. And so, you know, I think this will be a good opportunity just to talk to folks about how they should feel on a bike and maybe make the the idea of bike fitting a little less daunting, because it can be really daunting for people both to find a good fitter and to know what good is. So that’s my dream.

Kristen  

Let’s start there. How do you find a bike fitter?

Natalie  

Oh, how do you find a bike fitter? You know, I love that question. I’ve never had to find one. I don’t feel like I’m an expert on this topic. 

Natalie  

But, you know, I think the message that everyone should get is that reputation should be much more important than the tool that the fitter is using. I mean, certainly the education that they have, and, you know, their ability to use tools and to fully understand you, as a human and the cyclist, that you are, are very important. 

Natalie  

And I think reviews really do represent people very, very well. And especially in as for a bike fitter, because it’s you’re gonna spend a lot of time with that individual. You know, it’s not like you walked into a coffee shop, had a bad experience and wrote a review, you’re spending a good amount of time and really investing a lot of your energy, obviously, your finances and your hopes into that individual. 

Natalie  

And so I think people are more inspired to write, very representing. I don’t even think that’s a word, but reviews that really represent their experience. Yeah. And I think that’s very important. And not that we should put all of our energy just into reviews. But I do think that asking folks in your area, understanding really what you want out of a bike fitting, and making sure that you match yourself with that individual. 

Natalie  

And then making sure that you’re not going to just be a number. And you’re not just going to be put into a box that you’ll have someone who listens to you that helps you understand how you should feel on the bike, and then really follows through on advocating for your comfort on the bike. And I think that’s all very important. And I know that’s clear as mud. But we all have some resources to help us find individuals or local cycling groups. 

Natalie  

If we’re lucky enough to have them and Google and you can always I think one of the best services that I can offer, folks, is a phone call before we even meet and feel out how that person listens to you and responds to you if they’re just trying to speak instead of to listen, you know, that might be a red flag unless that’s what you’re listening to, you know, looking for.

Kristen  

Something that makes your business, Pedal Fit a little different is that you’re an independent bike fit studio instead of being in a local bike shop.  Is that something you recommend looking for? Or what are the dangers I guess of going to a local bike shop?

Natalie  

Right, it’s easy for me to say, Yes, I think that you should look for an independent bike fitter. And yes, I do. But I am in a bike saturated area, I mean, you know, I could throw a stone and hit for bike shops right now. And, you know, not that I would ever want to throw a stone on a cyclist 15 cyclists on the road from where I’m at right now. So, you know, that’s easy for me to say, if you’re somewhere in a rural area, then you might have a fitter that needs to work out of a bike shop, because that’s the resource that they have. So I hate to just say, an independent bike fitter. 

Natalie  

But yeah, I mean, unfortunately, the way of bike fitting is that you can get sort of caught up in spending a good bit of time, energy and money on components, right. And so that is a benefit for bike shops financially to offer bike fitting, mainly to sell components. And I don’t want to say that every bike shop does, but you know, that is a concern. So if you have the opportunity to go to someone who’s an independent bike fitter, who’s a standalone, you know, they have enough reputation and clientele to just do bike fitting, I think that’s a big, big plus for sure.

Kristen  

For somebody who’s never had a bike fit before, what does it consist of? 

Natalie  

That’s a great question. What do I think it should consist of? Or what does it consist of? So those are two different things. 

Natalie  

I’m a physical therapist, and I really believe that, you know, I can never take that hat off. And I really have found over doing this for 10 years, that the body is adaptable, and the bike is only adjustable, right? And so, you know, we need to understand we need to have a process that helps us understand how that individual functions best in one environment. And what position are there injuries that are coming down the pipeline? Are there things about how they ride the bicycle, that could lead to injuries or that could lead just to performance limitations? 

Natalie  

And so I’m a big believer in a comprehensive assessment off of the bike. And to me that’s, you know, little less than half of the whole process because we can always fall back on? Is it the bike? Is it the body? Is it the combination in which direction are we going because we all want to be getting better, we want a really good return on investment. And in order to do that, I think we need to understand how the body is going to adapt.

So a comprehensive off bike assessment. In some cases, some people might need to work on a thing or two. I mean, most of us know that. And but a lot of us are guessing, right? So okay, well, I do 15 minutes of stretching a day. And unfortunately, what I find is that most people are going to stretch what they feel that stretching doesn’t always mean that that’s what they need to work on. Or maybe they don’t even need mobility or flexibility, maybe they need stability, or some strength work. 

Natalie  

And so really boiling it down to this is exactly what’s going to make you better. And this is what could make you worse, we’re going to complement that with your position. And we’re going to go from there. I think that simplifies things so beautifully. For people, I think that Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication. And a lot of us get really overwhelmed with the self care aspect that goes along with cycling. And if we can have that boil down to something that’s just really simplified and empowering, it’s fantastic. 

Natalie  

Then we match that with the on bike component, and the on bike component, you really should have someone who understands both the dynamic nature in the static nature of a bike position, and measurement should be taken adjustments, and then I think you should reassess. And for me, I always look at bike fitting as a process. So someone gets on the bike, there’s a good bit of measurements that are taken corrections, part adjustments, shoe modifications, cleat adjustments, and then I have the rider get back on. And once I get you know, we continue through that cycle, that process, once we get really close, where I can start to see that they’re their body language and their posture, or I know it sounds corny, but basically communicating that they’re feeling much better. 

Natalie  

Then I like to set expectations. And I think expectations are probably the most important part of a really good bike fitting. A lot of times people get overwhelmed with their responsibility of communicating how they feel with bike fitters. That’s what I hear a lot. And so, I like to take some of that stress off and say, Okay, this is really how you should feel on the bike. This is how your spine should allow you to stack. This is where you should have pressure on your saddle. This is where you should not have pressure on your saddle. This is your weight distribution. 

Natalie  

And so I go through and ask those questions in a really have individualized approach based on your contact points, so that you have those expectations, not just while you’re right there in the bicycle fitting, where there’s all kinds of distractions and things you’re trying to remember, after you go ride, and then I think one of my favorite things to do is encourage people to come back in for a follow up. And so that’s included within what people pay for their initial session with me. And because that just reiterates, the process that bike fitting really is. 

Kristen  

what are some of the most common issues that folks have when they come to you that they’re hoping to address with a bike fit? 

Natalie  

Oh, great question. I mean, I would say number one is saddle and all the things that are related to growing numbness, tingling, saddle sores, just playing discomfort and conflict, which we need in the saddle. And then even those folks who think that they’re relatively comfortable in the saddle, but are feeling, you know, numbness and tingling in the hands or neck pain, or back pain, oftentimes, it’s a compensation from really not fully trusting and be being supported by the saddle. 

Natalie  

And so you know, if you’re, if you’re really just asking me to pinpoint the number one problem, I would say, you know, saddle and things surrounding it, but just listing off injuries, I would say, you know, hip and back pain, which sometimes are synonymous, and sometimes they’re separate. Neck pain, numbness, tingling, hands, feet, and groin will be the most common symptomsfor saddles. 

Kristen  

I went out to our community on Instagram and asked, you know, I’m gonna be interviewing a bike fitter, what questions do you have, and almost all of the responses had to do with saddles. So do you have Is there a saddle or a couple of saddles that you recommend more often than others? 

Natalie  

You know, I didn’t really, I’m just saying this off the cuff here. But, you know, to say something like that, it would be like saying, this is the pair of pants that I think everyone wear. I mean, it really is that specific, and that just like our bodies have different shapes, so to our perineum, limbs and we all have, we know that we know that our tissue has different shapes, our pelvis. obliquity, is have different shapes. We have different tissue in different areas to shoot meaning fat in some areas, and no fat and other areas. Sometimes our thighs are thicker, or abdomens are thicker whatever it is, or maybe we have no paddock. 

Natalie  

So no, I can’t tell you one saddle that works for everybody. But I can’t tell you Common Problems and Solutions was I think that a lot of people that come in to see me are on the right saddle, just the saddle is positioned in the wrong way. So that can be something that’s kind of a message I want a lot of people to hear because so often I have people that come in and they’ve purchased 10 saddles, and they’ve tried all these saddles, and they’re like, I’ve tried them and they don’t work.

Well, that is unlike putting on a pair of pants because you put on a pair of pants, you know if they button you know, if they fall down when you’re moving, you know, they you know, for too tight in one area or not in another with a saddle, we have to position that saddle in a way that we can support, the issue will tuberosities or the sit bones. And once we do that, then that’s going to take pressure off the perineum. The saddle is just a little bit too tilted up or tilted down. All of that goes by the wayside. Now we’re having, you know, we’re kind of sitting on a hill, so to speak, and everything’s rolling forward and we’re getting too much pressure or perineum, or so on and so forth. 

Natalie  

The other common problem that I see is that women fall into the slippery slope of women’s specific saddles. And unfortunately, we’re on a trend right now that women’s specific saddles are a little softer, and a little too wide, believe it or not. And so a wide saddle can be just as problematic as a saddle that’s too narrow. And so, I think what’s important is to set expectations really on what you should feel on a saddle, you should be able to maintain a really nice healthy pelvis position, meaning your pelvis shouldn’t be tilted too far forward. Your pelvis shouldn’t have to tilt too far backward. You should be able to hold that neutral position. You should be able to unweight your hands so you shouldn’t have to use your hands to push backwards. 

Natalie  

That’s probably the number one take home message I want people to know about saddles and comfort. If you have to use your hands in your arms to push backwards hmm And then then you are not, you’re either not on the right saddle or the saddle is not in the right position. Okay. And then about 60 to 70% of your weight bearing should really be supported under the ischial tuberosities, or the sit bones.

And again, that should be without having to push back with your hands without having to round your back. No more than about 20 to 30% of your weight bearing should be through your perineum, and specifically perineum being your soft tissue, the vascularization, our soft tissue are very important tissue that nobody wants to sit on. Because the C and our GI system and blood flow and urination and all those types of things, we don’t want to be sitting on that tissue. And then even forward, you know, the first third of the saddle, basically the nose, we should really only have about zero to 10% on the nose. 

Natalie  

And just to clarify, when I give those representations of percentages, that represents almost every community of cyclists except for triathletes. With triathletes, were going to have a little bit more for forward bias on the saddle, although that should still be represented in the bones. But in some cases, we start to get a little bit of pressure in the pubic bone, as long as it’s not soft tissue that’s just a behind the pubic bone, but actually resting on the bone. In some cases, that’s okay.

Kristen  

We’ve talked a lot about your sit bones. Obviously, if you go in and get a professional bike fit, you get your sit bones measured.  is it something that you do at home very accurately,

Natalie  

I think that measuring your sit bones is a piece of the puzzle, let’s just say this, okay? Measuring your sit bones is a piece of the puzzle. If you were to send one, female cyclists out to six people who advertise that they measure sit bones, I guarantee you, you’d have probably six different measurements. So keep that in mind. 

Natalie  

And then just to take that measurement and apply it to saddles, is almost impossible, because, you know, let’s say you have a specialized power, that is a 143 power, if you look because that’s a very common popular saddle, even if it’s made in mimic or mirror, which are some of those new, cool materials. If you look at the back of that specialized power saddle, what you’ll find is that the usable width of that saddle is quite wide, right. So if they advertised that as a 143, it doesn’t sloped down very much on the sides on what I would call, you know, the back third of that saddle, it stays relatively usable, right. And then it’s rather narrow through the middle section. And so you can actually use the wider part of the saddle, right?

Natalie  

 If you look at a specialized power in a 155, right, which is, oh, gosh, okay, I’ve got a wide set, but I need to go up in size. Actually, the usable width, this is the wildest thing. But the usable width of that saddle is about the same as the 143. If not less in some of that, because you, you’ll see that that saddle tends to flare out a lot on the wings. And it’s hard to get into the hind third of that saddle. And it requires a lot of pushing back with your hands because as you pedal, your inter trochanteric, which is just basically the inside of your femur or where your traditional underwear line would be, is interfered with. Right, and so it scoots you forward.

So I hesitate to get to really put all of our eggs in one basket as in a measuring sit bone width isn’t important. I do think it’s important, I think it is absolutely a piece of the puzzle. It doesn’t represent shape, it doesn’t represent position on the bike. And there’s a lot of inaccuracies on how its measured. 

Natalie  

So now that I gave that disclaimer, my stump speech here, I will say you can measure your own sit bones you know, there are a lot of them, you can look up online, how to measure your own sit bones in there all kinds of different techniques. And it really depends on if you have tissue that’s going to be in the way or not, you know, you could sit on a piece of cardboard, put three or four pieces of cardboard together and sit on those and try to make a good impression of your sit bones. You can sit on a piece of paper and then see where your the impact is of your sit bones.

But a lot of that has to do with your trunk angle, right. So if I’m sitting straight up and I sit on a piece of cardboard or a piece of paper or something that’s gonna measure the back half of my sippin, which is going to represent a much wider part of our sit bone. Because I’m going to overgeneralize This is not 100% accurate, but think about if you put your thumbs together and you’re in your pinky and you’re putting your fingers together and sort of make a triangle that’s similar to the way that our pelvis is shaped. Right?

And so if you think about it, if I’m sitting straight up, I’m going to be on the wider part of the pelvis, the triangle aspect of that pelvis, as I lean more forward, I’m going to be on the narrower part of that measurement. And so thinking about okay, sort of matching your trunk angle that you have on your bike with the position your trunk is in, when you measure those sit bones is very important.

You know, if you’re riding a mountain bike, typically, you’re going to be a lot more upright. If you’re on a, you know, aggressive road bike, that you can do some quick racing or something, you’re going to be much more forward, right. So thinking about the position that your trunk is in, when you measure those sit bones, even if you go to a bike shop and have them measure, try to represent that trunk angle, the best you can.

then the other thing I would say is actually sit on your fingers. So you can just tuck your hands right underneath you find your sit bone, you can do one at a time, right. So find your sit bone mark that position, what you’re going to find is that the sit bone is actually wider than we think, you know, if we look at our knuckles, it’s a little wider than than our knuckles, right.

And so what I like to do is make sure that I’m finding the inner half of the width of those sit bones, because that’s really what needs to be supported on the saddle. A lot of that’s why you get such different measurements, trunk angle changes, and then also where people are measuring this advance. So I would measure the inner half of the sit bone. And then really make sure that trunk angle that you’re using on the bike is what you’re using to measure your sit bones.

Kristen  

You had mentioned a little bit ago, you know, one of the problems is that we’ve become so obsessed with the idea of women’s specific saddles, when you know, you should be looking at a full array of saddles, depending on your body type. How does that apply, or like what is your philosophy on women’s specific bikes? Are women getting better fit from buying a women’s specific bike? Or is it just a marketing kind of ploy?

Natalie  

Well, unfortunately, the direction the industry has gone is it’s become more of a marketing ploy. Do I think that there is a ton of potential for a women’s specific geometry of bike and bias of part size? You know, component tree? Yes, I think there’s a ton of potential there. 

Natalie  

But, you know, I also really like the idea of things that are not women’s specific. I’d rather see instead of seeing three women’s specific frames of one bike and three men specific frames of the same bike, I’d rather see six different sizes of those bikes. Because, you know, it’s not just women that needs specific geometry men do too. And I think it would really support the industry a lot better.

And unfortunately, I mean, we’ve all heard the shrink in pink, a statement about the direction that a lot of women’s specific companies have gone. I don’t want to say generally that women’s specific bikes are terrible. That is not, there are certainly a few companies out there who do make some good modifications to geometry for women, but I just much rather see six different sizes, or seven or eight different sizes of the same frame to represent people of, you know, not just different sizes, but different postures and abilities and things like that.

Kristen  

What about the components? Because you’ve mentioned six different sizes of frames, a lot of times we’ll see like the extra large frame and the extra small frame being speced with the same components. What what do you see being swapped out a lot for smaller women?

Natalie  

Well, that was a wonderful question. You know, the same rings true about componentry as well. We just need more sizes. Yeah. 

Natalie  

What one, you know, COVID worked out very well for the cycling industry in that it brought a lot of people a new newcomers to our sport, which is wonderful. But one thing that it hurt us in is that they just they had more reason to just make average size components. Because we were so behind on our production of componentry.

They said okay, well now we’re just going to make a ton of these three sizes instead of making the whole range of sizes and that has really hurt a smaller women in smaller men as well of course, but we’re talking about women here but the two main components that I think need to improve with regard to our offerings on sizes are handlebar, width and shape, obviously three, handlebar width and shape, hood size and shape. If we’re talking about road bikes or gravel bikes, and crank arm links and And there are companies, for example, I want I definitely want to make a shout out to one company in particular roder cycles, rotor makes componentry that are outside of the typical size range. And that has helped so many people, especially gravel and road cyclists, and triathletes as well, we’re really behind on our mountain bike sizing. 

Natalie  

Even though most of the industry you know, if you buy a company that a lot of people are familiar with would be Yeti, right? In my hometown, even on an extra large frame, they’re putting a 170 millimeter crank on there. Right. And if you know much about crank length, you know, that’s traditionally much shorter than what they would put on there. Well, if you’re putting a 170 millimeter crank on a bike that’s intended to fit someone who’s six, five, why are we putting a 165 millimeter or even a 170 millimeter crank arm on a bike that’s intended to fit someone who’s four, six? Yeah, that just doesn’t make sense. Yes.

And so, you know, the bike industry is going to, they’re always going to use financial reasons for incentives and motivations. And so, but if you’re not making the componentry, how do you know that it will not or it will sell? So yeah, that crank arms are the hardest thing. Hardest component that I would say, to source, although rotor is a wonderful company. And I just really appreciate that they make those smaller sizes. There are other companies as well that are doing that. But Reuters seems to make it the most straightforward for us. We’re really behind, like I said, on mountain bike, crankarm, lynx, and handlebar wits. For the most part, we can find handlebars that are narrow enough. For those who need narrower handlebars, they’re just harder to source and sell out a little quicker and things like that.

Kristen  

If I’m going to buy a brand new bike, at what point in the bike buying process, should I be getting a bike fit? Should I come in before buying it? Should I get the bike and then bring it in? What do I do?

Natalie  

Yeah. Okay, so we talked about pants earlier. So why not just stay in that same conversation? You know, it’s not as simple as just buying clothes, and then going to the tailor and having them tailor those clothes. Yeah. Because material is always adjustable, it’s always we can add more takes them away, whereas the frame of the bike has its limitations. 

Natalie  

And having a frame with a geometry, that’s not just going to fit us but it’s also fun to ride is really important. If we end up having to put a stem on a bike that’s so short, that it makes the bike feel, you know, like riding a pogo stick. Well, that’s not fun brand on a bike, you know, and then you’re making this bike feel really crummy to ride even if it fits you. Well, yeah. So I’m very much an advocate for fit first.

In fact, what I like to do, and I challenge other fitters to do the same, I basically give folks an hour to an hour and a half of a session. And I discount that session significantly if they go ahead and buy a bike fit from me for the future. And then I like to be their advocate, and not only tell them which bikes could work for them, but why.

And that’s important, because not everybody wants to buy a new bike, some people want to buy a used bike. And so explaining geometry explaining how that individual needs a certain geometry, what will happen if they get a geometry that’s different, right, and they can make their own decisions? Yeah. So this is what happens if you get a geometry that’s very different if the stack and reach are different. This is what happens if you get the geometry we’re looking for.

And I think that is very empowering for people. Because otherwise, what we know is availability, color cost, right? Yeah, yeah, in marketing and advertising. And we know that I think we’re becoming a wiser generation that marketing and advertising are very misleading. And so I think getting a fit first is very, very important. And it just makes the whole process so much more fun and empowering, and, and so on.

Kristen  

Would you I mean, obviously, this isn’t going to be for everybody. But would you recommend if you have the opportunity to build up a bike from scratch, like would that get you a better fit?

Natalie  

It’s very individualized. Okay, right. It’s a matter of calculating the costs. If you are someone who just does not fit on traditional bikes, or you’re just always having to switch out this part or that part, then yes, thinking about it ahead of time is very helpful, both financially, saving you some energy and then also thinking about which bikes are compatible with different parts and where you can source those parts and thinking ahead on being able to get those parts. If you’re someone who just does you know, that just fits bikes right off the shelf, then it’s probably not for you unless you have specific desires about the parts that you’re using, you know, fancier wheels or whatever it is. 

Natalie  

And so it is very individualized. And I think that’s where doing a fit first approach is very helpful. Because, you know, I wouldn’t want to buy a bike and then have to replace absolutely everything, or build a bike from scratch when I really didn’t need to.

And so I think walking through with someone who fully understands you, not just your position on the bike, but how your body is going to adjust matches that with your goals and your expectations and your riding styles, and sort of meets you where you’re at with regard to, okay, some of us go through times when we’re not on the bike as much, or maybe our body has a tendency to change shape or size. And that’s okay, that’s what our bodies are supposed to do. And so understanding really what the long term goal is, in addition to the short term presentation is very important.

Kristen  

How much should someone expect to pay for a bike fit first for the service, but then also, like, how much does a person generally end up having to spend on component tree to get the right bike fit?

Natalie  

Well, that’s a great question. You know, I hate to use analogies every single time, but I think it’s important because I’m not talking to people in Denver, Colorado, and Golden, Colorado, you know, I know that market very well. Yeah, I can tell you, that, but rather people all over the country, and hopefully all over the world. And so it’s a lot like trying to buy a house. You know, I mean, you’re gonna get what you pay for. So I need to understand, Okay, well, if I buy a house where the foundation is falling, and I’m gonna have to replace the foundation, what’s the cost in my region to replace that foundation? It’s similar with, you know, buying a bike and also having a fit. Sure.

But I think that you do get what you pay for both in componentry. And in the person that you’re hiring to help you have a good relationship with your bike and with cycling and pickup. And so it’s just hard for me to say that, because it’s so region specific.

Kristen  

Understood. Yeah. What else have I not asked that you think I should have asked? They would like women to know about bike fit? 

Natalie  

I mean, there’s so much to know, I think that the biggest thing is that don’t be intimidated by the process. Hopefully, the individual that you pick to work with, chooses curiosity over judgment. And I hope that you feel that way. I also hope that their ego is much smaller than their ears, right? So they want to listen, and they don’t want to make you feel bad for asking questions.

Make sure that you advocate for yourself, there is a there is a once you’ve had a good fit, and I say the word fit. But once you had a really good relationship with your bike, you felt really comfortable on it, it’s opened up a lot of doors for you, and you enjoy cycling even more, because there’s no conflict between you and your bike, then you have those expectations, and you want that to be reproduced. But those folks who haven’t experienced that it can be really scary and really daunting. 

Natalie  

And so make sure you advocate for yourself and ask questions. And if you’re not hearing the right answers, then ask someone else that really should know, not just Uncle Jim, or, you know, your friend, Tina, who rides in your group who’s never had a problem with her bike, but you know, look online and read the you listen to these kinds of podcasts, obviously, you are especially if you got to the end of this, but read articles and and understand that you can feel good on your bike. And that should be your expectation.

Natalie  

And especially if you’re working with a female, or someone I shouldn’t even say a female, but someone who understands us, you know, silly questions or not silly questions when it comes to a bike fit. Some of the questions I’m asked are, should I wear a tampon when I’m writing? You know, is bladder leakage normal while I’m writing? How do I you know, men adjust their general fetal tissue? How do we adjust our genital tissue? And if so, how do we do that? And what’s the proper way to sit on a bike? What’s the proper way to sit on a saddle? What should a saddle feel like? Which bib shorts should I be wearing? And how should they fit? How do I know if they fit? And how do I know if they don’t fit? And, you know, I have a saddle sore? Do you understand how to take care of that?

And if so, let me know when that individual should be able to provide you some resources or some information and if they think it’s beyond their scope of practice, then they should be sending you to the dermatologist or someone who didn’t really take care of you. And is it normal to have interference with intimacy, you know, after riding. No.

Natalie  

Those are the kinds of questions that you should be able to ask I think is very, very important. And we should get that in our local community. But we should also get that for people who are helping us position ourselves on our bike.

Kristen  

I love that. I think, you know, I mentioned to you before we started recording this podcast today that in my local town, I can’t there are no female bike fitters, they’re all men, and I would feel so much more comfortable asking those questions you just mentioned as examples to a woman. Right? And it doesn’t seem like there are as many females in this in bike fitting as there are men. Is that do you think that’s a fair assessment?

Natalie  

Um, I mean, I’m biased because I know in a, you know, I’m in female fitter groups, and I can name a few and feel free to email me and ask me, if there’s one in your area, I can try to put you in touch. Okay, you’re behind. I don’t like to overgeneralize. But I’ll speak for myself, I am not one to really put myself out there. I stay very busy. What I do, I like taking care of my clients. But doing things like this podcast, it really intimidate me. And I just like to stay in my lane and not cause conflict. But I do see the value that it can provide to other females and other cyclists in general. And I wonder if some other females are like that, as well. Yeah. 

Natalie  

And so and especially in a very intimidating and cutthroat industry, like bike fitting, I mean, there’s a lot of ego. I’m not putting anybody else down specifically. But when I first got into this, I mean, I, I encountered a lot of conflict from other fitters in the area and, and so I just sort of stay in my lane and do my own thing and just try to help the people that I help. So I wonder if there’s a lot that a lot of that occurs really all over the country, and maybe that’s why you don’t see a lot of representation of female bike fitters, but we are out there.

Okay, we are definitely out there just like physical therapist, who are good bike fitters. Not every physical therapist is a good bike fitter, right? Yeah, not every good bike fitter is a good physical therapist. But we are out there. And like I said, feel free if you want to use me as a resource might take me a few days to respond. But you can always do that.

Kristen  

Amazing. Thank you for coming on and representing the female thing. Um, I’ve got three final questions before I ask those where can people connect with you? How can they find more out about pedal fit, if they’re in the Denver area?

Natalie  

Denver, we’re golden, hopefully. And I have people that traveled from all over the country. Okay, welcome to do that. I know that take takes resources, and I can help you find those if you need to. But you’re welcome to come in. And if that’s the case, obviously, you’ll need to plan ahead. And so you can feel free to reach out to me my email address is Natalie, in a ta li e, at pedal fit p t.com. You can always just go to pedal fit pt.com and shoot me an email and you’ll reach me as well.

And I have another bike fitter who’s coming on. She’s a physical therapist, and she can help answer some questions too. She’s a pro cyclist. So we make a really good team. And, you know, if we don’t have the resources or the information that you need, we’ll try to put you in touch with those who do. And yeah, just trying to get better about answering these types of questions for for different mediums.

Kristen  

Very good. Okay, first question for you is what bike or bikes do you ride?

Natalie  

Oh, that’s a great question. Well, here’s my current answer, because I find bikes to be a lot like music. Maybe I’m in the mood for one thing, maybe I’m not. But we work with mosaic cycles, who is a custom bespoke custom bike builder here in Boulder, Colorado, and they do some absolutely gorgeous work. Their name is mosaic cycles, because they do these incredible paint jobs. And so I finally treated myself to a fully custom geometry. It’s not for everyone, but it was definitely for me, because as I had mentioned to you, before we started the podcast, I am in a larger body. And one of the reasons I got into this because I’ve got some issues myself. And so the custom bike was something that I really wanted to do, I use that as both my gravel bike and my road bike.

And then my mountain bike is a pivot switchblade. Also because I’m in a larger body. And so pivot does a really nice job both representing women and also making frames for people. Similar to what we’re talking about. They make frames for people who are very small and more or very large. And then the frames that they do make feel sturdy for for me in a larger body. I’ve never felt like I was going to break the frame. And I appreciate that so I’m with them and I absolutely love my bike.

Kristen  

 Second question is what where is your favorite place you’ve ever ridden your bike?

Natalie  

Oh, ever ridden my bike? Okay. Wow. This is a great question. My favorite place I’ve ever written, My gravel bike will go international on this one. Last year we went to Slovenia. And I learned so much about the culture there in Slovenia, and, you know, sort of dismissed a lot of the thoughts I had about Eastern Europe. And it was incredible. We stayed on these. They’re called tourist farms, which, you know, if you live in Indiana, or in your case, I think you said Idaho. The word tourist is not something that’s very pleasant. These were very different. They grew all their own food. It was like a farm to table be a bed and breakfast that was privately owned, and we would go from place to place, village to village and it was absolutely incredible. I would highly recommend it. Slovenia.

Natalie  

And then my favorite place is mountain bike. Oh, how do I even choose? Like choosing between your children? I would probably say I’ve had the best experiences in a steamboat, Colorado. I really love steamboat. I actually love to gravel right there as well. But I really just love steamboat. I love snowman. I mean, I’ve just any opportunity to ride your bike is incredible.

Kristen  

Final question for you is what is your favorite thing about riding your bike?

Natalie  

Oh, my favorite thing about riding my bike is the ability to escape. Society for the most part, to get out in nature, to go fast, to push myself to break beyond barriers. And, you know, tackle anxiety and also just be a representation of someone who is fat and on a bike and out there kicking other people’s butts, even though I’m larger than them or female or that kind of thing. That’s pretty cool to me.

Are You Listening To The Femme Cyclist Podcast?!?

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A podcast for women who love bicycles! We we celebrate all forms of riding and all forms of women, so whether you’re a road cyclist, mountain biker, or bike commuter, you’ll find your community here. Each week we’ll week bring you interviews from inspiring women, and offer tips and tricks to help you thrive on the bike.

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