With more news on the 2014 SweetSpot Cycling Book of the Year on the way next month, in the run up to Christmas we’ve plenty more cycling book reviews on the way, the latest featuring Bike Fit, by Phil Burt.

The Head Physiotherapist at British Cycling, Burt’s book enjoys testimonials from the likes of Sir David Brailsford (“With this book, Phil has confirmed that he is at the top of his field in the world”) and author Richard Moore (“What Phil Burt doesn’t know about bike position probably isn’t worth knowing: all his knowledge and his years of experience are distilled in this book”).

Check out the review of Bike Fit below, from SweetSpot’s Guy Elliott, and don’t forget to check out further reviews from 2014 at the foot of the article, and look out for upcoming reviews, including Ned Boulting’s new title.

Bike Fit, by Phil Burt
Out Now, Published by Bloomsbury, £18.99
Review by Guy Elliott
Available from all good bookshops, and online from Amazon

It was only a few years ago that anyone who took part in road cycling and wore lycra was considered a geek and something out of the ordinary – a target for “Do you shave your legs?” and ‘Get off and milk it’ – but now everyone seems to be riding top-end road bikes and stacking the miles in for yet another Etape or Dragon Ride.  How life has changed!

But there is another fundamental difference – just a few years ago riders would almost always come up through a club system where they typically learned their cycling on club runs with advice being passed down from more experienced riders and that included such fundamentals as how to fit cleats correctly and how to get the best sized bike set up to fit you.  Nowadays that advice is often not available as riders enter the sport through different channels and perhaps it was not even the right advice anyway – it would seem not by reading Phil Burt’s excellent book on Bike Fit for the modern-day cyclist!

There can be no one better to give advice on all matters physiologically related to cycling.  The author has worked for the British Cycling World Class Performance set-up for many years and has become a trusted confidante and adviser to such eminent global superstars as Hoy, Pendleton, Trott, Wiggins, Thomas, Swift and many others of the world-class cyclists that Britain now has.  And during this period of analysing every possible area of marginal gain that can be achieved it quickly becomes clear in the book how correct positioning on the bike can make fundamental improvements to performance regardless of your level of ability.  The book explains in clear and simple language some of the fundamentals around physiology and the various areas that should be looked at to optimise your riding position.  Whilst the author’s expertise leaps out of every page he has done an excellent job of putting this all in language that is easily understandable and, more importantly, useable by everyone.  

Each area of potential improvement is broken down such as saddle height, handlebar set-up, shoe-positioning, cleat adjustment, handlebar width, angle and reach and so on so it is easy to absorb the book in segments even though each segment logically has to fit together to create the total ‘solution’.  Of particular interest to many ‘Etape—level’ road cyclists will be the pages covering typical problems such as how to address lower back ache and it is also interesting to read the ‘myth busters’, which dismantle many of the pieces of advice passed down from one club cyclist to another.  You may also find out whether you are a “micro-adjuster” or a “macro-absorber” but you’ll have to read the book to put you out of your misery in trying to work out what these terms mean!

Professional bike fitting has become a big-ticket item these days with many bike shops offering the service and these can often cost several hundred pounds. This book offers you one of the finest sports physiotherapists in the world sharing all of his expertise in cycle-fit with you for under £20 – now that has to be a marginal gain doesn’t it!

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