"It's just not right," I said to Sam as we were testing out the new build up of the recently returned to us Surly. "I can tell that there is too much pressure on my hands and that on a long ride, it's not going to work." These sorts of conversations are quite typical, actually, in our household. We will make the smallest of changes and it's as though a whole new world opens up. Literally. We can move a saddle, handlebars, stem, millimeters (or smaller amounts) and I will experience such relief. I honestly have thought for many years that I am completely crazy and that none of the seemingly very small adjustments to my bikes were actually making a difference. That all changed on a bike shop visit a few months ago when I was informed that I am what the shop guys refer to as a "micro adjuster."
Although I haven't actually sought out employment with my newly discovered special "skill," it did help me understand that I am not crazy (well, at least not in that aspect of life), and that these very small shifts in seating, handlebars, brakes, and so on are actually doing something to help me find the best place for my body. In many ways though, I am still amazed that this is a reality for me.
For instance, in the conversation I started with for this post, we ended up lowering the saddle approximately 1 mm, and suddenly it was as though the pressure was fine on my hands. I was in such disbelief over it that I asked Sam to get on the bike and try it out. As he has said, we could move a lot of things on his bikes and he wouldn't even notice, and I think he had a very similar experience riding the Surly. It's difficult for me to explain how much of a difference that small change made, but I've decided that it doesn't really matter if it makes sense or not... what does matter is that finding the right fit is possible, but patience must be had (unfortunately, not always a trait I'm known for practicing). In addition, having someone with the tolerance to ride along and let me make these tiny adjustments can be challenging, but I am pretty lucky in that regard.
The biggest thing I have taken from this discovery is a lesson that I think runs across the spectrum of sensitivity: If you're not comfortable on your bike, take the time to make the adjustments (or find someone who can help you do so). After all, it's not fun to ride in pain.