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I've been road cycling since July 2017. I am an overweight guy, the cycling has helped shed some kilos but I'm not at my ideal weight yet, and most of my weight is stored in my belly. A month after getting my bike, I got a professional bike fit done, and it has made me very comfortable on my bike. However, when I go on group rides I see the more experienced riders always get into a TT position (forearms on handlebars) during long stretches of roads. I have tried to get into that position but its uncomfortable, and my peddling becomes extremely inefficient. My question, is this because i'm overweight and lack flexibility, and this will just come with time, or is my bike fit wrong?

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    Do your fellow riders have TT bars / aerobars? Cos forearms on the tops is a bit risky, especially on a group ride when there are others in close proximity. You can achieve 80% of those results by using the drops and keeping your elbows in. – Criggie Oct 31 '17 at 2:57
  • @Criggie no, when they do this they are long empty stretches of roads and usually ahead of the pack. – AJ S. Oct 31 '17 at 4:28
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    Were you going full tilt when you tried to get into that position or were you doing it at a casual pace. That position isn’t easy to hold, or comfortable for that matter, at a casual pace. At hard pace, like riding off the front, it is much easier to hold a closed body position like the one you described. – Rider_X Oct 31 '17 at 5:50
  • Stating the obvious, but don't try to enforce a position on you. Better ride comfortably than making your back, wrists and neck suffer to the point where you're not enjoying it. Leaning forward will come by itself over time if it needs to. Personally, I am a fit rider with +15y of practice and had to change the stem on my race bike because I found my position to be too leaned forward and uncomfortable. If you can't sell your bike, do everything you can to have a more upright position, by changing the stem or going for a flat bar. Happy riding. – Stanislasdrg Oct 31 '17 at 16:47
  • What @Rider_X said, but also: A belly can get in the way of such a position very fast, I think. I sometimes ride with the forearms on the handlebars when I'm in a hurry and my upper legs almost touch my belly even though my fat layer is only like 2cm. And yes it certainly does take flexibility! – Nobody Oct 31 '17 at 17:12
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A bike fit is not intended to make any position you can adopt on your bike work.

If the bike fitter did their job correctly, then would have set you up for your current level of flexibility, strength and desired riding style. You say you are 'very comfortable', presumably in the position you ride in most of the time, so the bike fit should be good.

If you have only been cycling regularly since the summer, starting from less than ideal physical condition, I would not be at all surprised that getting into a slammed position on the bike is going to feel pretty horrible.

The good news is that you can lose weight and improve strength and flexibility over time, and you will be find it easier to adopt a more aggressive position.

  • This is good to know! at least now I have the peace of mind that getting into the slammed position can be worked on! Thanks for all your help! – AJ S. Oct 30 '17 at 22:04
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Regardless of your weight, holding an aerodynamic position isn't easy: it requires some core strength and flexibility. Even strong cyclists can have trouble with it. This video (jump to about 4:25) shows how much trouble a guy who can ride at 300 W (that's strong) can have holding a tuck for even a few minutes.

So what I'm saying is, don't stop working on it, but remember you've got lots of company.

  • The method used in that video to measure CdA on the velodrome is linked to in the last paragraph of this bicycles.SE answer – R. Chung Oct 30 '17 at 23:50
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    Wait so the guys in my group rides aren't getting into this position for comfort but rather for speed? I just figured tjey went into that position because they were tired...wow how naive of me! – AJ S. Oct 31 '17 at 1:36
  • @AJS. Beyond TT bars the position in your original question is probably the most sustainable aero position you can get into. There are positions that are more aerodynamic, but they can only be held for shorter periods of time. – Rider_X Oct 31 '17 at 5:55
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I just went for a ride in the middle of the day. Normally I wear cycling shorts under my regular trousers/pants with a leather belt. However it was quite hot so I simply put the critical things in my jersey pockets and did without the pants.

The difference was significant - on the drops my thighs touch my belly every pedal rotation.

Yes it was a lot cooler for riding and I smashed a couple of PRs, but not sure if the inference between leg and stomach was less bad than the cooling was helpful.

So, try wearing a belt while riding, and see if it helps or hinders.

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