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Article #11

- SlingShot

A warm light from within, contrasts the cool air spilling from the open refrigerator door. I stand dumbfounded, surrounded by a soft glow. All is quiet except for the hum of my father's giant clock across the room. Years ago it hung above the door of his restaurant ? simply called The Truck Stop. Now its neon glow of red, green and white spreads out from the 1930's dial and fills the room like Christmas. I am hovering on a strange and uneasy feeling. Something significant has happened. I can't quite put my finger on it.

I had merely reached down into the bottom drawer and pulled out an apple. Why so strange? What was wrong? I reviewed the scene.

An open door. A quiet room and suffused light. A quick reach down, then an apple in my hand.

In a rush it comes to me!

What is so wildly odd about this event is the mere fact that I could so easily reach down and pluck up an apple. It has been two years or more since I have been able to do that without having to first strategize the approach.

I always have to decide where my left hand will rest, the exact spot to place my left then my right foot, then negotiate a careful and slight lean over to the right to make a final plunge into the sharp pain of my lower back in order to snare the apple in my right hand and immediately bolt upright, back out of the pain. Each detail of the movement has been developed slowly over time, almost unknowingly, piece by piece. One strategic detail added to another until the full dance is performed without so much as a thought.

Now all of a sudden the pain is gone, and its absence is overwhelming.

For the last year the pain has become increasingly routine and subliminal. Eventually I was standing like a scribbled "C," until my wife finally pointed the situation out and made me get some help.

A little over a week ago I was on Dr. Art's chiropractic couch.

After careful consideration of my complaint and looking at my posture, he made some careful, feathery light preliminary adjustments.

Then he gently placed my knee in a precise location over my chest, made a quick push resulting in a small crunch of release. After that a slightly stronger bounce and...

CRACK! My sacral joint popped open like a clamshell. The pain drained out of my back just like that.

What a relief.

Afterwards, not quite a week later, with the help of stretching exercises and another adjustment; the results were slowly becoming firm and lasting.

Now I could reach over and snag things, close the car door with my foot holding an arm full of bike supplies, movement unencumbered by the necessity of logistics.

On getting out of bed every morning, my standard half hour "warm-up," to bring me past what I'd assumed was an early arriving sign of arthritic old age, was already down to a few minutes and disappearing.

It was as if Dr. Art had snuck into my house (playing White Rabbit to my Alice) and caused everything to grow taller by a few inches.

What were significant bends and painful reaches the week before were now laughable parities.

A few days later I'm back in Dr. Art's office, waiting for my wife.

After what I'd experienced, I knew just where to take her in hopes of solving aches resulting from standing over her artist's palette for hours on end.

While waiting I'm reading... now get this, Bicycling Magazine's 2002 Buyers Guide.

Tell me another waiting room (except maybe Handago's) where you can find a biking magazine!

This is a place you'll never have to explain why spending four hours on a bike is your common practice.


While Mary (The Black Widow) is out of sight explaining to Dr. Art how she stands and performs sweeping gestures with her watercolor brushes hour after hour, day after day, I'm in the waiting room poring over an article about bicycle fitting (pp. 16-17).

It's all about using logical calculations and goniometry to size a custom bike based on your specific flexibility and measurements.

Having heard from Vince (Suitcase) Herlihy, Jimmy (Sissy Boy) Calandrillo, Mary Ellen (Slider) Calandrillo, Don (The Starkmeister) Stark, (Shiftless) John Handago and others, that Paul (Serotta) Levine has some experience with bike fitting, I was thinking, "Hmm...this is the most logical system I've ever seen. I should take this article over to Paul and show it to him. I'm sure this back pain is from too much computing and piano playing, but just in case it is the biking..."

Next scene, I'm over at Paul's. Mary and I just witnessed the lecture Paul uses in his seminars at the Serotta factory. Turns out he trains bicycle dealers in the use of the Serrota Size Cycle in conjunction with a seven step process that diverges only slightly from what I read about in the article. In fact the fitting process Paul showed us is somewhat more rigorously definitive than what the article described.

"Yowsa, this is just what I've been looking for ? for over 5 years now. Why didn't somebody tell me about this before?"

Well I guess I had been told. I just wasn't listening. Plus Paul himself keeps a pretty low profile about this.

Paul has even developed his own unique use of a particular tool, taken from another discipline, to bring a whole new level of excellence to the fitting process.

I'll let him tell you about that. Preferably ask him about it at the bottom of Ridgebury prefaced by something like, "Just let Bob go on ahead. Tell me about that tool!"

I was also stunned, and more profoundly sold, when Paul showed us a quick demonstration about how the human arm can most efficiently generate strength of movement. I was stunned because it is an almost identical demonstration that I myself gave to music students for years, about how fingers work better when they are curved and relaxed.

As an aside, before something gets started: NO. I won't give you, your kids or your grand-kids music lessons. After the parents of one of my best ever young students told me they had to stop that student from playing so much, because it was interfering with their other kids watching television, I lost interest. I'm a biker now. And NO, I won't give you, your kids or your grand-kids biking lessons either. Well, ok just one biking lesson.

Here's the lesson: Get your butt immediately over to Dr. Art, then to Paul (or vice versa). Don't waste your time on needless pain and/or training the wrong muscles in the wrong way.

Get yourself set up correctly right from the git-go and save your energy for more useful pain on The Hump, or the Saturday B Ride, Wednesday Hump day with R&R, Tuesday's Poker Night, Monday's (What you call this a) Recovery Ride (complete with Irish Maniacs), etc.

In any case, The Black Widow and I were eventually standing around Paul's kitchen table and looking over samples of painted tubes, decals and materials.

The sizing had taken about two hours each. The hardest part was picking components, but now the full process was complete.

We had picked from this, that and other things and told Paul what we absolutely had to have.

He handed us the total bill for the bikes?

CRACK! My wallet popped open like a clamshell. The money drained out of my bank account just like that.

What a relief.



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this page last updated:
08/05/2015 07:03:36 AM

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