Renting a Bike? A guide of a few simple & basic measurements for your rental bike.
Travelling with your bike is not always an easy option, as you may haven’t got a bike bag or a box to carry your bike or you may don’t feel that confident to take apart and put back together your bike, plus the airlines sometimes will charge you a premium to carry your bike. This is where a rental bike will be a great option to some of us. So I’ll try to run through how to set up a rental bike when you go abroad.
First thing will be the measurements. Before you travel you should have all the measurements as accurate as possible and keep them with you at all the time. What I’ve done, I’ve printed out the image of a bike like the one below and draw down the actual dimensions. You can also take a picture of your bike instead. Therefore you always got the measurements in hand.
First you need to measure the saddle high and you need to measure it from a specific point on the saddle, not the tip or the back of the saddle. You can choose this point yourself, so you use this point every time, or maybe mark it with a permanent marker, so you know the exact place. You can either use the top of the saddle, somewhere in the centre, down to the middle point of the bottom bracket or to the centre of the pedal axle, when the crank arm is pointed down and in line with the seat tube. I always prefer the second option as sometimes crank arms can be different size. Some people also prefer to measure from the saddle rails down to the middle of the bottom bracket. This way you have a better and more accurate measurements as there is a point to anchor the hook of the measure tape.
Another measurement to consider is the saddle setback and measure the distance from the tip of the saddle and how far it is from the middle of the bottom bracket. You can do this using a piece of string with a coin or a nut tied to the end of it. Drop the cord down from the tip of your saddle and measure the distance from the cord to the middle of the bottom bracket. Always using the non drive side of the bike as the chainset rings are not in your way.
Another measurement will be to measure the distance from the tip of the saddle to the middle of the handlebars. To me this on pe is one of the most important measurements as I do always care about the reach from the saddle to the handle bars. Handle bar height and the way to measure the distance is from the centre of the handlebars and measure down to the middle of the centre of the front axle. This will give you the right height measurement.
Things to take with you
Things to consider taking with you on your cycling holidays, and one of them, which I thoroughly recommend, is your saddle, because there is nothing worst than a really uncomfortable one. Imagine doing all these miles on one of those uncomfortable saddles. It did happen to me on my very first cycling holiday. But before you take it off, from your bike, grab a marker and mark the points either side of the seat clamp assembly, so you know the exact point to refit it after your holiday.
Another point to remember is the saddle angle you find the most comfortable. So you can easily find this by using your smartphone, as many of them these days come, or you can download, an app with a spirit level , therefore giving you this accurate information. Take a note and put it down to your piece of paper.
Pedals... this is a complete personal choice, but don’t expect the bike hire company to have the same oneslike yours, set up with the same spring tension. Most of the bike hire companies also charge extra for specific pedals, so try put yours in the same hand luggage together with your shoes and saddle. Crank length..
Something you also need to check when fitting your pedals is the crank arm length of the rental bike. If it is different to yours you will have to adjust the saddle height to allow the difference. That’s why, when it comes to measuring the seat high, I always measure the distance to the top of my pedals, rather the centre of the bottom bracket.
Finally communication is absolutely key, so talk to the hire company before hand and pass them all the measurements far in advance so they will have enough time to prepare the bike for you. The last thing you need is to when you arrive and you’re desperate to go out cycling, you will need to wait for them to adjust your bike.
And don’t forget which way around the brakes are set... the reason for this is that here in the UK we have our brakes ran a different way to the rest of the world, so you need to make sure and always remember which lever is for the front brake and which one for the back...
These are just a few simple and basic measurements and things to take with you, to make your cycling holiday all so special. Don’t forget to have a look our bike hire guide for each destination we feature, on our website, to find the nearest one to your accommodation and the one with the best bike options for you. Enjoy!!!
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