On a wet Sunday in April (there have been a few) I took a trip down to Bay Cycles for a service. I am Jez's older brother, Jon. I was a keen cyclist; this was back in the days when the Tour De France was won by seconds not minutes. Over the intervening years, running had become my way of keeping fit and I am very proud to have taken part (and completed) the London Marathon twice.
Back in the days of Stephen Roche, Miguel Indurain, the late Laurent Fignon and Greg Lemond, there was something of a sibling rivalry in the Barker household. Sprints were contested with vigour and as I drive through Painswick occasionally (to see my physiotherapist) I have fond memories of the sprints, climbs and fun we used to have at that time.
Fast-forward to 2014 and the reason I was stood in Bay Cycles on a Sunday morning. The company I work for, Mondelēz International have played a significant part in supporting Paralympic athletes and the British Paralympic Association (BPA.)
One of the key events the company support is the Deloitte Ride Across Britain (RAB). Each year, colleagues who have taken part have urged me to give it a go as it is a great opportunity to raise money for the BPA and take part in a very well organised event.
So, here I am, this year, dipping my toe in on a stage rather than go for the full Land's End to John O'Groats.
I realised fairly quickly that both myself and my bike were going to need to be in optimal condition. Recently, both Jez and Lisa have started a PrecisionFit fitting service. This was completed very professionally by Lisa who asked me a number of questions about my goals, level of fitness and potential injuries.
Jez and Lisa spent a lot of time running through an off-the-bike assessment focusing on all dimensions of my positioning from my pelvis to feet, range of motion to stability.
A significant amount of time was also spent on getting the measurements right. I couldn't believe how much I was stretching for the handlebars – had this not been measured properly, I would've had some serious lower back problems when training.
I can thoroughly recommend the PrecisionFit fitting service at Bay Cycles and am now looking forward to getting out on the road. P.S. It was Sunday, 27 April and yes, it was raining.