Trying to get a handle on things

fsa-team-issue-compact-carbon-road-handlebar-black-EV207912-8500-1I’m potentially in the market for new handlebars and one reason is that I’ve recently re-discovered that my shoulders are wider than my bars (around 43 cm compared with 40 cm). I’ve never really had a noticeable problem with this, but I do seem to remember that conventional wisdom says to match these two things as closely as you can.

Have any of you gone this route, and if so, what was your experience with it?


It’s actually been 2 months since my first ‘monthly’ report, which is kind of indicative of the way my training has been going since you last heard from me. But I do have some good news below.

Week 1 Week 15 (now)
Age 50 50
Current Weight (lbs) 162 158
Skinfold Site mm
Triceps 9.5 9
Abdomen 37 27
Thigh 22 17
Suprailiac 21 18
Skinfold Total 89.5 71
% Body Fat 24.4% 20.4%
Fat Mass 39.47 32.28
Lean Mass 122.53 125.72

These are my caliper measurements, and although I’ve got a long, long way to go, at least the numbers are going in the right direction. The total body fat is pretty horrendous, though, for a guy who needs to do 7 consecutive days of intense climbing in August.

More good news: I’ve been off the beer for over 2 weeks, but that’s because I’ve been sick and more or less off the bike, too.

But there’s a long way to go before August and I’m sure that my new copy of Fast After Fifty will fill me with motivation and strategies to get me to the start line in relative shape.

9 thoughts on “Trying to get a handle on things

  1. Regarding the handlebars. Many of the pro riders opt for bars narrower than their shoulders for aero dynamics. If you’re comfortable with your current set up, why change. I’d only change if I were to switch to the stem/bar set up. I switched last year and the stiffness was very noticeable.

    As for the body fat. Those are large numbers. I think you’re measuring more than just the skin fold. You may be measuring part, if not all of the bend in the skin and the fold. If you’re 20%, than most everyone else on the planet must be morbidly obese. Just saying.

    • I guess I’m wondering if I’d be even more comfortable with 42s. I do know the trap of thinking something new will be better, then wasting my money on it, though. I’ll keep thinking.

      As for the fat, I think I hid it well. I’ll go back and find that YouTube video that shows how to measure these things, but my suspicion is that the numbers are more or less correct, unfortunately.

  2. Those fat measurements! I’m seconding Rob’s points. I have gone to narrower bars (I think I’m down to 38cm)—If you’re already at 42or 44cm, that’s really “old-fashioned” wide. Only benefit is when you stand up and rock the bike during climbing; but I still can rock the bike just fine with 38cm bars. [by the way: you’re Canadian + living in France: why still use imperial units??? Go democratic = metric 🙂

    • I’m at 40, but my shoulders are 43 or so. And don’t worry, I’m fully metric – it’s just the spreadsheet I’m using for measurements uses Imperial! I actually have to get a calculator and find the kgs from the time to time because I totally forget the conversion now.

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