Cyclists in Heart & Soul
Kevin and Michael Van Staeyen are cyclists to the core. The blood that runs in their veins is fuel for cycling and has powered them on 2 wheels since they were young boys together, racing carefree aged 5 years old in the heart of Belgium, a heartland for cycling. Both raced at a high level, with Michael being a member of the Cofidis Team at World level. Talking with Kevin recently, his own passion for cycling and for ensuring that riders ride well and ride in comfort, is clear to see. He’s a detail person, and raced at elite level into his 30s, before concentrating on bike fitting, and looking to develop an understanding of the biomechanics that form the foundations of ensuring that each cyclist is treated as a unique individual.
It’s a philosophy that matches our own here at Lake, and it’s also why Kevin and Michael have become so well-respected. Kevin has studied cycling biomechanics for more than 10 years and has trained in osteopathy, to educate himself in the finer detail of body movement and function and is now further specializing in the human nervous system and how it affects cycling position. In essence, if you get a bike fit from this quiet and detailed professional, you’ll probably be getting the best bike fit possible. Here at Lake, we’re all about making sure that you, the rider, are the heart of everything we do. For these bike fitting brothers, Lake cycling shoes are a valuable part of the whole process, wrapping your own unique feet in the very best cycling shoes in the world – from Lake.
The Science of Bike Fitting
Bike fitting is still a niche market and quite small in the wider context of the cycle industry. Even in the European lowlands, where the passion for cycling is strong, it’s still a growth area of expertise. Add to this that the only education is that which is self-researched and established through practice, with few, if any formal courses anywhere in the world. And yet, there’s so much to learn and the human body is a complex machine. Kevin believes that you must start with the individual. Talking with him, Kevin outlines that about 99% of the body is asymmetrical. There are subtle differences in all of us. The key is to find these asymmetrical issues and to know the body mechanics that arise from them in terms of the individuals riding style and action.
He lists the frequent problems being shoes that are too small, causing ‘sleeping feet’ or tingling in the feet and numbness. Thankfully, Lake cycling shoes counter this, and he believes that Lake cycling is the most important shoe on the market, due to a wider toe box on its range of shoes, allowing cyclists that necessary space for their toes. Lots of people focus too much on angles and not what the body needs to do and can do. Clearly, as Kevin says, you start with a body, then flexibility and power tests etc. He carries out lots of tests to see what the body can do, using technology and his own eyes.
The Impact of the Peloton
One of the issues that bike- fitters and indeed, shoe fitters see is the impact of the pro peloton and riders such as Matthew Van der Poel. The ordinary rider wants the same bike as him, the same shoes, and yet has feet that are quite different. One particular issue is when a rider has a narrow heel and wide toe are. Thankfully, with Lake, we do various width fittings, and also have shoes with a moldable heel.
Pro cyclists like Matthew have narrow feet and their shoes are designed for performance as a priority. With the average cyclist, it has to be a balance of performance, fit and comfort, with fit being the priority. When asked which his favourite shoe is, he responds immediately with the CX/MX 238, which he calls a ‘great shoe.’ You can read it about here on our Lake cycling blogs (add link).
Adventures on 2 Wheels
Kevin also uses the older Lake MX 176 off-road shoe, proving the longevity of Lake, and their value for money. He’s even used them on a cycling trip to Bolivia to South of Argentina and to Chile. He cites their ability to keep the feet dry and dust free, and the comfort when walking. Our new Lake MX 177 takes this strength and performance onto an even better level, with improved fit and sole.
Where cycling shoes and bike fitting are concerned, comfort is the most important thing. As Kevin says ‘when comfort falls away, performance doesn’t come either. Performance is the second consideration and comes from a well fitted bike and cycling shoes. That’s why both Kevin and Michael and their team at Bike Fit Staeyen take so much care on their customers feet, and why they choose Lake to wrap their own feet in too.
If you’re in the area and looking at joining the Lake cycling community, then why not visit Kevin and Michael and change your own ride for the better. There’s a Lake shoe fit event coming up in October, and we’d love to see and your feet there!