It’s no secret that I am vertically challenged. As discussed in the post about finding my bike, I am a whopping 5’1″ on a good day. This definitely has day-to-day challenges like not being able to reach anything in the kitchen, struggling to keep up with people walking, and being used as a leaning post by some of my taller friends. It definitely has affected my biking experiences as well.
As already discussed, it was a little bit difficult finding a used bike in my size as many of the people selling them are men and taller than me. When actually riding I’ve found out that I really need to be careful about what the geometry is like for the top tube. Firstly, if the top tube is a smidgeon too high (like my bike is now) then I have issues being able to touch the ground. This leads to me hilariously falling over when just standing there. So I whip down treacherous trails with no issue and then stop to wait for someone or just catch my breath (usually the latter) and while standing there just lose my balance and fall over. The absurdity of it is super funny when it happens and luckily hasn’t landed me careening down a mountain side… yet.
The other top tube issue is a bit more – ahem – personal. I learned the hard way that if I brake too suddenly or hit something that launches me forward on the bike I end up in a painful situation that Ryan has dubbed a “clam jam.” My god is it painful and it’s a massive lesson in learning how to land when taken by surprise.
Now that I’ve gotten the TMI stuff out of the way, we’ll move onto the mundane. Getting my bike on and off my car. I would like to point out that the car itself is a Mazda 3. In no way is it a terribly high car. If anything, it’s too low. During the most recent snowpocalypse I was unable to go home for two weeks because the snow down the centre of my street was too high compared to the carved out tire tracks and it would lift the car off the ground.
As soon as I bought the car last year I added roof racks to it because I knew I needed a bike solution that I can leave on all the time. What I didn’t anticipate was being too short to load bikes onto my car! I can sort of lever them up there but I can’t reach the arm that goes over the front wheel.
I’m writing this just in case others are having the same issue. I see a lot of shorter people coming out of SUVs with roof racks so I can’t imagine that I’m alone in this. The solution? A cheap, Canadian Tire step stool that folds down and I keep in my car.
Sure, I’ve been laughed at when loading or unloading but a couple of women have stopped me to tell me what a good idea it was and that they would be getting a little stool of their own. Hopefully if someone reading this struggles with the same problem as me they find my solution helpful. Just make sure you get one that can withstand the sometimes extreme temperatures of a car interior left in the sun (or snow).
Little step stools are already a staple for me as I can barely reach anything in my kitchen so that solution came easy, but I’m wondering what you guys struggle with? Are you short? Too tall for some things? What are your little everyday height related issues and fixes?
*I would also like to note that hopefully nobody was offended by the title of this blog, it is a reference to this song.