Ep. 14 Sponsors: G8 2620 Orthotic Insoles
BikeFit Origins: Paul’s Corner 002
After an amazing discussion about saddle height with Paul Swift in Episode 3, I wanted to dive into Paul’s rich history in bike fitting. Even beyond his illustrious cycling career, he managed to start a bike fitting company from the ground up and traversed an amazing journey through the history of bike fitting. The path began with adapting his pedals and shoes by hand to accommodate a leg length discrepancy during his racing career in the early 80s and now 40 years later, he continues to travel the world teaching fitters how to help cyclists enjoy their passion to the fullest extent. Ep. 14 explores the passion, drive, and persistence of a bike fitting pioneer and a man who wants to eliminate cycling pain and discomfort for every enthusiast.
Paul’s origin story breaks into 3 parts:
1.) The history of solving his own bike fitting problems
2.) From Wedges to a Fitting System
3.) Why Bike Fitting?
THE DIVE: Ep. 14 Topics
The Early Years of Solving Cycling Pain
- First coach’s position suggestions
- Racing at the Olympic Training Center
- Discovering a leg length discrepancy and devising custom ways to solve it through bike adaptations
- Bring your knees in or move your feet out?
- “How is it okay that we pedal 20,000 strokes misaligned but a trainer won’t let a person in the gym doing lunges take a single improper step during 10 reps?”
Bike Fitting Products to a Bike Fitting System
- Angle Blocks
- Researching wedges at Auburn University
- Why wedges were created
- A Gear Higher
- Wedging’s connection to create a system for bike fitting
- Bike shops early on were not interested in bike fitting
- The Stroke Viewer — early knee tracking
- The Power Alignment Pedal
- “I didn’t necessarily know why I went wider. I didn’t know why I went narrower, but as I started to watch it and I started to see when knee and toe alignment seemed to be more straight up and down, the clients kept saying it felt better.”
- Currently one of the largest fit studios in a bike shop on the east coast didn’t want bike fitting 20 years ago
- “I don’t care what brand you ride. We just want you to be comfortable.”
- Creating a sizing stem
- Dr. Robert Mohr’s contribution and creation of the Forefoot Measuring Device
- Consulting with Andy Pruitt
- Creating a manual on bike fitting
- Training bike shops to be bike fitters
Why Bike Fitting?
- Creating the RevMaster
- Cycling components still need to improve for best rider fit
- “My favorite bike ride is not a bike race I won.”
- Helping people ride without pain for charity
- I want anything I can do for her to at least have every chance to finish this bike ride and not say be going “this dang bike hurts.” I want her to experience what she’s doing for her son. I want her to experience what the California aids ride is about.”
- I want an avg. bike shop to do a good bike fit. That’s what I’m guilty of. I don’t care about the top 10,20 30 bike fitters–they’re already good. I want an everyday bike shop to do a good bike fit.”
I meet People who ride 20-30 years and their position sucks on the bike. I feel bad. You can change that and open their world. What if we could do that in their first bike ride? What if we could do that earlier in their life? And really get to enjoy the wonder of cycling. That’s what drives me.
Paul Swift is an 8-Time US National Track Cycling Champion and a gold medalist at the 1998 Goodwill Games. After retiring from competitive cycling, Paul founded BikeFit and Bikefit Education to share his passion for cycling. Paul is a Master Bike Fitting Technician, a certified USCF sport coach, and a former member of the USA Cycling Board of Directors. Paul specializes in training bike fitters to correctly deliver comfortable and consistent fits to any type of rider.
Paul is a product designer or creator of the following:
- The Cleat Wedge (formerly known as Big Meat & LeWedges)
- The In-The-Shoe Wedge (formerly known as Sole Power)
- The Stem Sizer
- Cannondale Track 1000 Bicycle Designer
- LeMond RevMaster indoor bike
- MultiPedal™ – dual-sided pedal
He has trained over 1000 bike fitters and cyclists around the world. Currently Paul’s Level 1 BikeFit Pro training course is taught in over 12 different counties and in 6 languages. He is also the co-author of the BikeFit Foot/Pedal Interface manual When the Foot Meets the Pedal…
He continues to innovate in the bike fitting and cycling world with revolutionary ideas and products.
If you have questions for Paul or interested in taking one of his courses, please contact him via e-mail: [email protected]