Ep. 17 Complex Asymmetry in Bike Fitting with Neill Stanbury

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Ep. 17 Sponsor: G8 2620 Orthotic Insoles

G8 Performance 2620 Orthotic Insoles provide increased blood flow, better proprioceptive response, foot rehabilitation which all lead to more comfort, power, and efficiency during your run or ride.  G8 2620s are the only insole that offers multiple arch heights and custom arch position for each foot.  Learn more about G8s from the CEO of G8 Performance in Ep. 5 of the BikeFit Podcast.

Complex Asymmetry in Bike Fitting

Physiotherapist Neill Stanbury from Australia joins the show this week to dive into his specialty which is complex asymmetrical motion patterns and injuries.  As a bike fitter, Neill encounters extremely difficult cases where cyclists have experienced significant pain, injuries, and developed issues and complications due to the asymmetry.  He discusses how issues manifest itself on the bike, the brain’s involvement in the process, and also his treatment methods. The episode is broken down into a few main topics:

1.) Body Asymmetry and the Impact in Cycling

2.) Treating Leg Length Discrepancies and Asymmetry (case discussions)

3.) Structural Leg Length Discrepancy vs. Functional

4.) The Bike Fitting Adaptation

Any person who is charging a decent amount for a high-quality fitting session should be spending a lot of their time ironing out asymmetries because that is really where the complexity comes into it.

Neill Stanbury

Neill's Bike Fit

THE DIVE: Ep. 17 Topics

Body Asymmetry and Cycling Impact

  • Neill’s history of injury leading him down the road to becoming a bike fitter
  • “If these guys can charge $300 and know nothing about what they are doing, perhaps if I can get better at this, this is something I could do.”
  • Cycling is a sport which demands the highest degree of symmetry
  • Every pain a person presents with is on one side.
  • The role of brain dominance in the protection mechanism that affects asymmetry
  • When compensatory strategies run out
  • A leg length discrepancy does not affect runners the way it affects cyclists
  • “No one sits too high on a bike and evenly overextends both legs at exactly the same amount.”
  • Compensation strategies don’t work for everyone
  • Each person responds differently based on unconscious compensation
  • 95% of Neill’s customers who seek him out experience pain

Treating Leg Length Discrepancies and Complex Asymmetry

  • The off-bike assessment
  • “If you’ve seen a million people with a million pains, you can kind of tell how they are going to ride before you even throw them anywhere near a bike.”
  • Problem hypothesis
  • The process of decompensation
  • The educated guess and check
  • Rider feedback
  • Establishing a starting point

Structural Leg Length Discrepancy vs. Functional Leg Length Discrepancy?

  • Femoral or tibial leg length discrepancy – why they are different
  • Eva foam internal shoe testing
  • Effective leg length different from other diagnoses
  • How some fitters miss asymmetry by only looking at a cyclist from a single side
  • The requirements and resolutions to functional leg length discrepancies
  • Structural difference = leg length shim forever

 Structural Leg Length Discrepancy vs. Functional Leg Length Discrepancy?

  • Cyclists experience neuroplastic adaptation after fitting
  • Warn customers about how they are doing to feel and what may happen after the fit
  • Some adapt instantly to changes and some may take time
  • Educated guesses on what will happen don’t hurt if you’re wrong.  Worst case scenario, a cyclist feels great after a fit
  • Riding is physical therapy

Neill is a Physiotherapist who specializes in cycling biomechanics and injury management. He has been fitting for around 10 years and has a special interest in complex asymmetrical motion patterns and injuries. His interest in bike fitting came about after suffering from severe knee pain on the bike and attempting to overcome the problem with conventional fitting philosophies. After struggling to achieve any improvement with three separate bike fits, he set out to solve his own challenging problem and became deeply interested in the complex biomechanics and problem solving involved in high-level bike fitting. After running his cycling-specific Physiotherapy clinic for a decade in Melbourne, Australia, Neill has just recently moved further north to Brisbane and is currently conducting fitting sessions by appointment out of Cam’s Cycling Collective in Bowen Hills. Neill has trained with world-renowned bike fitter Steve Hogg and specializes in all forms of complex asymmetries, as well as cycling overuse injury management.

If you have questions for Neill or would like more information, please see his website below.  Feel free to comment below and we’ll get Neill to respond!

Neill’s Bike Fit

Ep. 16 Online Bike Fitting

Ep. 16 BiSaddle EXT BikeFit Edition

In working closely with the manufacturers at BiSaddle, our newest version has increased the durability of the flex base which provides vibration absorption and increases rigidity.  Adjustment bolts are now equipped with metal washers to create a stronger hold and the updated design of the hard inner now eliminates nose rubbing. Take a look at the new and improved BiSaddle EXT BikeFit Edition available now in cro-mo and carbon rails.

Online Bike Fitting

Online or virtual Bike Fitting is not a new concept in the scope of bike fitting but certainly considering the current state where many are confined at home due to stay-at-home or lockdown orders, most in-person fitting is not functional. As a result, more fitters offer a virtual or online fitting service. In Ep. 16, I interviewed 4 different bike fitters to glean their diverse opinions. Two of them currently offer the service and the other two expressed concerns about the practice. Between the 4 interviews today, you’ll acquire a quality sample of the current pros and cons of this topic.

Please note that in this as well as our other episodes, the views and opinions of our guests do not necessarily reflect those of the company BikeFit.

Episode 16 Guests

Dan Smith – UK Bike Fit

Dan has 6 years of experience specializing in biomechanics. After working with teams across multiple sports including rugby, athletics, football, swimming, and triathlon, Dan has a strong background of biomechanical analysis and injury prevention that he applies to Cycling Analysis and Bike Fitting.

 Jason Barcoff – Piermont Bicycle Connection and Bespoke Bike and Ski

Jason has over 25 years of experience in both the cycling and ski industry. He has an additional 20 plus years in critical care medical transport, and Functional Movement Screening. He brings a holistic multi-disciplined approach to creating improved comfort and performance. The mobile Fit-Lab provides comprehensive bike fitting using established protocols from F.I.S.T and BikeFit.

Frederick Ilagan – Forward Motion Performance

Frederick has 7 years of experience fitting a multitude of riders.  He’s studied under multiple bike fitting programs around the world including, BikeFit, Retul, Gebiomized, Steve Hogg and more.  He currently runs an independent fitting business in the Philippines.

 Dr. Brian Adams, PT, DPT, OCS, CSCS. Adams Sports Medicine and Physical Therapy

Dr. Adams is an elite-level cyclist with more than two decades of experience racing, wrenching, and fitting.  By merging his knowledge of sports and physical therapy, Brian has come to occupy a unique space in the PT field. He offers bike fitting, shoe/pedal assessment, performance testing, blood lactate tests, and coaching services to bikers and other endurance athletes looking to take their performance to the next level. He also creates custom foot orthotics for athletes that optimize their performance and decrease their risk for injury due to poor biomechanics.

Ep. 15: Pelvic Stability with Greg Choat

Ep. 15 Sponsor: G8 2620 Orthotic Insoles

G8 Performance 2620 Orthotic Insoles provide increased blood flow, better proprioceptive response, foot rehabilitation which all lead to more comfort, power and efficiency during your run or ride.  G8 2620s are the only insole that offers multiple arch heights and custom arch position for each foot.

Pelvic Stability, Saddle Choice and Funtional Movement

Pelvic stability is integral to power transfer.  Seasoned professional and functional movement specialist Greg Choat has been involved in racing for 40 years, coaching for 30 and fitting for 20.  He extensively discusses how pelvic stability impacts our fit, the comfort of your saddle and how your efficiency and power transfer.  He’s traversed the arduous path of injury recovery which sidelined him for a period from cycling.  His winding road back to health inspired a relentless hunger for knowledge of body functionality and bike fitting.  Greg also is an expert on saddles and he talks about not only his view on the world of bike fitting but why it’s so incredibly difficult to navigate the saddle selection market.

THE DIVE: Ep. 15 Topics

Establishing Pelvic Stability

  • The journey to become a fitter
  • The fundamentals of human movement
  • The difference between barstools and bike saddles
  • The cycling industry failure–basing saddle comfort of the sit bones
  • “The saddle will not create stability alone.”
  • “My goal is to make the pelvis as stable as possible–to make that a platform and then look for the areas and potions we can function most optimally off the pelvis.”
  • Position in the pro peloton
  • “Put Fabien Cancellara on 500 dollar Huffy in a bad position and he’s still going to beat everybody.  That’s the nature of a lot of professionals. They are outliers. That doesn’t mean their position is wrong–it clearly works for them.”
  • Being task-driven is the mechanism of injury
  • Describing the workflow of establishing pelvic stability through fit
  • “The space between the contact points is where asymmetry manifests itself.”
The Challenge of Bike Fitters 

  • The bike fitting community’s problem is that we haven’t done a good job at communicating the nuances and the details of how complex fitting someone on a bike is to our consumers”
  • Fitting is not a one and done deal
  • Bike fitters are more like tour guides
  • Fitting is an exploration
  • Longitudinal data in an efficiency sport is more valuable than a snapshot
  • A “real fit” would encompass multiple indoor and outdoor sessions
Saddle Selection

  • Saddles have the largest variation among all bicycle components
  • How the shape and dimensions of saddles affect fit
  • Ischial tuberosity doesn’t help you select the saddle
  • Gender specificity in saddle selection
  • Flexibility in regards to the pelvic position vs. actual flexibility
  • Off-the-bike assessment as part of saddle selection
  • Treating symptoms does not always solve the issue
  • The saddle is not necessarily the problem.  Discomfort may stem from their position or function.
  • “It’s not about the bike, it’s about the person.”
  • “Your function dictates your form.”
 If you’re put force down to the pedal and you can have the biggest quads in the cycling community, if your pelvis is not stable when you put force down into the pedal with your big strong legs, your pelvis is just going to rock out of the way and that’s a power leak–an instability and there’s a total shift up the kinetic chain when that happens.
Greg Choat

Sanus Sport Science

Greg Choat Bio:


Greg’s passion for bike fitting grew from his own misfortune. Unable to ride a bike, walk or run following a back injury he sought out professionals to help address his issues. The answers he sought could not be found in the bike industry at the time so he looked to the wider health community.

His journey took him both eastern and western medical professionals, neurologists, kinesiologists, phycologists, chiropractors, physiotherapists, and some who’s practice could not traditionally be described.

After 14 months of inactivity, he returned to competition with a new appreciation of the human body and the many ways it can function.

Greg is a Cat 1 USA Cycling Coach and Certified Skills Instructor, Functional Movement Specialist II, RKC HKC kettlebell Instructor & Precision Nutrition Master Coach. With over 20 years of fitting experience and 30 years coaching and continuing learning he is a journeyman in the world of human movement and sports performance.
Contact Information:
Web: https://sanussports.com/bike-fit
Facebook: lasvegasbikefit
Instagram: sanussportsusa
Twitter: @bestbikefit

BF Podcast Ep. 14: BikeFit Origins with Paul Swift

Ep. 14 Sponsors: G8 2620 Orthotic Insoles

G8 Performance 2620 Orthotic Insoles provide increased blood flow, better proprioceptive response, foot rehabilitation which all lead to more comfort, power and efficiency during your run or ride.  G8 2620s are the only insole that offers multiple arch heights and custom arch position for each foot.

BikeFit Education

Take fitting to the next level with 20 years of fitting knowledge, problem-solving and expertise.  Join the over 2000 fitters who are BikeFit certified. New classes are posted each month.  

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

BikeFit

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]

BikeFit Education

BF Podcast Ep. 13: The Evolution of Bike Fitting Pt. 2 with Ben Serotta

Photo Credit: Bicycling Magazine, Ben Cieri

Ep. 13 Sponsors: G8 2620 Orthotic Insoles

G8 Performance 2620 Orthotic Insoles provide increased blood flow, better proprioceptive response, foot rehabilitation which all lead to more comfort, power and efficiency during your run or ride.  G8 2620s are the only insole that offers multiple arch heights and custom arch position for each foot.

BikeFit Education

Take fitting to the next level with 20 years of fitting knowledge, problem-solving and expertise.  Join the over 2000 fitters who are BikeFit certified. New classes are posted each month.  

The Evolution of Bike Fitting and Frame Design Pt. 2

I’m honored to present the 2nd installment of our interview with legendary frame builder and designer Ben Serotta.  If you’ve been following the news as of late, Ben recently announced the official re-launching of the Serotta brand.  This means that in the near future, the iconic Serotta logo will be gracing some amazing titanium, aluminum, and steel bikes. To connect part 2 of the interview with his recent news, Ben also announced the creation of the Serotta Cycling Service Professionals Network which will be “a first-of-its-kind, peer-reviewed network of service professionals to provide bike fitting, maintenance, and related support services to new, returning and current Serotta customers.” This is potentially a remedy to what Ben mentioned in the pod regarding the consistency across the service and fitting landscape–how is it possible that two bike shops could suggest 2 different sizes and setups for the same rider a week apart? 

In part 2 of the interview, we discuss the cycling industry’s role in fitting, ben’s passion for getting cyclists on the proper fitting ride, bike geometry and frame tolerance accuracy.

THE DIVE: Ep. 13 Topics

The role of the Cycling Industry in Bike Fitting

  • Why there is no regulation of bike fitting in the industry
  • In order to improve fitting, the industry has to be willing to set aside self-promotion
  • Fitting requires support from the bike industry and the medical community to be recognized as a profession unto itself
  • “Bike companies are mostly concerned about selling the next bicycle.”
  • Cyclists would benefit if fitting became standardized across the industry

Bike Geometry and Bike Design

  • “With the exception of a few people, perfect position changes.”
  • “You design a bicycle knowing that perfection is a range for people.”
  • Designing a bike to cover a “range”
  • The focus of the interaction of the cyclist and the bike and why gleaning vast information about a cyclist is important to frame design
  • “You’re riding experience is optimized if you understand the cyclist first.”
  • “A bike is just an assemblage of parts until it’s ridden and then it becomes a bike.”
  • “What makes a great bicycle is what happens when it’s being ridden and that varies based on the individual.”
  • Wanting the best ride for a customer even if it’s not on one of his bikes.
  • On the one hand, it’s hard not to love the idea of somebody being able to just click 3 times and then all you have to do is ship a bike and there’s a lot of that taking place these days but it’s not very genuine if what a bike company professes to do is to deliver the ride experience of your life.  It can’t be done that way.”
  • Ben’s bikes are only fit by him and a small network of fitters he approves

Bicycle Frame Tolerance and Accuracy

  • Same model, same make, same size will have a different weight or range as much as 20% in either direction from part to part
  • People would likely not pay for the increased cost of more precision
  • The variance on high-end bikes
  • While Bike Cad is extremely accurate, builders cannot cut to a 10th of a millimeter
  • Ben’s view on bike measurements like stack and reach
Photo Credit: Bicycling Magazine, Ben Cieri

I wasn’t deeply interested in bike fitting until I finally came to the realization that I couldn’t promise delivering the best bicycle if I didn’t understand bike fitting better than I did.

Ben Serotta

Serotta Cycling

Biography from https://benserotta.com/ by Ben Serotta

After opening up a small retail and repair shop as an off-school activity in the late 1960’s I traveled to London, England where I apprenticed in building steel bicycle frames. First represented in the 1976 Olympics, Serotta bicycles bore witness to America’s rise as a modern cycling power. Contracted by US powerhouse teams 7- Eleven (1984-1988) and Coors Light (1991-1994), along with numerous smaller national and international programs, Serotta became the dominant US builder of high performance racing bicycles. By 1990 our bicycles had been raced to National, European and World Championship titles in road, time-trial, track, mountain and triathlon events.

Ever driven to raise performance standards, I worked directly with hundreds of elite athletes while developing a unique approach to the human/machine interface, resulting in the company’s two-pronged approach to elevating cycling performance: personalized engineering and a paradigm change in bicycle fitting methodology.

These revolutionary paths inspired the development of a proprietary range of shaped, “size-specific” bicycle frame tubing, dubbed the “Colorado Concept” and the first SizeCycle (an infinitely adjustable stationary bicycle). Like dual cornerstones, these advances became the foundation for the next 25 years of my company’s work. In 1998, Serotta launched a hands-on teaching program for bicycle fitting, which later became knows as SICI (Serotta International Cycling Institute). In turn, SICI graduates have gone on to become integral to the development of more than a dozen other bicycle-fitting organizations. To date, more than 1,500 fitting technicians, coaches and medical practitioners have come from around the world to attend SICI programs and seminars.

In August 2013, in a hostile restructuring by new investors, I was forced to part ways with Serotta Competition Bicycles, and in an instant I’d become separated from many of my friends, business associates and fans. In the time since discovering silver linings from my unexpected disconnect, I’ve had the great pleasure of working with a broad range of organizations from across a wide spectrum of the bicycle industry- from highly customized hand-crafted bicycles made in North America, to the one-size-fits-all world of public bike share bikes produced in Asia. Better still, I’ve had the gift of the opportunity to meet, ideate and create with some incredible people with whom I might never had the chance to work.

In January 2018, I formally and publicly re-entered the bicycle business with the opening of the Serotta Design Studio.  It’s not a 3-click to purchase company, nor will you find my new bicycles mixed in with a line-up in general retailers.  With this new endeavor, I wanted to establish a direct relationship with each cyclist who places her/his trust in us to deliver an exceptionally wonderful product. It’s not that I have anything against retailers as a whole, not at all.  It’s just that I’d rather not dilute the information flow, so that I really know we are delivering the best product for each client.  Besides, it’s more fun and more informative getting the direct feedback.

In a way, ‘The Studio” is both a continuum and a new beginning, building on a great  legacy that’s fed by a fresh and almost limitless stream of new ideas and opportunities.”

I remain as dedicated as ever to improving life experiences through cycling.

Want to learn more about Ben’s current projects?  You can find his work below:

https://benserotta.com/

https://serotta.com/

https://www.serottadesignstudio.com/

Images Credit, Bear Cieri:

https://www.bicycling.com/bikes-gear/a18926250/framebuilder-ben-serotta/

BF Podcast Ep. 12: The Evolution of Bike Fitting with Ben Serotta

Ep. 12 Sponsor - BiSaddle Shapeshifter EXT

Adjust and customize your saddle specifically for your unique body, goals, and needs as a cyclist.  The BiSaddle ShapeShafter BikeFit Edition is the only saddle that offers both front and rear width and shape changes.  Now in our new colorway, black with white logos.

The Evolution of Bike Fitting and Frame Design Pt. 1

I’m honored this week to present the first segment of a 2-part conversation with legendary frame builder Ben Serotta. He willingly devoted hours to our interview and went beyond my list of quirky questions.  Although we certainly discuss frame geometry and design, Ben is also one of the early godfathers of bike fitting with the invention of the Serotta Size Cycle in the mid-80s and in the early 90s, the formalization of one of the first bike fitting schools, the Serotta International Cycling Institute in 1998.  His relentless pursuit to provide the best fitting bicycle, lead to his passion for fitting as he found them to be undeniably intertwined.  He has designed bikes riders on major professional teams like 7-Eleven and Coors Light and for riders participating in national championships, world championships, Olympics and grand tours. Part 1 of the conversation with Ben focuses on the following great topics 1.) Ben’s history in frame design 2.) Finding the fit–Serotta Size Cycle and SICI 3.) The challenge of bike fitting and bike fitters

THE DIVE: Ep. 12 Topics

Ben’s History in Cycling
  • The Whitcomb apprenticeship with Richard Sachs and Peter Weigle
  • Bike builder or college?
  • “Most people who cycle intuitively realize there is some correlation between how well you can ride and how comfortable you can ride and your position on the bike.”
Serotta Size Cycling and Fit in Frame Construction
  • C.O.N.I – The beginning of measuring cyclists and connecting them to bike sizes
  • New England Cycling Academy and the first Fit Kit
  • Cycling is about movement
  • The contact points on the bicycle and the impetus behind the Serotta Size Cycle
  • “If you are going to do something, just do it really well.  If there’s anything you can do to raise the bar on what’s come before, then there’s an obligation to try to do that.”
  • “I want to know that every bike I deliver is exactly the right bike for every cyclist.”
  • You have to know how to use a tool or it’s just a tool.  
  • “I started making size cycles to sell to the stores we were selling bicycles through. Then I realized that was different than just handing somebody a chainsaw for the first time and pointing them in the direction of the wood.  You have to know how to use a tool. You can have the best tool in the world but if you don’t know how to use it, the results will vary.”
  • One customer went to two different dealers with the size cycle and received 2 different size recommendations.
  • Michael Sylvester‘s influence on Ben’s decision to create bike fitting education
The Challenge of Bike Fitting
  • The more people who understand bike fitting, the more they’ll appreciate it
  • Not all bike fitters are created equal
  • The challenge of bike fitting is a lack of regulation
  • If you want to hang your shingle as a true, top-notch bike fitter, you have to have both the natural ability to read someone as well as this inquisitiveness as well as experience.  Good bike fitters are open to learn with every fitting and learn a little bit with almost every fitting.”
  • People becoming fitters are not screened before entering the profession.
  • “There are lot of good, competent bike fitters, but there’s only a handful of bike fitters than can universal do an excellent bike fitting on anyone that comes in.”
  • The average fitter has a difficult time defining the line of their own competence.
Photo Credit: Bicycling Magazine, Ben Cieri
Photo Credit: Bicycling Magazine, Ben Cieri
I started making size cycles to sell to the stores we were selling bicycles through. Then I realized that was different than just handing somebody a chainsaw for the first time and pointing them in the direction of the wood.  You have to know how to use a tool. You can have the best tool in the world but if you don’t know how to use it, the results will vary.
Ben Serotta

Serotta Design Studio

Biography from https://benserotta.com/ by Ben Serotta After opening up a small retail and repair shop as an off-school activity in the late 1960’s I traveled to London, England where I apprenticed in building steel bicycle frames. First represented in the 1976 Olympics, Serotta bicycles bore witness to America’s rise as a modern cycling power. Contracted by US powerhouse teams 7- Eleven (1984-1988) and Coors Light (1991-1994), along with numerous smaller national and international programs, Serotta became the dominant US builder of high performance racing bicycles. By 1990 our bicycles had been raced to National, European and World Championship titles in road, time-trial, track, mountain and triathlon events. Ever driven to raise performance standards, I worked directly with hundreds of elite athletes while developing a unique approach to the human/machine interface, resulting in the company’s two-pronged approach to elevating cycling performance: personalized engineering and a paradigm change in bicycle fitting methodology. These revolutionary paths inspired the development of a proprietary range of shaped, “size-specific” bicycle frame tubing, dubbed the “Colorado Concept” and the first SizeCycle (an infinitely adjustable stationary bicycle). Like dual cornerstones, these advances became the foundation for the next 25 years of my company’s work. In 1998, Serotta launched a hands-on teaching program for bicycle fitting, which later became knows as SICI (Serotta International Cycling Institute). In turn, SICI graduates have gone on to become integral to the development of more than a dozen other bicycle-fitting organizations. To date, more than 1,500 fitting technicians, coaches and medical practitioners have come from around the world to attend SICI programs and seminars. In August 2013, in a hostile restructuring by new investors, I was forced to part ways with Serotta Competition Bicycles, and in an instant I’d become separated from many of my friends, business associates and fans. In the time since discovering silver linings from my unexpected disconnect, I’ve had the great pleasure of working with a broad range of organizations from across a wide spectrum of the bicycle industry- from highly customized hand-crafted bicycles made in North America, to the one-size-fits-all world of public bike share bikes produced in Asia. Better still, I’ve had the gift of the opportunity to meet, ideate and create with some incredible people with whom I might never had the chance to work. In January 2018, I formally and publicly re-entered the bicycle business with the opening of the Serotta Design Studio.  It’s not a 3-click to purchase company, nor will you find my new bicycles mixed in with a line-up in general retailers.  With this new endeavor, I wanted to establish a direct relationship with each cyclist who places her/his trust in us to deliver an exceptionally wonderful product. It’s not that I have anything against retailers as a whole, not at all.  It’s just that I’d rather not dilute the information flow, so that I really know we are delivering the best product for each client.  Besides, it’s more fun and more informative getting the direct feedback. In a way, ‘The Studio” is both a continuum and a new beginning, building on a great  legacy that’s fed by a fresh and almost limitless stream of new ideas and opportunities.” I remain as dedicated as ever to improving life experiences through cycling. Want to learn more about Ben’s current projects?  You can find his work below: https://benserotta.com/ https://www.serottadesignstudio.com/

BF Podcast Ep. 11: Fitting Aerodynamics with John Cobb

Ep. 11 Sponsor - BikeFit Education

Take bike fitting to the next level or join the world of bike fitting through our amazing 2-day courses provided around the country and the world.  Find out more about our course offerings now.

Fitting Aerodynamics and John Cobb

On the pod this week, I interview John Cobb. He is a pioneer & innovator in the bike industry since 1972 and is considered part of a handful of legendary figures that helped shape the bike industry. He is often referred to as “Mr. Wind tunnel” and has been a proven pioneer in the area of cycling aerodynamics to help position riders better in order to gain speed and comfort.  He’s designed or been involved with the design for virtually every part of the modern bicycle. His stories are almost as legendary as he is and John provides many of them throughout the podcast.

We focus on aerodynamics since John was one of the first to ever put a human inside a wind tunnel.  How he convinced the kind and intelligent people of Texas A&M to use the wind tunnel for cyclists vs. their usual car testing is quite amazing.  Regardless, John was relentless in spending his own money and time with some of the early pioneers of the industry to study the impact of aerodynamics on cyclists.  This lead naturally to bike fitting as he analyzed position changes and it’s aerodynamic impact but also the tradeoff regarding aero vs. comfort.

The Podcast breaks down into 4 major topics but as you’ll notice, I let John’s brilliant mind meander down the rabbit hole in any direction as only he can bring the most amazing stories to life.

1.) Coaching and bike fitting symbiosis

2.) Bike fitting

3.) Aerodynamics

4.) Crank length

THE DIVE: Ep. 11 Topics

  • Getting into the cycling business when a friend offered him bikes as a form of payment
  • History in cars, not bikes
  • John Cobb’s history before saddles
  • “You’re my last resort.  If you can’t fix me, I’m gonna quit biking,” says the cyclist. “I’ll take that responsibility,” John replies.

Coaching and Fitting Symbiosis

  • “Finding a good coach is like buying shoes, just cause somebody’s a good coach doesn’t mean they are a good coach for you.  So you have to be willing to make the change.”
  • “You have to build trust to really help someone”
  • Many people will not be honest about what they can do on the bike.  It’s the fitter’s responsibility to establish trust to truly help someone.

Bike Fitting and Aerodynamics

  • How John designed helmets for Rudy Project
  • Getting caught in the hype of aerodynamics
  • What makes a bike fitter great is experience.
  • John fitting athletes with real-time feedback out of the back door of B&L cycles in Hawaii
  • The journey of fitting for free around the country
  • The importance of age group athletes vs. professionals
  • Allow cyclists to self-select to find the right position.
  • The crossover between running form and bike fitting
  • John’s experience with pressure mapping software
  • In fitting, it’s important that the cyclist can’t see what the technology is doing

Crank Length

  • John’s work with Dr. Jim Martin
  • Case studies of crank length changes
  • “God did not command everybody to use 172.5 length cranks.”
  • The pinewood derby
  • The speed of aerodynamics
  • Crank length is a tuning tool
  • Crank length’s connection to chainring size

Everyone says your seat height is too low or your seat height is too high…You can take the 10 people that are the most gifted fitters in America and all 10 of them will come up with a different seat height for you.  There’s just not a math answer to that. People that use math, just purely math to set things, all they are doing is putting you in a position that is safe–that you’re not probably gonna get hurt. You’re probably not going be fast but you are not going to get hurt.  For a bike retail store that’s a good deal, but for somebody who wants to go win races, that’s not the right way.

John Cobb

Speed and Comfort

John Cobb has been an avid cyclist since 1973, going through the steps of recreational cycling, touring, road racing and getting involved in the new sport of triathlon in 1981. Triathlons were particularly interesting to John and he began to focus more on that area as he developed skills in fitting and designing bikes. John opened his first retail bike shop in 1981, always having a focus of making his customers faster and more comfortable. He began testing human riders in 1984 at the Texas A& M WindTunnel and soon developed a reputation and a following for delivering the fastest bikes and riders around the world. John has always had a natural curiosity and an ability to see something in his mind and then be able to actually build it with his hands to test his theories. He has designed frames, wheels, cranks, helmets, saddles, handlebars, clothing and virtually every other part of modern bicycles, having many, many designs and products that lead the way today. John has always been willing to explore the outer limits of different sports and his continuing research will hopefully help riders for many years to come.

Want to learn more about John’s current projects?  You can find his work below:

https://speedandcomfort.com/

https://www.facebook.com/SpeedandComfort/

BF Podcast Ep. 10: Size Cycle or Fit Bike with Chris Balser

Ep. 10 Sponsor - BiSaddle ShapeShifter EXT BikeFit Edition

Adjust and customize your saddle specifically for your unique body, goals, and needs as a cyclist.  The BiSaddle ShapeShafter BikeFit Edition is the only saddle in the world to offer width and shape changes.  Now in our new colorway, black with white logos.  

Size Cycle vs. Fit Bike

Chris Balser, otherwise known as the bicycle fit guru, joined the podcast this week to discuss the ongoing debate on how to define the dynamic units pictured in most fitting images found on the web, social media or in shops around the world.  Chris is clearly a specialist on this because he already composed an article on his blog a few years ago titled, “Fit Bike? or Size Cycle?”   He conducted trials testing the fits between a fit bike and a trainer and measured client outcomes.  Through this podcast, Chris aims to answer the question of whether the dynamic fitting bikes on the market currently are better for actual bike fitting or does the true value reside in using it as a pre-bike purchase sizing mechanism.

Interestingly enough, in Ep. 10 Chris goes well beyond the discussion of what it should be called and expertly explains his experience with bike fitting technology and it’s the accuracy when fitting the unique human body to a bicycle.

The podcast is broken down into 3 sections where Chris discusses the following:

1.) The Accuracy of 3D analysis systems

2.) Size Cycle or Fit Bike

3.) The bike fitting placebo effect

THE DIVE: Ep. 10 Topics

  • Journey Into Bike Fitting
  • “I may not have it, but there’s always a solution to a problem.”

3D Systems Review

  • 3D marker accuracy, the attempt to change the world of bike fitting
  • Morphology’s impact on 3D marker accuracy
  • What are the dots actually showing you?
  • The detail of the fit is in the person
  • The abandonment of symmetry protocols
  • Attempting to create symmetry may create more problems than it solves
  • Other reasons of why L/R power may not be even–a look at body symmetry
  • The dots (3d motion capture) don’t tell you enough about the human body

Size Cycle or Fit Bike?

  • There is a tremendous amount of variability between what constitutes getting fit on a fit bike and riding outside.”
  • Testing the fit bike on his own clients vs. the trainer
  • “The trainer does not represent real life, it represents a trainer.”
  • The fit bike fit tendencies
  • Stabilizers in bike fitting–the impact of a sizing stem
  • The nervous system response to a fit bike
  • Center of gravity on a fit bike
  • Size Cycle is necessary for new bike purchasing
  • Chris’ protocol for finding proper stem length
  • The accuracy of transferring measurements from fit bike to bicycle
  • Imperfections in the bicycle and the impact
  • Fit bike position vs. actual bike position

The Bike Fitting Placebo

  • If the fitter says the fit is great, is the fit great?
  • “My knee still hurts” but your bike fit was “perfect”
  • Fitting is trial and error
  • “Test everything against what you think is accurate”
  • “Anything better than shitty is great”
  • Bike shop fit focus
  • Independent fitters should provide a great product and should have exceptional outcomes
  • The value of your service should match client expectations
  • Always have a genuine interest in the client and be honest about your limitations

I don’t think you can be fit as well on a bicycle as you can on a fit bike. There’s this holy grail of position that occurs when you get positioned on a fit bike and it’s impossible to replicate.  I think it’s impossible to replicate because the nervous system isn’t acting the same. You can relax more on a fit bike than a regular bicycle.

If you’ve even been fit on a fit bike, you know the moment when you’re like, Oh my god, that’s perfect.  It happens and it’s powerful. It really is the holy grail of positions. The problem is it’s not real.  A fit bike is not a bicycle.

 

Chris Balser

Bicycle Fit Guru

Chris Balser started his bike fitting journey in the late 80s by tinkering with the fit of kids he was coaching on the Pedro’s New England Junior Mountain Biking Team.  After moving to Pittsburgh in the early 90s to pursue a doctoral degree in psychiatric and alcohol epidemiology, racing elite mountain bikes and opening his own bike shop, Steel Mill Cycles, Chris was dealing with chronic knee pain.  A specialist at the University of Pittsburgh diagnosed him with severe chrondomalica and informed him that he would never run or race again.

Instead of quitting, Chris decided to utilize the University of Pittsburgh database to delve into the research of the body, his injury and began a lifelong learning process in becoming a great bike fitter.  In fact, Chris still researches the human condition regularly and is currently researching how a human functions more like a primate on the bike.  

He utilized Fit Kit at his shop in Pittsburgh and eventually moved to Minneapolis where he started the fit program for Erik’s Bike Shop.  After working there for about 10 years, Chris could not endorse the new program adopted by the shop and he left to create his independent fitting business Bicycle Fit Guru in 2008.  

Chris went on to invest and study new technology in bike fitting.  He developed a 27-marker, 860-operator integrated 3d/ EMG program for cycling assessment protocol in 2012 and developed a biofeedback protocol to reduce counterproductive pedaling technique.  He also developed a symmetry protocol and a fit bike that would simulate “real world” conditions for BTS Bioengineering in Italy.   

Chris’s extensive research, consultation, and development of technology led him to discover that those tools of bike fitting do not render the accuracy required to match the individual unique human condition as well as the function of the body on a bike in “real world” conditions.  

Through this process, he also became a yoga instructor, continues to ride his bike, fits over 800 cyclists per year, fits cyclists from around the country to solve issues and spends time with his wife and two kids in Minnesota.  To learn more about Chris’ bike fitting and life journey, see his personal bio.

To learn more about Chris’s bike fitting services or to contact him for a bike fitting, please see his website below:

https://www.bicyclefitguru.com/

BF Podcast Ep. 9: Does Crank Length Matter with Dr. Jim Martin

Ep. 8 Sponsor - Festka

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Does Crank Length Matter?

Renowned cycling researcher Dr. Jim Martin from the University of Utah joins the podcast this week to discuss the implications of crank length on cycling. Dr. Martin’s research was originally motivated by examining kid’s standard crank length and attempting to find the optimal solution. Although his research on this topic was published in 2001, many people have strong feelings about specific crank lengths and how it affects cycling. Dr. Martin provides a colorful and detailed picture of the science behind crank length as well as multiple examples from his long career of working with national and world level athletes.

THE DIVE: Ep. 8 Topics

  • Custom-built equipment in the University of Utah Lab: Inertia load cycling system for maximum power testing, a biomechanical system with force sensing pedals, and an isokinetic bike.
  • “If you only have store-bought equipment, you can only do store-bought research.”
  • The importance of leg flexion in cycling
  • The negative impacts of poor leg flexion: blood flow, aerodynamic impact, and hip impingement.
  • Who should ride on shorter cranks?
  • Maximum power impact on crank length
  • Pedal Speed vs. Cadence
  • Muscles need to relax during the cycle
  • Cadence’s profound effect on muscle relaxation
  • Cycling is concentric but may provide an eccentric effect
  • Pedaling is not a sophisticated technique–regardless of crank length, the muscles still respond to the same motor control program
  • Looking at muscles individually vs. the whole in cycling
  • How much of a crank length change is required to experience a “difference.”
  • Short cranks make you feel taller
  • Dr. Martin’s thoughts on Bike Fitting
  • A crank length suggestion for national and world champion track cyclist Robert Forstemann
  • A reduction in crank length requires an increase in gear ratio.
  • Cycling effect on diabetes study
  • One leg cycling
  • Cycling inefficiency
  • Future research in ACL reconstruction and one leg cycling to restore symmetry
  • PRs with Birkenstocks
  • Dr. Martin’s favorite track cyclist

The interesting thing about crank length is how amazingly sensitive people are to crank length.  Most will know immediately that their cranks are different.  Where I think it goes wrong is, just because you can tell there’s a difference, does it make a difference?  All our work shows it [crank length] does not compromise power or efficiency.

Dr. Jim Martin

Dr. Jim Martin Biography:

Associate Professor in the Department of Nutrition and Integrative Physiology, within the College of Health at The University of Utah and a Fellow of the American College of Sports Medicine. He teaches graduate and undergraduate courses in biomechanics and muscle physiology. His research areas include neuromuscular function, biomechanics, physical activity, and performance modeling. Applications of these areas range from optimizing elite sport performance to facilitating physical activity in desk-bound office workers. He is an author on 50 papers in peer-reviewed journals and three book chapters which have been cited over 2000 times. He has been an investigator on research funding totaling approximately two million dollars. He is the sole inventor on one patent and a co-inventor on one other. He has served as a consultant to several sports organizations including the USA Cycling, Australian Institute of Sport, the English Institute of Sport, Canada’s Own the Podium, High Performance Sport New Zealand, and Oracle Team USA where he has worked with World and Olympic Champions. He holds a Bachelors’s degree in Mechanical Engineering and Masters and Doctoral Degrees in Exercise Science.  Dr. Martin’s publications can be viewed on his Google Scholar Profile.  When not working, he enjoys spending time with his family, hiking, cycling, and woodworking.

Find out more about his research or contact Dr. Martin via the University of Utah website. 

Read More about the Research Referenced on the Podcast:

Determinants of maximal cycling power: crank length, pedaling rate and pedal speed.

Effects of Pedal Speed and Crank length on Joint Powers during Submaximal Cycling

Biomechanics of Counterweighted One-Legged Cycling

Effect of Crank Length on Joint-Specific Power during Maximal Cycling

More Great Episodes

BF Podcast Ep.8: The Independent Bike Fitter with Sean Madsen

Ep. 8 Sponsor - G8 Performance

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The Independent Bike Fitter

In Ep. 8 I spoke with Sean Madsen who is the owner of the Denver Fit Loft in Denver Colorado.  After running the Specialized BG Fit program for 5 years and fitting some of the greatest cyclists in the world (Peter Sagan, Vincenzo Nibali, and Tom Boonen), Sean decided to embark upon his own project to provide custom bike fitting for Denver area cyclists. After 5 years of running the BG Fit program, he noticed that on average only 10% of the thousands of people he trained implemented fit effectively in their business.  Sean attributes this to the fact that the majority of bike shops’ primary task is to sell bikes and bike-related inventory and provide bike service.  While bike fitting is a service, many of the trained fitters were also managers, owners, mechanics, salespersons…etc.  He expressed that fitting gets “pushed down on the priority list” when a shop needs to pay bills, move inventory and employees have multiple responsibilities.  As a result, he created his own independent bike fitting business to implement the strategies he formerly taught but without the capital investment of bicycles and bicycle equipment.

Sean also spends significant time on the pod defining different types of bike fitting and why it’s important that these exist: foundation fitting, custom fitting, and pre bike purchase sizing.  He also offers advice to bike shops and fitters on finding success with fitting and sizing in the current marketplace.

Of course, we also traverse plenty of other great topics in cycling and fitting.  Take a look at the rundown below:

THE DIVE: Ep. 8 Topics

  • Sean’s background with BG Fit and studying with Dr. Andy Pruitt
  • Why custom fitting is not functioning well in many bike shops
  • The benefits of an independent bike fit studio
  • The appropriate level of fitting at a bike shop
  • Sizing vs. Fitting
  • Pre Bike Purchase Sizing
  • The adjustable bicycle and the adapable human body
  • PTs and bike fitting
  • How often a cyclist should get a bike fit
  • Advice to bike shops to be successful with fitting in the current sales landscape
  • Foundation bike fit vs. custom bike fit
  • The length of a bike fit session
  • How to discern whether someone needs a custom bike fit vs. a foundation bike fit
  • Mountain bike fitting
  • Marketing in bike fitting
  • Fitting is rider education
  • How bike fitting is currently devalued by some who offer it

Fitting is a full customization of the bike to the rider and to get to that true customization you really have to understand the rider.  You’ve got to understand their goals, history, experience, anatomy, range of motion, stability and you have to know how all of those things relate to that rider. It’s only through understanding the rider in total that you’re going to be able to address their issues effectively and precisely.  To get to that level and to really understand the rider takes education, a lot of experience and a lot of practice.

Sean Madsen

Sean Madsen is a world-renown cycling biomechanics expert who has worked with over 12,000 athletes of all abilities during a career spanning 20 years. Early in his career, Sean honed his skills at the prestigious Boulder Center for Sports Medicine where he studied under the founder of modern bike fitting, Dr. Andy Pruitt PA EdD.  Sean then moved to California to create and grow Specialized’s Body Geometry Fit program where he taught thousands of fitters worldwide. He is one of the foremost experts in aerodynamic testing, working with over 200 athletes in the wind tunnel and over 100 more in velodrome validation testing. Sean has worked with some of the best cyclists and triathletes in the world, including Peter Sagan, Vincenzo Nibali, Tom Boonen, Javier Gomez, and Jan Frodeno. Making the best of the best a little faster is fun, but creating ways to help the everyday rider become a life-long cyclist and enthusiast is the most rewarding. Most of all, Sean is a passionate cyclist who has dedicated his life to showing others how riding a bike can change your life.

You can contact Sean or find out more about his practice by visiting the Denver Fit Loft website.

BF Podcast Ep. 7: The Crossroads of Coaching and Bike Fitting with Hunter Allen

Ep. 7 Sponsors

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The LEOMO TYPE-R is a wearable motion analysis device which measures and records motion with amazing accuracy. Bringing together the latest in motion-sensing technology, biomechanics, and professional level feedback, the TYPE-R can elevate your training, performance and injury prevention to a whole new level. BikeFit Podcast listeners receive a special 10% off deal by using the code BIKEFITPODCAST during checkout: Leomo Type-R Offer ends on 12/20/2019.

The Crossroads of Coaching and Bike Fitting

I was honored this week to have the opportunity to interview legendary coach, CEO of Peaks Coaching Group, co-founder of Training Peaks software, co-founder of WKO software, co-author of Training and Racing with a Power Meter and co-author of Cutting Edge Cycling, Hunter Allen.  Yes, this is still the BikeFit Podcast so why did I interview a coach? As a matter of fact, Hunter strikes a chord with many bike fitters and cyclists who recognize the crossover between the two practices.  In fact, many BikeFit Pros are coaches as well as fitters.  For those pros, it’s important to mention that for any cyclist to reach their goals, a proper and full fit allows them to reach their potential and it (bike fitting) can be ruled out as a factor hindering performance (Hunter talks about this in the pod).

In the first part of the podcast, Hunter discusses his history in coaching and racing, the updated, 3rd edition of his book and challenges that coaches encounter regularly.  We then traverse into the land of fitting and discuss Hunter’s own fit, his philosophy on how fitting and coaching overlap and his feelings on Q-factor in the cycling industry.  Finally, we discuss the pros and cons of new technology in coaching and the overlap into virtual bike fitting.

Through this podcast, it’s clear that Hunter is incredibly passionate, enthusiastic and wants every cyclist to achieve their goals.  It’s not hard to understand after listening to him for a few minutes why he’s accomplished so much in his career.

THE DIVE: Ep. 7 Topics

  • Hunter’s history from pro cyclist to coach to software founder to author
  • The lack of coaches in the past and the influx today
  • Technology in coaching
  • The challenges for coaches in a tech-heavy, data-driven environment
  • Inside the new changes to “Training and Racing with a power meter, 3rd edition.
  • Power in MTB training vs. road bikes
  • Examples of his coaching with professional mountain bike racer Jeremiah Bishop
  • Where coaching and bike fitting crossover
  • Should cycling coaches also be bike fitters?
  • Why bike fitting is important
  • Virtual bike fitting
  • Coaches referring clients to professional fitters
  • Q-Factor and Stance Width on the bicycle
  • The impact of Pedal Extenders
  • Adapting the body to the bike or the bike to the body
  • Coaches collaboration with bike fitters
  • Fit changes with age
  • Shorter crank length
  • Leomo Type R system in coaching and bike fitting
  • Human asymmetry’s effect on coaching and fitting
  • Interpreting and using data
  • Testing in the real world vs. indoors
  • Hunter’s dream bike

 

In order to produce the most power, in order to be the most economical on a bicycle, you’ve got to have a great bike fit.  

Hunter Allen

Found and CEO, Peaks Coaching Group

Widely known as one of the top experts in the world in coaching endurance athletes using power meters, Hunter Allen is the founder of Peaks Coaching Group, co-founder of TrainingPeaks Software and has been instrumental in developing and spreading the power training principles. Hunter has traveled to over 20 countries and taught thousands of cycling coaches and riders the principles of power training. Hunter is a USA Cycling Level 1 coach, was the 2008 BMX technical coach for the Beijing Olympics and has taught the USA Cycling Power Certification Course since 2005. A former professional cyclist on the Navigators Team, Hunter has been coaching endurance athletes since 1995, and his athletes have achieved more than 2000 victories and numerous national, world championship titles and Olympic Medals. Hunter is known as the “Coaches Coach” and frequently has coaches from around the world consulting with him to learn more about the latest in cycling and triathlon training principles. He is a sought after consultant for many endurance-oriented tech companies and has worked with numerous companies to develop products for the cycling world.

Hunter’s goal has always been to teach athletes how to maximize their training and racing potential through professional analysis of their power data. This goes hand in hand with his philosophy that a power meter helps athletes discover their true strengths and weaknesses, quantitatively assess their training improvements, and refine and maximize the focus of their training. Hunter firmly believes that power training can add a whole new dimension to your cycling. By using a power meter, you literally have a second-by-second training diary that allows your coach to not only see exactly what you do on your rides but also plan your training using the dose-and-response method. Hunter’s power training method has built success at all levels of cycling and endurance sports, and he has trained such well-known professional and Olympic athletes as Jeremiah Bishop, Daniel Lloyd, Sue Haywood, Gawie Combrinck, Tomas Gil, Donny Robinson, Mike Day, Arielle Verharren, and Dan Fleeman.

 

A former professional cyclist for Team Navigators and has raced for over seventeen years, including BMX, MTB, and Road. He raced in Europe, South America, the USA, and Canada and has over forty road victories to his credit. Considered a great all-rounder, he was able to learn a wide variety of race tactics and skill necessary to succeed at the professional level, an FTP of 410 didn’t hurt either…For the past twenty years, PCG has been a leader in the industry in the field of power training for endurance cyclists of all levels. Hunter has mentored, taught over 100 coaches within PCG during this time and still spends his day working with the coaches of PCG. This unique opportunity has given Hunter the ability to review thousands of power files and racer profiles and develop an artful science of power training and coaching. During this time period, he also co-developed TrainingPeaks’ WKO software, co-authored the book, “Training and Racing with a Power Meter” with Dr. Andrew R. Coggan, co-authored the book “Cutting Edge Cycling” with Dr. Stephen Cheung. “Training and Racing with a Power Meter” book has been translated into 8 languages and sold over 120,000 copies.
 
As a coach, Hunter makes sure to look at each athlete as a whole person. He excels at designing custom programs designed to maximize each rider’s potential. He believes we are human beings working closely with other human beings, and it’s important to him to work hard to find your strengths and weaknesses and to help you improve your skills, then develop a realistic plan that works for life. It is important that a coach learn as much as he can about you as an athlete and as a person in order to better develop a plan for success. He has now coached over 700 athletes and still learns something new from each one.
Hunter holds a B.A. in Economics from Randolph-Macon College and lives with his family in Bedford, Virginia, with his wife Kate and three growing children, Thomas, Jack, and Susannah. He is also a certified yoga and tai chi instructor, and a certified personal trainer. In his spare time, he enjoys driving, racing and tinkering with fast cars, hunting, fishing, and of course cycling!

BF Podcast Ep. 6: What is Bike Fitting with Happy Freedman

Ep. 6 Sponsors

Festka bicycles are made from the combination of the best carbon and graphite industrial fibers used in the spacecraft industry, handcrafted with tube-to-tube connections, Ti drop-outs, and modern finishing materials.  Festka produces state of the art bicycles in 24 different sizes as well as custom geometries and sizes.

BikeFit Podcast listeners receive custom geometry, a $340 value, for free!  Just contact Festka via their website and be sure to mention the BikeFit Podcast!

BikeFit Training provides the tools to become a competent bike fitter or take fitting to the next level.  See our upcoming training dates.

Ep. 6 What is Bike Fitting? A fitting conference within a conference at the Philadephia Bike Expo.

In Ep. 6, I was invited by renowned bike fitter Happy Freedman from the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City to join a talk with a group of fitters from around the country where he attempted to answer the question, “What is bike fitting?” In our conversation, some of the visiting fitters from New York, Connecticut, New Jersey, Tennesee, Kansas received the opportunity to share their thoughts and ask Happy questions about fit. He describes the current state of bike fitting, where he feels the focus should be, and the future of fitting.

The episode occurred in a large atrium of the Pennsylvania Convention Center at the Philadelphia Bike Expo.  It’s wonderful to see that the expo is supporting bike fitting through a few symposiums and also Happy requesting fitters around the country to help cyclists enjoy their ride more and meet their goals through bike fitting.

Happy provides some incredible insights into bike fitting from the wealth of knowledge he’s gained through over 40 years of experience.

The dive in Ep.6 by topic:

  • The definition of fitting
  • Bike Fitting as a real estate grab
  • Creating a history and definition of fitting prior to the point where a national certification exists
  • How to serve all communities with different types of fits
  • Teaching the skills of recognizing one’s own body in space and it’s application to bike fitting
  • Mobile
  • The rider as a the dynamic source in the fitting
  • Fitting for a cockpit or range vs. a single spot on the bike
  • The goal of bike fitting: efficiency vs. watts
  • How cyclist history influences fitting
  • The role of airflow (elasticity of intercostals)
  • Aero vs. breathing
  • The future of bike fitting
  • The big picture: rider’s needs vs. bike needs
  • Fitting for an injury
  • Fitters can’t fix everything–referrals
  • Size Cycles in fitting
  • Coaching requirements vs. fitting requirements
  • A millimeter does not make that much of a difference

Fitter’s who asked questions or commented in the episode:

Happy Freedman is passionate about bicycling and creating a synergy between the cycling and medical communities, advancing the science and art of bike fit, to help riders of all abilities to achieve their performance goals. He has been instrumental in developing the first multi-disciplinary, hospital-based, state-of-the-art bike fitting program of its kind here at Hospital for Special Surgery, where he has worked in a range of capacities for over ten years. He works in close cooperation with physical therapists and investigators in the motion lab, and the new bike fit program will advance performance, clinical bike fit evaluations, and research.

Happy has presented on bike fitting at the International Cycle Fit Symposium in London and numerous events throughout the US. He is a founding faculty member of the Medicine of Cycling Conference held annually at USA Cycling in Colorado Springs, where he presents both on bike fitting and on medical emergencies in cycling. He is on the advisory committee of IBFI, the International Bike Fit Institute, and was formerly faculty at the Bike Fit school, established by Ben Serotta. He is an experienced cycling coach, including over ten years for the Columbia University D1 Cycling Team, as well as having been a certified coach and official for the United States Cycling Federation.

Happy focuses on fitting the cyclist, not the bike, to address the individual needs of the rider, and collaborates with staff in Performance Services to develop an evidence-based protocol for bike fitting.

Tel: 646.797.8005
Fax: 212.774.2089

https://www.happyfreedman.com/

https://www.hss.edu/rehab-staff_Freedman-Happy.asp

BF Podcast Ep. 5: The Foot is a Microcosm with G8 Performance CEO David Lee

Ep. 5 Sponsor: Festka

Frames made from the combination of the best carbon and graphite industrial fibers used in the spacecraft industry, handcrafted with tube-to-tube connections, Ti drop-outs, and modern finishing materials.  Festka produces state of the art bicycles in 24 different sizes as well as custom geometries and sizes.

BikeFit Podcast listeners receive custom geometry, a $340 value, for free!  Just contact Festka via their website and be sure to mention the BikeFit Podcast!

In Episode 5, I connected with CEO and founder of G8 Performance, David Lee.  While there is, of course, some inherent bias as I need to mention that BikeFit is the North American distributor of G8 insoles, the conversation with David is not a sales pitch but rather an exploration of the often ignored and overlooked extremity of the body: the feet.

David transitioned from an investment banker to a member of an elite special forces unit in the US Army to the eventual company owner and relentless advocate for the promotion of foot health.  He focuses on on the foot as a microcosm of its own rather than the belief that the “foot is just a lever.”

We discuss the dangers of current footwear, how they significantly impact and injure the feet, the brain’s connection to the feet, and the imperative need to promote movement and blood flow within the foot during any type of athletic activity.

The Dive: Ep. 5 Topics:

  • Foot movement during force expulsion
  • How the use of modern running and cycling shoes affects nerve receptions and muscle atrophy
  • The Golden Ratio 1:1.618 as seen in the pyramids and the Mona Lisa.
  • Cycling shoes are worse than running shoes
  • The foot as a lever vs. its own piece of complicated machinery
  • Calf and Achilles issues in cycling
  • The foot is an ecosystem–an ant mound.
  • The foot has the highest concentration of nerve endings in the body
  • Comparing insole types
  • Foot function and movement in the shoe
  • Rehabilitation possibilities of an insole
  • G8 benefits
  • The connection, or lack there of, with brain to foot based on insole
  • Foot correction affects other parts of the kinetic chain
  • The lifecycle of an insole
  • Benefits of a flexible orthotic
  • Bike fitting and injury prevention should start with the foot

David references a number of scholarly articles in the podcast.  Please see the links below for more information:

David Lee’s approach to the health of feet is simple: to reduce injury and increase athletic performance for everyone, whether you are a professional athlete, a weekend warrior, or someone who simply likes to go for a social walk or a bike ride.

David has long understood what it means to have issues with foot pain, numbness, calf cramping, and shin splints, suffering from these since he was a teenager. These issues were exacerbated for him during his time as a soldier in the US Army from 2003, where he worked and trained with US Elite Special Forces, and throughout six deployments, where the pressure and stress on his feet and legs were unparalleled. 

After leaving the army and returning to Australia, David sought solutions to his foot issues, at one time importing an adjustable orthotic device from the United States. This had its limitations, so he ultimately decided to develop his own product – and from there, G8 Performance was born.

David has been active within the performance orthotic industry since 2010, owning G8 Performance since 2012. Unlike other insole and orthotic solutions which merely provide a “band-aid” approach to foot issues, David’s business seeks to actively address the core problems which cause pain in the feet and which can be referred into the legs, ankles, knees and even the hips. He also wants to change the way the industry approaches feet – both in the cycling and sporting arena, as well as in everyday life.

David’s vision for the future is to bring “podiatry to the people” via outlets that prescribe customized foot solutions and which consider the function of the foot within a shoe – regardless of whether it is a cycling shoe, an athletic shoe, or even everyday footwear. With improved dynamic foot health, athletic performance is enhanced and injuries are reduced.

 

Contact David

G8 Performance

 

BF Podcast Ep. 4: Watch and Listen: The Tools of Bike Fitting with Jerry Gerlich

In Episode 4, I spoke with professional fitter and elite trainer, Jerry Gerlich.  When we connected for our pre-meeting, I sincerely wanted to describe Jerry as the “MacGyver” of bike fitting with his cavalcade of intricate and sometimes odd tools and his solution-focused philosophy that endeavors for answers in non-traditional formats, but as we traversed his bike fitting journey, two main topics arose: watch and listen.

The pod will describe it, but Jerry went from investing in the leading technology in fitting back in 2005 to now where his assessment and treatment relies heavily on the ears and eyes.  He listens to the sound of pedaling, the cadence and the rhythm of the chain.   He intently observes the cyclist; the patterns, body movement and global functioning on the bike.

Jerry also possesses the uncanny ability to describe the experience as if you could feel it yourself as if you could see fitting through his eyes.

Inside Episode 4 of the pod, Jerry delves into a range of important topics:

 

  • Jerry’s history of bike fitting and use of the Velotron
  • What looks good in the bike fit studio doesn’t always feel the same in real life
  • Using Duct Tape to augment arch support
  • Sock movement’s guide in fitting
  • Global functioning across the bicycle
  • Jerry’s unique tools (image to the right)
  • Customizing G8 Insoles (cheese grater, toe nail clippers and heating plastic)
  • Teaching the cyclist how to ride (feedback loop)
  • Proprioception in Cycling
  • The worst first approach to fitting
  • How the cyclist feels vs. how they look (stability).  Which one is more important?
  • Stability and symmetry
  • The journey from high tech to low tech: moving away from the numbers
  • Listen to the bike
  • Incline and decline testing in fitting
  • Fit expectations vs. the functional reality of a cyclist.  Why you should not attempt to emulate the position of a pro cyclist
  • Preconceived ideas could lead to unintended consequences
  • Small changes make big differences
  • Big Changes make small differences
  • Shoes are the most important part of bike fitting
  • What to look for and ask when trying to find a competent fitter

Jerry Gerlich has worked with cyclists and triathletes since 1990, gym clients since 2001 and delved into the world of endurance auto racing in 2015 with effective ergonomic suggestions, functional movement remediation, and foot correction techniques.  His knowledge, experience, and truly unique techniques combined with a passion for improved function, posture and performance have improved the lives of hundreds of local, national and international clients.  Jerry’s training includes a degree in Kinesiology from the University of Texas at Austin, personal trainer certification the American Council on Exercise, advanced conditioning through the C.H.E.K Institute, Powerplate USA, Trigger Point Therapy, Heartrate Zone Training/Cycling certifications with Sally Edwards along with dozens of continuing education courses since 2001.

Jerry is one of the few “Steve Hogg Approved” bike fitters worldwide and one of two in the United States.  Because of the stringent acceptance requirements, less than 10% of applicants get through the door to train with Steve in Australia. Steve’s patented fitting techniques are challenging to learn and more challenging to execute across a wide variety of clients.  Some have compared these techniques to effectively tuning musical instruments by ear.  Less than 30% of those allowed in for training make it through the process successfully.  Steve was so confident with Jerry’s bike fitting, assessment, and movement remediation skills, that he was referring U.S. clients to Jerry three years prior to training him.  All of Jerry Gerlich’s comprehensive fitting sessions come with free follow up consultations and a money back if not happy guarantee.

Jerry also has experience helping golfers, skiers, equestrians, musicians and auto racing drivers with improved comfort/function and achieving new performance heights.  Clients have ranged in age between 15 and 94 with many of them arriving from different states and countries. Testimonials can be found on the Castle Hill Fitness Ergo Lab and Steve Hogg’s bike-fitting websites.

Contact Jerry

Castle Hill Fitness

 

BF Podcast Ep. 3: Paul’s Corner–Saddle Height and Saddle Selection

Part 3 and the final part of our series on saddle height in bike fitting continues with an interview with the founder of BikeFit, Paul Swift. We refer to these regular episodes as “Paul’s Corner” where he not only weighs in on our previous podcast topics but expounds upon what he perceives in the world of cycling and specifically with bike fitting.  

Today’s riveting topics cover the following:

  • The range of saddle height and the variables that affect it.
  • Challenges to setting up proper saddle height.
  • Rider variability
  • The art and science of bike fitting
  • “T-r-i” which is the same as “try” but we were thinking of our triathletes
  • The Saddle Changer’s impact in finding the right saddle.
  • Saddle discomfort
  • Saddle shape and selection
  • Sit bone measurement
  • The BiSaddle
  • and much more…

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:

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]

BikeFit Education

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