I thought I would take this opportunity to write my first proper blog post. It'll hopefully give you a little background on why Pedal Precision exists, why we do it the way we do and how it's different from other bike fit procedures.
I fell in love with the bicycle from an early age and have raced in various disciplines with wildly varying levels of success or lack of ever since. As a consequence I cannot remember a time when I wasn't the one that friends came to with bike problems or for advise about which model to buy etc.
The other side to the equation, and to cut a very long story short, following a battle with Cancer, I was forced to look at myself and attempt to regain some of the fitness I had before I was diagnosed. Coming 'back' from what I considered to be a shell of a body to be able to ride 12 and 24hr mountain bike races competitively was a tall order and one which I still consider to be a work in progress. It did however give me a foundation and a passionate interest in injury rehabilitation and sports performance.
"This story isn't being cut very short Richard" ...I hear you. Having decided I needed a new vocation I went back to University to study Sports Rehabilitation specifically. Whilst there I was also still working in the bike industry part time and trying to ride and race as much as I could. Anyway, the more I learnt, the better my advice became and more people began seeking me out at races for advice on aches, pains and riding positions. I developed a thirst for biomechanical and bike-fit related knowledge and started combining these disciplines and picking holes in the methods I saw being used.
It became more and more obvious that a person with this combination of skills and knowledge could be very valuable to all types of cyclist whether it was the cosmopolitan but eco friendly mother of two who rides her bike to the organic deli and back but is suffering with lower back pain, to the elite road-racer who has recurring knee issues and doesn't feel he gets enough power when climbing in the saddle.
Having worked at the cutting edge of sports medicine with a number of professional teams (rugby and football), I was also getting feedback from other medical professionals, many of whom were happy to admit that they could comfortably treat the injury of someone lying on their treatment bed, but when it came to cyclists there weren't many people who could actually combine that knowledge with knowledge of the technological side of the bike or look at the person when riding and truly know how to adapt a position or bike to stop the injury occurring.
In the end it was a simple decision. I wanted to help all cyclists of all abilities to get the most from their bikes and their riding.
The main problem I had with the methods of bike fitting already on display was that whilst some of them may appear very technical, they still use a lot of mathematical formulae or rules based on a "perfect position" where angle X should be Y and distance T should be U. It seemed like these rules were being used in favour of the fitter actually understanding the principles of how the body was working with the bike and what effect the adjustments would make to the rider. This is where I wanted to be different.
At Pedal Precision we still use some of these methods for bike fitting, but we don't believe that the human body ever fits a formula. We work together with the rider to give them a position which truly works for them and help them offload any joints or structures which may be causing discomfort and often give them ammunition to address any movement dysfunction or muscular imbalance for a truly long term solution.
A lot of the method that I have devised uses HD Slow-Motion video footage. This enables us to look at a rider from many different angles, and with extensive sports injury and biomechanical knowledge we can see what is happening when a rider pedals at many levels. We can then make the physical adjustments to the bike to achieve the best position for that individual or make recommendations for exercises etc that will help them overcome the root causes for any movement or control issues that are more body rather than bike based.
So there, you have it. A little dry for my first post I'm afraid, but thought it worth giving you the background.
As I've been writing this I've also been keeping an eye on the elite men's World Championship Time Trial, and what can I say. Incredible ride by Tony Martin. Hard luck to Brad, I was really hoping that he could end his season with a huge trophy to offset some of the other relative disappointment of this season, a cracking effort anyway. And he's been a great champion but it's good to see some competition for young Mr.Cancellara.
All the best, happy riding. Richard.