Last week the "world's best bicycle company" hosted the latest course at the training 'University' it has set up at it's U.S. headquarters at Morgan Hill in California, and I was privileged to be one of 3 Australian participants. Morgan Hill is located in a beautiful area about 30km south of San Jose. The location is a cyclists dream, quiet roads with a mixture of flat and hills, amidst some of the nicest scenery around. For the mountain biker there are awesome trails, again with a great variety of single track and fire road, with some glorious views up towards San Francisco from the mountain tops.
That was the fun part of the experience, the rest of the time was spent in classes and laboratories learning in depth the processes of manufacture and function behind the Specialized product. We learned how they have a frame testing machine which simulates 15 years of continuous 'sprinting', which is the standard test for all their frames. We also learned that they test to destruction 1500 frames a year, which is more than some companies produce!
The biggest emphasis was reserved for the BG (Body Geometry) line of products ,which are anything that the body has contact with on the bicycle. They are committed to making riding on a performance bike a comfortable, healthy experience which so often it isn't. Specialized have introduced a line of products that are scientifically developed and medically tested to give performance and most importantly comfort benefits. They have employed outside medical professionals to test and advise. The shoes and footbeds are my favourite products but the gloves and saddles are close behind.
The best part of the week however was doing the BG FIT course which was the last 3 days of the course. This was run by Andy Pruitt from the Boulder Centre for Sports Medicine. Andy is a world expert in bike fitting and bicycle related injuries. Although I had a high level of experience in bike fitting he was able to train us in the science of bike fit . We were trained to be able to eliminate pain, to generate more wattage and the power to allow cyclists to ride longer and faster. Shortly we will be adding professional bike fitting to our services here at Lifecycle. A full assessment and bike fit will take in the order of 2 hours so appointments will be necessary, however the benefits will be worth it.
All in all a great experience and even though I have been around more years than I care to mention I was able to learn so much. The biggest impression however was the vision of the Specialized company. They are a company still like a family business determined to be the 'best' bike company in the world. not necessarily the biggest. They are always the leaders in innovation and introduction of useful new product. Everyday there is a lunchtime ride and company founder Mike Sinyard is often a participant (see below).
It is a good thing Lifecycle is a part of the Specialized story.