a brief recap
Recently someone asked me to write a short bio on Fahrenheit Performance and I had myself scratching my head a little about what to say. Do I write about Fahrenheit Performance Bike Fitting? Fahrenheit Performance Coaching? the Fahrenheit Performance Development Team? or simply Brand: Fahrenheit Performance?
So I guess to really know Fahrenheit Performance you have to rewind to 2010 to this garage in Sunnyvale California.
Back in 2010 I was living the American dream in California, I had a house and garage full of bikes and bike parts with barely any place to park my cars. My weekends were busy with riding and racing in the Northern California racing scene, life was as good the weather over there.
However, the more I rode, the more my curious mind wandered... how do I get more aero? why does that guy make it look so easy? how can I get faster? is my saddle too high? why is this so uncomfortable? how come his knees look like that when he rides.... wait a second how do MY knees look when I ride?
learning a new craft
I was working in downtown San Francisco at the time so my daily commute was over an hour each way so had plenty of time on the train so I read all things cycling related. Back then bike fitting was still in it's infancy, so I found every bike fitting book or article I could find and become obsessed with every cycling biography, cycling technique or coaching book I could find. If it could make me a better cyclist or a bike fitter I would read it. It was after reading Andy Pruitt's Complete Medical Guide for Cyclists that one thing led to another... actually one thing led to a bike fit course at the now defunct Serotta Factory in Saratoga Springs in Upstate New York where I learned the craft from some of the pioneers in the Bike Fitting world. Then Boom.. I had my first certification!
If I wasn't obsessed with bike fitting before that course in NY I was after for sure.
So back my garage in California...
now I was certified, everything was fresh in my mind and eager to learn everything there was to learn about the craft I created the website thebikefitter.com and I started to fit riders out of my garage with some pretty rudimentary equipment... all by hand without any fancy motion capture or anything more than a goniometer, a carpenter's level and a plumb bob. They were fun times and it was all driven by passion.
In no particular order, a move to Singapore / USA Cycling Level 2 Coach / Retul Master Fitter Certification / Bike Fit certification / Geomized Certification and I finally felt that I had my foot in the door.
The problem was that the industry is one based on experience and clients come to you mainly through word of mouth... and coming from a project management / engineering background and completely new to the cycling industry, I had no mouths. So for the first few months, I was knocking on the doors of bike shops, giving talks at events, writing articles for the local cycling magazine and riding every day to talk to as many cyclists as I could. Those first few months were the hardest on me personally and professional in my life, I had a concept... I had a vision... but was starting from scratch.
Fast forward to closer to the present, with the introduction of motion capture and pressure mapping has really brought the precise and quantifiable bike fitting to the masses but in reality they are just fancy tools that help you quantify things that you may not be able to see. Think of it like this... even if you have the best quality sharpest knives in your kitchen, if you are terrible cook... your soup will still taste like crap.
The more I used tech, the more certifications I collected, the more I fit riders... the more I realised that even with all the fancy toys, there is no magic box that solves problems and each rider needs to be considered to be a unique jigsaw puzzle and each bike fit was a unique experience.
Everyone would constantly drum into me it's all about the bike... it's about fitting the bike to the rider... you have to add these wedges to the shoes to compensate for blah blah... raise the handlebars if they have a bad back... lower the saddle to prevent hip rock... if the pain is in the front of the knee the saddle is too low and if the pain is on the side its too high...
but what if it's not the bike... what if it's the rider?
From this concept from is where the Fahrenheit Performance Clinical Bike Fitting protocol was born.
This is how the conversation goes to someone calls me up and asks what a Clinical Bike Fit is:
"So if a traditional bike fit is fitting the bike to the body, a clinical bike fit also fits the body to the bike.
If an olympian / pro athlete is getting 100% from their body, you are somewhere in between zero and one hundred.... let's say 60%... so if you take that 60% and you go to a regular bike fit. As great as the fit is or as great as the bike fitter is... they will always be accomodating the bike to fit your 60% body... and even if you improve your body to 70% then the bike is still stuck back at 60%. and you will always been riding in a compensated position.
what if you can fix the body in the way it interacts with the bike?
what if you can increase that 60% body to a 70% one? wouldn't that be a better solution?"
so clinical bike fitting was born
There are some who say that they already work with a physiotherapist... but the difference is that if you walk into a physio clinic and say that you are a cyclist and you have a pain in your knee for example.. they will probably treat you for that knee pain... or perhaps even search around and find that it was actually driven from the hip or lower back... but until they see you on the bike and see how your bike position is driving body you are not seeing the complete picture.
So the clinical bike fitting goes above and beyond what is provided at most bike fitters and bike shops. Bike shops and bike fitters make adjustments to the bike based on a what they can observe and measure but only a physiotherapist is able to perform a detailed orthopaedic evaluation of the cyclist and determine what their strengths, weaknesses, and limitations are.
finding our sweet spot
when we started Fahrenheit Performance there were already some established bike fitters in Singapore and who had a pretty good hold on the market.... people would ask me "you are going to upset people doing this as you will be taking a piece of their pie" but my reply was always... I am not taking anyone's pie... we will be making the pie bigger... we offer clinical bike fits which no one else can do... so we will be creating an entire new segment of the market. I still count my biggest competitors as friends and would certainly help them if I can if they ever reached out.
So word started to spread about our clinical bike fits, we making our mark as a pretty niche clinic that would solve many problems that others couldn't.
When we started we assumed that those who would come to have a clinical bike fits would be those with pre-existing conditions or recent injuries and they did... but what surprised us was that word was really getting out that we could "unlock the athletes body" and make you a stronger and more efficient cyclist. One rider even came to us once and said that he had just lost a race by half a wheel and he wanted to do everything he could to make sure that didn't happen again.
We were suddenly thrust into the world of Marginal Gains.
So when you ask me to describe Fahrenheit Performance, this is what I'll say:
Born out of a garage in California, Fahrenheit Performance has grown to be one of the leaders cycling analytics. From their roots in bike fitting we have grown to be so much more "because bike fitting is just the beginning...".
Dynamic Bike Fitting, Clinical Bike Fitting, Cycling Coaching, Power Profiling, Customised Training Plans.... it's all possible.