ADVANCED BIKE FITTING WITH STEVE HOGG
There hasn't been a single person or organisation that has made as much bike fitting information readily available and free to the public than Steve. His bike fitting website/blog is the most detailed, informative and viewed bike fitting resource in the world today and Steve has committed an immeasurable amount of his own personal time, over many years to answering troubled cyclists questions and emails from all over the world, in the hope the advice he can provide, will help both them and others resolve their positional issues.
TRAINING WITH STEVE HOGG
I was born and raised in South West Scotland and I’ve been riding bikes for more than 30 years. My earliest cycling memories are of stealing my Dad’s steel Merckx from the shed and riding it around the streets using the top tube as a saddle. I was quick on two legs and the funny thing is when I was about 12 or 13 years old, I appeared in Dad’s garage announcing the need for some kind of wooden wedge (to be fabricated there and then), or something at least, that I could place between my foot and the pedal (I swear I’m not making this up!) to “even out the pressure on my foot.” I could sprint and run well……….why the hell could I not transfer that same feeling of power through to my bicycle pedals?
I became involved with mountain bikes and rode into nearby forests before there were recognised trails. I rode because it was the fastest you could do anything as a child and it also provided me with freedom to explore. Roll on a number of years and finally I could afford a road bike of my own and so the journey begins………………..
With an inherent curiosity and a desire to get the best out of every pedal stroke - I started buying books and applying traditional positioning methods to fit myself to my bike. I tried everything but could never get happy nor comfortable on a road bike. I had worn a pair of bib shorts right out on one side when I discovered a DVD called “Sitting Pretty”. Who’s this guy?
Roll on a few more years and in 2011 I began digesting Steve’s site. This was a revelation to me and so I began experimenting. Dealing with the feet was always always at the forefront of my mind and reading Steve’s articles on foot correction triggered a deeper interest still. The more I read, the more things made sense to me. I also began asking a lot more questions; but with more information comes even more questions! In the end, I reasoned that as I had needed to travel to the south of England to get a decent bikefit from Scherrit Knoesen, then there was scope for making a similar service available to the people of Scotland.
So I began bike fitting!
I began bike fitting by fitting people for free, developing an eye and my own style of fitting. When I started the business, I already had ideas about training with Steve; that was the goal, but like anything in life you have to cut your teeth and put the work in. I set myself the challenge of an apprenticeship. I said 5-6 years and if I feel ready I’ll go for it ……………………… if he’ll accept me. The thing here is, Steve doesn’t accept everyone that applies for training and he definitely doesn’t certify everyone either. I needed to be sure that for one, I enjoyed what I was doing and was good at it and then secondly that I was confident enough in my own ability to travel to the other side of the world and put my neck on the line training with him.
I’d been corresponding with Steve for 8 or 9 years, so in 2018 during a visit to the UK I met with Steve, by invitation, to take a look at the methods he was currently developing. Steve was keen to get across the idea that fitting is more about bodies than bikes in the sense that the more functional issues that we can fix for the client before they get on their bike, the better the outcome. I wholeheartedly agree.
What I like about Steve's approach is there’s a genuine interest in the client - that’s the prime focus and that's why everyone that has trained with Steve offers a money back guarantee on their services. We all have that same genuine interest in our clients satisfaction. That’s all that matters. The other critical aspect of this approach is it enables all of us to continuously learn and to be able to think on our feet.
I roughly knew what Steve’s approach to foot correction was and when we met in England in 2018, I had a first hand look at the Low Velocity Mobilisation techniques that I subsequently learned in Australia. So I had a fair idea of what to expect. Back in Scotland I’d been working with the Applied Movement Neurology paradigm and there is a certain amount of crossover. However, understanding the reasoning behind a range of techniques and being able to apply them to a widely varying clientele who all respond differently are two very different things.
I loved working on foot correction and we had some foot correction revelations when I was there which was really interesting. Learning these methods enables me with certainty to establish clear proprioceptive feedback from the feet and I am delighted to be able to offer that to my fit clients from here on in.
The Low Velocity Mobilisation techniques left me gobsmacked at times, I have to say. To be able to increase joint range of motion and fix muscle laxity and hypertonicity by restoring neurological deficits is something of a game changer. These techniques require attention, skill and a degree of intuition which quite frankly only someone like Steve could have worked out in the first place. It’s a lot to get your head around. I spent most of my time thinking “How the hell did he work all this out? Once again, the more you learn, the more questions that inevitably arise. One of Steve’s strengths is his ability to act on intuition and I enjoyed being around someone with the ability to think ahead and work out solutions ….. maybe it’s all the chess he plays, perhaps it’s a ton of experience, ... perhaps it’s all of these things, but it has enabled Steve to become the bike fitter he has.
3 weeks in Australia with Steve and Margaret was a fantastic experience and it has left a lasting memory. It has given me new skills to integrate into and enhance my own fitting practice, not to mention many more ideas moving forward as well.