Matching Cyclists With Their Bicycles

Coupling The Cyclist With Their Bicycle - A Match Made In Pullman

B&L Bicycles

Cyclists and bicycles come in all shapes and sizes; however, all cyclists and bikes must work together in harmony regardless of shape or size to channel maximum power to the pedals with minimum discomfort or injury to the body. That’s where B&L Bicycles’ Cycling Analysis and Fit Process B&L Bicycles’ Cycling Analysis and Fit Process shines.

“If I sold you the wrong shoes that hurt your feet, you might think all shoes hurt”, said Brice Erickson, B&L Bicycles’ owner.

Many still think riding a bicycle means getting past the pain of the first few rides and expecting some pain every time they ride, whether they are a beginning, casual or triathlete rider. Erickson is committed to change that.

Trek Precision Fitting System

Coupling The Cyclist With Their Bicycle - A Match Made In Pullman

Trek Precision Fit System

Using the Trek’s Precision Fit system, Erickson has centered his business on providing customers with the best possible bicycle, custom-fitted to match their biometrics.

“Fit bleeds into every area of our business. Most shops put their custom fitting equipment in the shop area, where the average customer never sees it. We keep our equipment where everyone can see it and begin to ask questions.”

Erickson has multiple certifications from USA Cycling and the International School of Cycling Optimization. In addition to a high level of mechanical expertise, effective bicycle fitting also requires extensive training in anatomy and physiology. Today, cycling is increasingly used for people recovering from surgery or injuries. It’s not uncommon for certified fitters to become physical therapists or enter other medical fields.

B&L’s custom fitting services are not duplicated anywhere within a 200-mile radius from Pullman. After more than 20 years, Erickson has over 8,000 fits and many key relationships with the early pioneers of modern custom bicycle fitting and their associated vendors. In the industry, shops like B&L usually require cities with populations over a million to be successful. However, B&L’s emphasis on fit and track record of results has created a customer base that draws from areas far from Pullman.

B&L Bicycles Beginnings

Brice Erickson took his first fitting class in 1993, entered the industry in 1998 and apprenticed 4 years with Mike Sylvester at his bicycle shop in Portland, OR. Sylvester, considered by many as the “Father of Modern Bicycle Fitting”, developed and tested many of the practices now considered foundational and later confirmed by researchers at the University Of Wisconsin Medical School. Sylvester even taught a fitting class at B&L in 2002.

Over the years, Erickson continued studying new fitting techniques and technology in classes taught at the Serotta International Cycling Institute. There he met Paraic McGlynn, Director of Applied Cycling Science. McGlynn studied at the French Cycling Federation and received his coaching certification in 1994. McGlynn later opened Cyclologic an elite training and custom fitting shop in Scottsdale, AZ. Erickson, McGlynn, and Sylvester communicate regularly about new fitting practices and equipment.

B&L Custom Fitting Process

Coupling The Cyclist With Their Bicycle - A Match Made In Pullman

Brice Erickson – B&L Bicycles Owner

The 10-step process combines personal interviews, over 65 functional tests and physical measurements of your body’s flexibility, asymmetries, strengths, and weaknesses to quantify what bicycle position you need to create maximum power transfer without pain or injury. The final product of those efforts also comes with a 4-month guarantee.

B&L’s custom fitting packages

  1. 45-60 minutes: for everyone who purchases a bicycle. After determining the customer’s physical measurements, type and intensity of cycling they want to do, their bicycle is fitted with a saddle, handle bars and accessories. After a few test rides around downtown Pullman and final adjustments, the new bicycle is good to go.
  2. 2 hours: more biomechanical data points are measured to refine how the rider’s body and their bicycle interact.
  3. 3 hours: Level 1 custom fitting session using body anatomy and range of motion measurements integrated with the Trek Precision Fit system.
  4. 4-8 hours: Level 3 custom fitting session using full-motion capture videos, seat pressure mapping, insole pressure mapping, fine-tuning fitted components mounted on an infinitely adjustable Trek Precision Fit bicycle frame while measuring the rider’s movements durng simulated rides.

Success Stories

Erickson related two stories of how custom fitting affected different customers

“A lady was shipped a custom bicycle from a relative back East who owned a bicycle shop for her first Iron Man competition. She came into the shop asking if there was anything we could do to help her. The completion began in a few days and she was in intense pain. She planned to endure the pain, finish the Iron Man, sell the bicycle and never ride a bicycle again. Our Trek equipment determined every major landmark measurement on the bike was incorrect for her body and range of motion. We corrected the fit. She took the bicycle home and returned the next day to tell us, she’d just ridden 60 miles pain-free! She didn’t know that was possible before coming in. She finished the competition and as far as we know, has continued to ride.”

“One of our employees is a certified Level 2 fitter and avid competitive rider. He’d been making adjustments to his bicycle for years and kept detailed records of training sessions and competitions. We had data from previous fits, but another session with new equipment we’d received recently revealed his tight quad muscle on one side was causing him to slide horizontally across the center line of the saddle during downward power strokes. The result was one knee bent away from vertical and contacted the pedal in a “slanted downward movement”, rather than vertically downward. We changed the seat, made no other adjustments and repeated the measurements. The horozontal sliding all but disappeared. Subsequent training and completion times were all much, much faster.”

Additional Resources

Website – B&L Bicycles

Facebook – B&L Bicycles

Photos by Steve Stone.