As the calendar turns over to a new year, this is a time to reflect on the past year and look ahead to the next year and beyond. 2017 has been a very successful year at Vector Cycle Works, and it's because of the great people that come into the studio. In 2017, we did about 260 fit sessions. That was a lot. Maybe even a bit too much. Every session is a new challenge and a new learning experience, and every session helps me to evolve as a bike fitter. Along with that, a few bike fitters from around the country came to the studio to take the BikeFit Level 1 course, which is always a lot of fun.
There were a few challenges this year, too. Aside from dealing with a head injury from October 2016, I also had some scheduling challenges, thanks in part to coaching soccer in the spring. This didn't help my availability, and one of my biggest challenges this year was keeping up with the needs of new and established customers. I know I failed a few people on this, and had a few people go elsewhere. I'm one to dwell on these failings because I simply want to be the best service provider I can be. You deserve the best, and I am sorry if I have disappointed anybody. I am always trying to improve, so as the holidays roll through, it's time to make some changes.
1. No more soccer. The good news is that there is no more soccer, which was especially painful since the soccer seasons are at very busy times in the studio. This should make the April-June window better. We do still have gymnastics meets, which run from January to March, but those are a little easier to work around. The biggest challenge is that the event schedule doesn't seem to get set very far in advance.
2. More disciplined hours. I know I can get a bit too chatty at times and don't make the best use of my time or yours, so I'm going to be more disciplined about that. I've updated my schedule and services with more defined time blocks, and have set up my weekly schedule where weeknights have more emphasis on follow-ups and FMS sessions. New customers will be limited to weekends, and maybe available evenings by request.
3. Redefined services. This is where the big changes are and the main reason for this post. I did a lot of soul-searching over the last few months, trying to find a way to make the Vector Cycle Works services more effective, more appropriate to what you want, and to also provide a bit more balance in my own life - if I am pushing myself too hard, I worry about the quality of my work going down, and I can't do that to you.
So, with that said, here is the updated service menu, and you can read more at www.vectorcycleworks.com.
MATCH Bike Sizing - $100MATCH is the new replacement for RightBike. It's basically the same service - you come in, we talk a bit and take you through the FIST sizing protocol, and then I generate a list of bikes for you. I had to rename this because my name is dangerously close to a trademarked name in the industry. As the name implies, we are trying to find a bike solution that is a perfect match for your body. I really enjoy doing this for people, but I have been disappointed with myself because of the results for you. What has happened is that it is generally a week turnaround before you get your report. That's just not acceptable, in my mind. In that week, I'm scrambling to update my bike list, fix broken links, etc. It's a lot of work, and sometimes I've had over 20 hours into getting a list of bike solutions for one customer. I find this disappointing and frustrating, and not good enough service. That's a bunch of data entry time, it's too long for you to wait, and takes time from my efforts to continue to evolve as a fitter.
I have explored a few different avenues with this, including looking at a few other solutions and paying for another bike database tool, but it has been disappointing. So, over the last few weeks, I have dusted off a part of my brain I haven't used in a while and created a software solution that allows us to generate a report of bike solutions in a matter of minutes. It's still a work in progress, but it's got a lot of potential. I think you'll like it. I'm putting some stuff in place to make it useful to a customer base beyond those who come to Vector Cycle Works.
VERGE Component Testing - Free to Established CustomersUp until recently, I had the idea that offering free saddle testing was a good opportunity for people to knock out what is often a major complaint and distraction from the rider's comfort. Honestly, this hasn't worked quite as well as I thought. I've had a few saddles that have gone out and never come back and I can't get a hold of the customer. Since I try to keep inventory low, but selection wide, it's hard to balance this. This needs to be better for all of us.
So, VERGE is the new solution. This is no longer a standalone service. VERGE is a free extra session for customers that have come in for a Match bike sizing or a bike fit. My approach is slightly changed - I always like to work with what you have first, and many times, the saddle is not the reason the saddle hurts - it's something else in the fit. So, I am taking the "fit first" concept a bit farther and using this as an extension to your established base with a Vector Cycle Works fit. As we work through the fit process and discover opportunities for more comfort and efficiency at the touch points on the bike. VERGE is no longer just a saddle thing - it's an opportunity to explore saddles, handlebars, aerobars, and/or crank arm lengths. There can be a lot to be gained with these changes, but I feel a lot more confident in your solution if we have established a base for your comfort and power. VERGE component testing also includes free installation of any parts.
CORE Bike Fit - $200CoreFit has now been renamed CORE. The service is basically the same - an initial 2 1/2 hour session, with a free 1 1/2 hour follow-up. The main difference is that we are going to put a bit more emphasis on that follow-up by scheduling it as we wrap up the initial session. CoreFit turned out to be a very popular service that is more comprehensive than what most fitters in the area change $300+ for. CORE builds on that. All BikeFit fitting parts are included. CORE includes a full report e-mailed to you and a follow-up phone call/e-mail within 3 weeks of the initial appointment, and again after 3 weeks after the follow-up. A free VERGE session is available to CORE customers, as well.
FUSION Bike Fit - $350I'm really excited about this one. FUSION replaces ForeverFit and changes the way we think about what a bike fit is. As the name implies, FUSION is the ultimate fusion of body and bike. While CORE and most bike fitting is seen as an accommodative process - putting a bike underneath you that accommodates you as you are at the moment - FUSION takes this a step further to help you improve yourself as a rider. If you are having a hard time reaching the level of performance and comfort that you like, FUSION is going to help you break through the barriers hidden within you that are holding you back.
The initial session is about 3 1/2 hours - we do everything we do with CORE, but add in a Functional Movement Screen. The FMS helps us find your deficiencies and asymmetries that prevent you from performing your best, on the bike and in any athletic endeavor. You will receive a 7 week FMS Pro 360 online functional workout, which includes a functional workout designed specifically for you. Your workout is generally about 10-15 minutes of movement-specific training per day. You will leave the initial session with 3 more sessions scheduled - 2 more FMS-only sessions at 2 weeks and 4 weeks, and then a final follow-up with the bike at 6 weeks or so. We can also work in a free VERGE session in there, if desired.
When the dust settles, we have worked together 4-5 times over a 6-8 week period to help you become an even better you.
As I mentioned, FUSION is exciting to me, as this is starting to really challenge the way we traditionally think about bike fitting. I've been striving to find ways to take what we know as bike fitting to a deeper understanding. Bike fitting is not a bike thing - we strive for comfort and efficiency to enable a specific type of human performance. If you are looking for more comfort and performance, FUSION is a deep dive into understanding yourself as a rider, athlete and as a human in order to help you reach your true potential.
Those are the main services. Additionally, we can do FMS as standalone sessions, even if you are not a cyclist. These are billed at $50 per hour and are 1 hour sessions. Any additional fit sessions beyond what is described here, including additional bikes or additional shoes are billed at $50 per hour. The exception to this is existing ForeverFit customers - you still have your ForeverFit guarantee for as long as you own your bike.
There is so much more going on, but this is the important stuff for now. I am excited about what 2018 will bring and look forward to you being a part of it! Schedule some time at Vector Cycle Works soon at https://vectorcycleworks.appointlet.com. If you don't see anything that works, call me at 317-833-0702 and we might be able to find some other options.