The Journey Down Under to Oz

First of all, let me start by thanking Vlad Glouchkov, manager of Castle Hill Fitness, and Gordon Yang, manager of Castle Hill Cycles for the organizational assistance which allowing me the freedom to be away from Austin, Texas during a hot and dry summer.  I would also like to thank Steve and Margaret Hogg at Pedal Pushers bike shop in Sydney, Australia for the warm welcome during an unusually wet and cool winter.  The coordinated efforts of all involved made for a fantastic adventure to learn some of the unique and effective techniques Steve Hogg applies when working with bike fit clients.

The 13.5 hour plane trip over the Pacific was an epic flight crossing the International Date Line some where around 180 degrees longitude.  The plane left Los Angeles at 10:30 PM on Wednesday the 25th of July and arrived in Sydney Australia at 6:30 AM on Friday the 27th.  The weather in Sydney was very cool, not the best weather for the shorts and t shirt I was wearing.  A very polite cab driver gave me a lift to Steve’s bike shop Pedal Pushers where I unpacked my bike and watched as Steve worked with a few fitting clients.  Around 4:00 that afternoon, Margaret was kind enough to give me, the bike and my luggage a ride to the hotel in downtown Sydney.  After checking into the hotel and grabbing some dinner, I collapsed into an exhausted heap around 8:30 p.m. local time.

sydney_australiaSteve took me for scenic rides on both Saturday and Sunday which were fantastic.  We went over the Harbour Bridge and through several areas along the coast for some beautiful sights.  Getting around Sydney by bike is interesting to say the least.  With a population of 4.7 million, there are plenty of cars, motorcycles and roundabouts to provide ample opportunities for both danger and entertainment.  Add in the fact that all of this happens with left-guided traffic and you have a recipe for some interesting urban riding.

One of the rides took us to Bald Hill at Stanwell Tops on a peninsula just outside of Sydney.  In 1885 Lawrence Hargrave, the inventor/grandfather of the box kite, the original airfoil wing design, hydroplanes and the inventor of human flight via the first box-type hang glider.  He tested his prototypes on himself and daring friends at Bald Hill 700 feet above the landing zone which is a beach.  The Wright brothers corresponded with Hargrave while developing their first motorized airplane.

The fitting training with Steve included detailed assessments and proprietary techniques for optimizing the connection between riders and bicycles.  We saw a wide range of clients with road, mountain and time trial bicycles.  Some had been fit by Steve 20 years previously.  His techniques/tests are unique and quite a challenge to learn.  However, Steve is an excellent instructor ready to step back and let the trainee flounder a little in an effort to discern what to do.  He would step in only when I asked for assistance.  Steve also provided some fantastic food and beer along the way.

The bike fit training in Sydney was an intense and rewarding experience.  Fitting clients have already contacted me from Texas and around the USA for bike fits, including a few coaches.  Thanks, Steve and Margaret, for the awesome training and great memories.

Jerry Gerlich has over 20 years of riding, sales and fitting experience in the cycling industry. His cycling experience dates back to the mid-eighties when he took his inexpensive mountain bike on the road while touring with a band. His bike shop experience began in 1988 in Los Angeles, his bicycles increased in value and Jerry has been hooked on cycling in some shape or form ever since.

Contact Jerry at jerry@castlehillcycles.com to schedule a professional bike fit.

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