Name: Andy Brooke
Job title: IBFI President and applied cycling biomechanist
Location: Derby, UK
Tell us about your job?
I work part-time as a bike fitter at a bike shop called Leisure Lakes Nottingham, England, which gives me time to study part-time for a PhD in cycling biomechanics, exploring how the ankle moves.
I’ve worked as a bike fitter since 2010, and over the years I found I was getting frustrated by more and more unqualified fitters entering the market and giving the industry a bad name. I came up with the idea of the IBFI as a way to professionalise the industry, and after pitching the idea at ICS in 2014 I started work with a team of cycling industry experts from around the world to establish the institute.
As president I work with our global committee to develop plans and projects for members around the world, and I’m currently writing the IBFI’s first text book.
How did you get into bike fitting?
I’ve always loved cycling and had various jobs in the industry, but after spending a year as a guide on cycling holidays in Spain I started to look for other opportunities. I met BikeScience and looked at the Retul system and was hooked: it fit well with my love of numbers, patterns and logic.
What qualifications do you have?
I’m one of six master Retul fitters in the UK, and have attended and delivered lots of bike fit courses in the UK and across Europe.
I completed an MRes in sports science in 2012, looking at the , and I started a part-time PhD in 2015. My main areas of research are the ankle joint and plantar flexor muscles.
What’s the best thing about being a bike fitter?
I’ve been fitting for nearly a decade and there are still so many unknowns, which means there’s so much to learn. I love problem-solving and learning, but there’s also the excitement of working in a growing and changing industry - we don’t have all the answers but we’re learning new ones all the time.
What equipment do you use?
I used Retul for eight years but I’m looking to use different tech in the future, to allow me to explore different ways of fitting.
What’s your most useful piece of kit?
Is it a cop out to say me? I find it funny that customers still come to me because I use a particular fitting system, even though I use cameras less and less and rely more on my own training.
What course, book or websites do you think ever fitter should check out?
Bike fit conferences like ICS and ISCO are fantastic. The first few times I went I was overloaded with new information, but once you develop as a fitter they become great opportunities to network and learn.
What advice would you give to someone just starting out in bike fit?
Don’t get too attached to a single method of fitting. The BikeFit pedal-foot interface took me outside the Retul methodology for the first time and it had the biggest impact on my fitting. I think it’s important to learn from as many sources as possible.
Andy in a minute:
Favourite place to cycle? Andalucia, Spain
How do you relax? I follow Nottingham Forest and the New Orleans Pelicans, and I have been known to binge watch a series or two on Netflix
Favourite professional rider? Marco Pantani
What would you do if you weren’t a bike fitter? I’d probably have done a PhD in economics and gone into academia