Interview with Jon Sowerby
Founder and CEO of „Bicimetrics“ Cycling and Running Analysis Palma de Mallorca
Today I met Jon Sowerby, founder of Bicimetrics, in his studio in Palma to get an insight into his work, his ambition to come to Mallorca and to open a business of his own, his current situation and business goals, and advice he has for people looking for a business opportunity..
Hello Jon, please introduce yourself and your work.
Hi my name is Jon Sowerby and I am the founder of bicimetrics. We first started 4 years ago with a bike fitting studio and later branched into running analysis as well.
When did you first come to Mallorca?
The first time I came was with 16 on a cycling train camp, then I came regularly at the age of 22 because I worked in the boat business, and I finally moved here 16 years ago.
What gave you the idea to found bicimetrics?
Some years ago I got very serious again about cycling so I always flew to England to have a good bike fit done because here in Spain there were few options back then.
So the business idea came out of your hobby?
Hobby and experience. The idea of bike-fitting was pretty new in Europe, however there have been good bike fitters in the US and maybe UK for a long time. When I first bought the 3D retül machine (i.e. the machine that is used for the biomechanical analysis of a cyclist) there where only 3 retül machines used in whole Spain. Today, 4-5 years later, there must be about 35.
So what exactly do you do when you say bike fitting?
Bike fitting is adjusting your bike so that you get the most comfort, efficiency, and power transfer out of your bike. It has to do a lot with biomechanics. We adjust the bike to the riders needs and personalize it for him/her in the best possible way.
How does this process work?
The first step is always a personal interview to find out which goals the rider follows (is he cycling for health reasons, to improve fitness, or maybe into racing, how many hours do they train, if they have any injuries, especially broken bones because that would influence the fitting a great deal, etc.).
Then we do a flexibility test to check whether the body moves as it should and also to get more information about a suitable bike position for the person. A person who cannot touch their toes while standing up for example can never ride a very low handlebar position because he would hurt himself.
And then we look at them how they ride their own bike (i.e. on the trainer which is a machine where any bike can be put on so you can train indoors without actually moving the bike). We always change the position (of cleats, saddle, handlebar, etc.) and get feedback from the 3D Retül machine about the riders muscle activity.
So it is very individual?
Yes, very individual and very precise thanks to the Retül system. Also, a serious fitting takes time, so you should have at least 2-3hours.
How many people work with you?
There are 2 more people, Iñaki who does the bike fitting in Spanish and Helena, our running coach.
What do you expect from people who work with you?
They must have a passion for cycling, or running, or maybe both. A passion for sports in general, they must be willing to learn, be open-minded, should have some sports background, and maybe experience in racing (cycling or running).
And how can people be trained to be a bike fitter?
There is a famous company in the US which offers courses and also the 3D Retül company offers courses which of course focus on their machine.
Do you have any recommendations for people who want to come to Mallorca to start a business?
Well I would definitely say they should come to live here first for a couple of months to see how everything works in Majorca and then you must find something new, there is no chance of just copying something.
Would it be interesting for you to work with German people?
Well, we also have German customers, so generally yes. However, bike-fitting in Germany is very good and very big so our German customers are rather people who live on the island. Moreover, someone coming here for only one week would probably not come in here to get a fitting done, they would rather focus on their training.
So is there any way (German) bike tourists can benefit from your experience?
Well, definitely. We opened a second fitting studio in Paguera (Calvia Cycling Center/ Rad International). Rad International hosts a Canyon Bike base where people can rent bikes for their holidays. So what we do there is a so called “Quick-Fit” which is a great way to adjust a rental bike to your needs in about 30 minutes. It prevents you from any injuries like back- or neck pain and helps you to make your training and therefore your holiday more comfortable.
Also, from January 2017 on, we will have an expert in exercise physiology there to offer performance diagnostics and coaching packages.
Do you offer internship possibilities?
I have never thought about it but now that you put it into my head it sounds like a good idea. However, to do an internship here with me the person must definitely know some Spanish.
Last question: What are your future business goals?
We need to concentrate on the running analysis, the bike-fitting is very good, but the running business is a bit low so we would like to improve here.
Well, I see you have already improved a lot, changed to a bigger and better location and also opened a second studio. Thank you very much Jon, goodbye, and all the best for the future.
Thank you very much.
For more information about Jon and his work visit www.bicimetrics.com