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Bike company to begin offering tours

Bike company to begin offering tours

For years, bicycle enthusiasts have stopped by Serotta Competition Bicycles for a factory tour.
Bike company to begin offering tours
Paraic McGlynn, director of applied cycling science, adjusts a stationary bike in the new Serotta Competition Bicycles fit studio.
Photographer: Marc Schultz

For years, bicycle enthusiasts have stopped by Serotta Competition Bicycles for a factory tour.

Although employees like to show off their facility, there wasn’t a designated tour time or guide.

“It means that somebody here has to stop doing what they really are supposed to be doing,” said President Ben Serotta.

Starting in July, there will be a tour every Friday at 11 a.m. at the 35-year-old company.

This summer Serotta also is opening a factory studio to the public from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays in the farmhouse on its 41 Geyser Road property, complete with a store selling its brand of clothing, a gallery showing the bicycle company’s inventions and technologies, significant times in its history and a video tour.

The factory studio will join a fit lab that has already been set up in the farmhouse. In the lab, bike retailers can learn how to use technology to fit customers on a bicycle, and customers themselves can get fit for their current bike of any brand or a new one, said Paraic McGlynn, the new director of applied cycling science for Serotta and director of Serotta International Cycling Institute (SICI), the non-sales-related organization that teaches fitting techniques to bike retailers.

So bicyclists who have suffered an injury or just want to get the most out of cycling now have another local tool at their disposal.

A customer fitting at the new lab will cost $375 and takes between two and three hours, Serotta said.

SICI teaches classes in Saratoga Springs at the Inn at Saratoga and also in other places around the country.

But now that the institute has the lab on Geyser Road run by McGlynn, it can invite retailers in smaller groups and be more flexible with schedules.

And the lab can be used for testing out new technology and collaborating on research with universities, Serotta said.

It also shows retailers what they can do in their own shops, McGlynn said. “This fit lab here is really a template for our retailers and our technology customers.”

McGlynn was a student at a Saratoga class when he first came to the United States from Ireland on a visa eight years ago. He co-owned a bike shop in Arizona and used Serotta’s fitting techniques before coming to work for the company a few months ago.

Traditional fitting techniques used only body measurements to figure out the right dimensions for a person’s custom bicycle. Newer “dynamic bike fitting” adds information about a person’s previous injuries and flexibility to determine the best measurements. Serotta has been developing those techniques since the 1970s.

“The root of this really is in our mission to build the best bicycle,” Ben Serotta said. “The concept stems from the simple idea that every time the consumer buys a bicycle that fits poorly, that cyclist is not going to ride the bike nearly as much.”

Fitting people properly on bicycles helps all bike companies, he said. “The entire industry wins because everybody has a shot at the next sale.”

The company started the fitting school in 1998 and a year and a half ago separated the school from the company by creating SICI.

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