t would be hard to find a better man for the job. Andreas Heuser, manager of Ultra BikeX Studio, is a competition cyclist turned triathlete, a RETUL Certified Bike Fitter and a Certified USA Cycling Coach.
And his goal is to bring out the best cyclist in everyone who trains at his studio. Heuser was born and brought up in Hamburg, Germany, son of a German father and Austrian mother, and grew up cycling some challenging terrain. He was schooled in the United States, moved back to Germany, and three years ago returned to the United States and started participating in triathlons.
He was setting up a cycling training camp in Majorca, Spain, when he had a chance meeting with Ultra BikeX’s owner, who needed someone to run his soon-to-be new U.S. studio.
“It was kind of a coincidence,” said Heuser. “The owner was looking for someone to open a studio and for someone to do fittings.”
Ultra BikeX uses RETUL, a three-dimensional motion capture camera fitting system that finds the best bike for the buyer.
“I hook people up to about 16 different markers and record them with a camera to fit them the best way possible on their bike,” said Heuser. “We see all different angles and dimensions and we get [cyclists] in the best possible position for either cycling events or triathlons.”
Those being fitted can actually see themselves ride on a large-screen television, and Heuser can correct any deficiencies in real time. That way, riders can “be one with the bike.”
Coaching at its best
But fitting is only one facet of the Ultra BikeX studio. Another is coaching. After correctly fitting athletes for their bike, Heuser will teach proper pedal stroke and work on strength training.
“Strength training is difficult to do outside in Florida because the terrain is very flat here unless you hit the bridge. A lot of people do repeats on the bridge, but for me, the bridge just doesn’t offer enough strength training. So I set up programs on the Computrainer.”
Heuser can also simulate what’s impossible to find in South Florida: a continuous climb. “I can put you on a five or six-mile climb all the way up to a 20-mile climb and set the gradients of those climbs from one to 20 percent,” he said.
Athletes train on the actual bikes they would be using for competition, not a piece of standard equipment.
Ultra BikeX Studio is also the ideal place for athletes to rehab after an accident. A current client is recovering from a shoulder injury and is not yet comfortable riding outside but still wants to keep training.
“They can come in and still get a good workout without danger of reinjuring themselves. [They] get on a trainer and get pedaling and start training again without having to watch out for cars.”
The KB Challenge
With bridge construction, narrowed lanes and increased traffic, Key Biscayne has become a dangerous place for bikes, as evidenced by the number of car/bike accidents recently.
“It’s happening more and more,” said Heuser. “I’m sure after the construction, there’s going to be 100 percent improvement, but for right now it’s been very restrictive for cyclists to be able to go out and enjoy their normal loop.”
The good news is Heuser can recreate that workout or any other right in Ultra BikeX Studio. In fact, “They can probably even get a better workout than they have been getting, which is really the case,” he said.
“It’s much more difficult on the Computrainer. Inside on the trainer, you don’t have any outside elements helping you, whether a tailwind or using momentum from your bicycle. When you’re here, it’s all you. You’re pedaling the whole time. Even if you’re pedaling downhill indoors, you still have to work to get down the hill. Outside you can ride and coast. Indoors, you’re really working, so all the sessions that I recreate indoors end up being more difficult than it is outdoors. It makes races and events outdoors easier after having trained in here.
“I have a lot of people who would attest to that,” he added. “There are people who have, within a short period of time, increased their average miles per hour by 1-2 miles per hour, which in our business is huge. And it doesn’t take a huge amount of time.”
For those who wish to train for an Iron Man competition or any other competitive event, most of the time Heuser can recreate the exact course.
“When someone practices the actual course indoors in the studio, they’ll get an actual feel for what’s coming,” said Heuser. “They’re ready, and they’ll have a huge advantage over their fellow competitors.”
After training in Florida, competitors will be surprised by what they find in places where the terrain is not so flat, such as the Iron Man, which takes place in the Adirondack Mountains of New York.
“It’s good to actually get indoors and be able to know what it feels like to actually climb something,” he said.
By the numbers
Heuser coaches and trains cyclists and is able to show concrete evidence of their improvement.
“What I do in here is not only coach people how to be better cyclists, but bring out the best in each cyclist,” said Heuser. “Because everybody who comes in here is guaranteed to be better than they think they actually are.”
To illustrate the point to his clients, he uses numbers.
“Cycling, for me, is all about the number and about how many watts you’re putting out,” Heuser explained. “I use math to show your rate and your cadence. All these numbers fit together to show us what kind of rider you are now and what kind of rider you can be.”
People who are just starting cycling may be apprehensive at first.
“It’s a little scary riding in aero position away from the brakes, and steering is completely different,” said Heuser.
Building confidence inside in a controlled environment is better than having a bad experience outside on the road.
Earlier sunset and sudden rainstorms are keeping a lot of athletes from their normal training schedule – two more good reasons to take advantage of Ultra BikeX Studio.
Heuser also builds custom cycles and accompanies buyers on their first test ride. “Obviously, custom bikes are more expensive, but people can tell me exactly what they want and most say just go ahead and build it like I would build it for myself,” he said. “I’ve put a lot of nice bikes together.”
The most expensive was a whopping $25,000.
“The handmade carbon frame can get pretty pricey, and a set of carbon wheels can go all the way to $6,000, and then there’s the new electronic shifting which eases people’s lives a little more,” he said.
Ultra BikeX Studio is at 55 Harbor Drive. Currently, Computraining sessions are scheduled from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., but Heuser will accommodate clients by scheduling other times. Call 786-953-7876, or stop by the studio.