It’s an inconvenience that every serious cyclist has encountered at one time or another. Your bike needs a service, but you need to work or take care of family commitments. Which means it goes to the bottom of your ‘to-do’ list, and your riding suffers. But it doesn’t have to. Velofix offers an alternative, a modern answer to an old cycling problem. Simply book a service online, and the certified mechanic will come to you – bringing a first-class workshop along with him.
It’s the kind of idea that’s so simple, when you hear it first, you’re amazed no one thought of it sooner. Combine the versatility and ease of online commerce with the kind of one-to-one service and trust that you can only get from face-to-face interaction with a locally owned business. Because while it’s a website and a large national network of mechanics that makes Velofix so uniquely easy to use, it’s a franchise owner and a mechanic from your own community who you ultimately employ to do the work.
“The concept for Velofix originated from the frustration of getting our bikes fixed at a traditional brick and mortar bike store,” says Chris Guillemet, a first-generation Canadian who co founded the company in 2013. A keen endurance athlete, Chris came to the venture with more than two decades of diverse experience, including plenty of success growing businesses, an IPO and launching an internet startup that has now raised $200 + million in funding.
“We had a hard time getting our bikes to the shop during regular hours, and then we had to wait to get our bikes back so we could ride.
“My partner Davide was a frustrated customer like me, and our third partner Boris was a mechanic working in a shop part time while going to university. We all felt that there was a market for what Velofix provides, and we now have over 115 franchises in North America and are working on our European expansion plans.”
As well as business know-how, the team behind Velofix bring a wealth of athletic experience, which has undoubtedly help them understand and connect with their customers. The aforementioned Davide Xausa played professional soccer in Europe and represented Canada on Olympics and World Cup Teams, while Boris Martin is three-time Canadian National Track Champion. The company also has Simon Whitfield as an advisor, a name that should be familiar to triathlon fans because he was a four-time Olympian, winning gold in Sydney and silver in Beijing.
Another thing that’s been key to Velofix’s success must be the local appeal. We’re often lured in by the competitive pricing and ease of use that the internet offers, but usually that comes with a downside: We’re not supporting local businesses. All of Velofix’s trucks are locally owned with certified mechanics – exactly like a traditional bike shop, but on wheels. The work is 100% guaranteed and they offer event support and corporate services for businesses that want to promote healthy living among their employees. There’s even coffee and wifi on-board if you want to hang out with the mechanic while they fine-tune your beloved machine.
“We are a local bike shop. We may be on four wheels, but we have all the parts and accessories that a top shop has in stock including Zipp wheels, Garmin bike computers, Stages Power Meters and Continental tires. Our owners are local and most of the time, the mechanics are from the community they work in. And we want our customers to sit in the van, enjoy an espresso and ask questions about their bikes and the work that the mechanic is doing. We want to educate our customers so they have more confidence with their bikes.
“When we launched, it was a challenge to convince people that we could fix their high-end bike with a mobile service, but after five years of being in business we have proved that we can look after every need.
“Our customers are typically people who truly value their time, they understand the value of using their smartphone to book an appointment and to have a professional certified mechanic roll up their home or office. We also have many corporate customers, including Microsoft, Google, Facebook, Snapchat, Starbucks, and Amazon.”
Sound interesting? It certainly grabbed our attention, and we were delighted to hear more when Chris and some of the Velofix crew came to hang out in Tuscany with us earlier this summer. It’s the perfect combination of technology and old school, local relationships that we believe still have a huge role to play in creating memorable experiences. We think that Velofix and inGamba have a lot in common, and we’re looking forward to developing an exciting new partnership in the near future. So watch this space, and in the meantime, why not give them a call?
For more on Velofix and their unique services, check out velofix.com.