Status quo is easy. It’s making changes and shaking up the norm, that’s what’s tough. And so often worth the challenge.
It was this week one year ago that I raced my final professional race. Sure, I loved my racing a bike for a living, but now with a clean slate and no coaches breathing down my back, I’m free to ride a bike for the love of the ride. Traveling, too, has become less rote — although I’m still happily taking my bike to all corners of the world. I used to travel to the next camp or race; now I jump headlong into Dirty Kanza or grab some riding buddies and pedal 200 miles across New England. The freedom found in retirement eases any pangs of that previous life.
One of the less obvious liberties of this enterprising career 2.0 takes place in the sponsorship world. With a sly nod of the head and in a hushed voice, all the time I’m asked, Between you and me Ted… what do I think of the bike/components/helmet/wheels/clothes I’m using.
Well, between you and me — and anyone else listening to me belt it out from my soapbox — I specifically sought out each of my sponsors precisely because I wanted to work with them. With a lifetime spent on the bike, I have my company favorites. It’s no coincidence that they happen to be the ones with whom I’m sponsored.
Velocio is a quintessential example of that. They’re a company that’s doing it differently, they’re breaking the status quo, yet doing it entirely right. Velocio broke into cycling on the women’s side which is unheard of in sport dominated by shorn legged machismo. All too often, men’s products launch first, with the corresponding women’s line arriving as pink hued afterthought. Flipping that concept on its head, after quickly becoming the industry leader in women’s apparel, the demand on the men’s side became enough that Velocio broke into that line too.
An essential part of this rapid success is thanks to the access provided to the brand. As a growing company, every piece of customer feedback is weighed in moving forward with future products. Sure, I provide my insight that’s backed with a decade of pro racing that I give directly to the lead designer. Rest assured that everyone else’s critiques and comments are accepted as well. The Velocio designs are far from etched in stone, instead are a fluid evolution, always better, better, better.
I met the owners of Velocio on the bike. In fact, I met the owners of Velocio on the bike, we became fast friends, we ride together, attack each other for town lines, and charge up and down mountains — years ago, all before Velocio was even an idea. It’s that rich experience, both in the industry and meaningfully on the bike, that provides unparalleled authenticity.
Velocio’s clothing is bold. The colors are strong. The patterns are strikingly. The technology and and use of materials is always on the cutting edge. Best yet, I’ve been part of some backroom meetings and as much as I love everything I wear, the stuff coming down the pike makes me all the more excited for the latest and greatest. Velocio isn’t content with good enough; they’re always on the pathway to improvement. Born in that improvement is their commitment to sustainability, the fact that they use BlueSign and OEKO-tex fabrics, biodegradable packaging and work with sustainability leaders in the outdoor industry, as well as World Bicycle Relief, a cause near and dear to my heart.
There’s change for change’s sake and there’s change for the sake of improvement. Velocio’s interest to mix up the business is not to arbitrarily be brashly cavalier, rather for the purpose of raising the bar and making things better. Velocio is doing things differently, shaking up the status quo and consequently they’re doing things better.
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