The Van Man: Velofix Mechanics
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We’ve got Sprinter envy. Every time we see a Mercedes-Benz Sprinter rolling down the road we imagine it’s off to adventure. We want to hop in and play hooky. So when a sparkling new Sprinter pulled up to the PELOTON Service Course we thought of adventure, but this Sprinter was different. It made us think of adventure that we knew we would be having soon. This was the Velofix Sprinter, and it was here to fix our Seven Mudhoney SL adventure rig.
Velofix is a bike shop in a Sprinter and the Vancouver-based company put its first van on the road in January 2013. There are now 25 of these vans on the road in Canada, with another 29 in the U.S. Velofix vans are franchises, each awarded a zone with 300,000 to 500,000 people. They expected to have some 100 franchisees signed up by 2017.
The vans are 100 square feet of pure magic. If you’re a bike junkie, you need to get on that van. The back is set up as a workspace, with bike stand and tool bench and a cornucopia of gleaming Park Tools. Up front are all the accessories: cleats, tires, bar tape, bottle cages and so on. Then come racks of silver shelves with little, blue parts bins. Everything in its place. You can also buy a new pair of Ryders sunglasses, some nutrition products, even a GPS or a Stages power meter.
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Jon Draheim from Orange County in Southern California came up to work on our bike. He’s a young guy who went ahead and plunked down the $50,000 necessary to get started with a Velofix franchise. He’s an owner-operator, invested in the work he does in a big way—and it shows. Jon says most of his customers sit in the van chatting with him while he works. Velofix guarantees all repairs 100 percent and it knows good mechanics are key to its success. Luckily, Velofix seems to attract great mechanics with an entrepreneurial streak, according to Chris Guillemet, CEO and co-founder. Velofix ensures they are certified, but it’s the “owner-operator” angle Guillemet credits for the reason that 95 percent of Velofix customers say they would recommend it to a friend.
In regions currently supported by Velofix, you can get a mechanic out within 48 hours for $69 an hour. They have three service packages and lots of à la carte options: bike fitting, tubeless set-up, brake bleeds, wheel truing, et cetera. Velofix can basically do anything your local shop can. Perhaps the best part is that your bike never leaves home, and when the mechanic drives away, your bike stays with you, ready to roll. In the case of our Seven Mudhoney SL, it was ready for adventure with the precision of a Swiss watch.
For more on Velofix or to schedule an appointment go to velofix.com