Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Canadian-Born Mobile Bike Repair Shop Attracts Triathlete Simon Whitfield

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Canadian-Born Mobile Bike Repair Shop Attracts Triathlete Simon Whitfield

Article excerpt

Mobile bike shop lures triathlete Whitfield

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Gold-medal triathlete Simon Whitfield is an investor, franchise owner and enthusiastic spokesman for a Vancouver-based mobile bike repair business looking to expand around the world.

"We're not the triple-A of cycling," said Whitfield, dispelling a misconception he admits he had when he first heard of Velofix.

"At first I made the mistake that a lot of people make, they think we do roadside assistance. The first thing they educated me on is no we don't . . . The bike shop comes to you and does all the bikes in your garage."

It's the brainchild of businessman Chris Guillemet, retired professional soccer player-turned businessman Davide Xausa and bike mechanic and champion track cyclist Boris Martin.

Their expansion plan was pitched recently to the investors on CBC's "Dragons' Den," which will be airing that episode Wednesday.

The principals can't share what developed out of that appearance until it airs, but from their base in Vancouver they've already got a toehold in Toronto and are working ambitiously to spread to the rest of Canada, the United States, Australia and Europe.

"I own two of the trucks myself and also work with the corporate on business development," said Whitfield, who won Olympic gold in 2000 and silver in 2008 in the triathlon and now lives in Victoria and on Salt Spring Island.

"We've got five trucks on the road today and they're all franchises," said Guillemet, who also participates in endurance sports.

He said the whole thing started when he and Xausa were looking to get their own bikes repaired and balked at the idea of parting with them for a week or more if they took them to a shop, or not getting the work done properly.

"We found it very frustrating trying to get our bikes fixed. . . In a shorter riding season if your bike's gone for seven to 10 days that's a good chunk of your season," Guillemet said. …

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