We’ve reported on the rise of mobile bike shops before with the Beeline vans running around San Francisco. But going at it for a good bit longer, Vélofix has the largest fleet of mobile shops operating across Canada and the US, with expansion out of North America near on the horizon. They already have 26 mobile shops up and running, with another 10 operators on board and expected to be on the road in early 2016. Roll past the break for a closer look at how they bring that local shop experience to you…
From talking with a number of industry insiders at the tradeshows this year, it’s become apparent that the concept of the mobile bike shop is poised for major growth in the next year or so. Maintaining a shopfront and keeping staff has always been hard on the small shop, and once you do the math, all of a sudden building out a sweet Sprinter van doesn’t look so expensive. With the expertise of Vélofix who have been doing it since 2012, hard-working franchise mechanics can bring premium service right to us cyclists either at our home or work.
Vélofix’s CEO and c0-founder Chris Guillemet tells us he has seen that riders “are seeking a new and better way to have all of their cycling needs serviced… demand is overwhelming”. And so Vélofix is expanding as fast as they can connect with motivated and qualified mechanics to run the vans.
Vélofix gets each franchise owner set up in a Mercedes-Benz Sprinter Van, outfitted better than many brick-and-mortar shops with a full pro Park Tool setup, a point of sale system, and their own online booking and payment system, and sets them loose on a new market. And to keep that local shop feeling each mobile shop van comes equipped with an espresso machine, a television, and high-speed wifi to keep you occupied while your mechanic finishes the last bits.
To book an appointment, cyclists just go online, enter your zip code, and are connected in real-time to the local mobile shop operator’s availability where you can set what time suits you. Then your friendly neighborhood bicycle mechanic comes to your door and gets your bike back on the road or trail again.
Vélofix works on a franchise basis with each bike-shop-in-a-van being run by an independent operator. Their network with 17 vans operating in Canada, now covers every major Canadian market from Victoria to Montreal. In the US, Vélofix has mobile shops covering Seattle, Spokane, Portland, San Francisco, Denver, Boulder, Santa Monica, Pasadena, San Diego, St. Louis, Cincinnati, Salt Lake, Dallas, and even Kona, HI. They tells us that they plan to have 75 shops in the works by the end of 2016. Vélofix is even in talks to expand with vans covering Australian and UK market in the next year.
Like the smaller Beeline Bikes mobile shops operating mostly in and around the Bay Area, Vélofix is always looking to grow their brand through more franchises run by passionate, high-quality mechanics. If you or a friend are a motivated mechanic and don’t see your area already covered, get in touch with them and see what it takes to get out on the road.