For both budding and experienced bike enthusiasts, equipment challenges can range from selecting and assembling a bicycle for the first time to getting a fancy set of wheels to a bike shop for repairs. Mobile bicycle repair is now available in San Antonio, joining other businesses, such as automotive windshield repair and pet grooming services, that travel to consumers’ locations.
Velofix, led locally by Cindi Snell, brings its bike shop set up in a Mercedes Sprinter van – with tools and experts on board – to both residential and commercial locations. In addition to bike repairs, Velofix can assemble and deliver bicycles if a customer places an order on its website or via one of its partners. The van also carries cycling accessories and offers on-site bike safety sessions.
Snell, a Geekdom community member, has significant experience in the retail bicycle business, having worked with San Antonio’s B-Cycle program alongside other leaders in the local cycling industry.
“Velofix is a full-service mobile bike shop, rather than a mobile bike repair van,” Snell said. “Our service helps give you more time to pursue the things that are really important in your life.”
Chris Guillemet, Boris Martin, and Davide Xausa launched the Velofix concept in Vancouver in 2013. The co-founders were frustrated with the inconvenience and length of time it took to get their own bikes serviced in brick-and-mortar shops, so they promised to offer premium service experiences at locations convenient to their customers and at a price equal to or less than traditional bike shops. Velofix has since opened 93 franchises across Canada and the United States, with plans for new locations constantly on the horizon.
After contemplating opening a bike shop of her own, Snell did some research and discovered Velofix.
“My passion and heart is in the bike business,” Snell said. “I considered owning a bike shop, but rent, inventory, and staffing costs are high. I [identified] with Velofix’s philosophy and business and chose them.”
Currently, Velofix has one van in San Antonio, with plans to expand to as many as three or four vans to cover the area. Snell’s territory ranges from San Antonio to Boerne and New Braunfels and includes San Marcos.
“With her years of experience and knowledge, we know she is going to make riders in the Alamo City market extremely happy,” Velofix co-founder and chief financial officer Xausa stated. “We are thrilled to have Cindi’s team up and running and support the newest Velofix market in San Antonio.”
Velofix has partnered with a variety of bicycle brands and companies and is adding more every week. Snell said Velofix has teamed up with Amazon on bicycles costing more than $450. Buyers using Amazon have the option of selecting Velofix to assemble and deliver their new purchase.
“Velofix … can help you with your bike purchase by guiding you on the right type and size of bike for your cycling needs,” Snell said.
Being able to choose from a variety of smaller bike brands is an added benefit for Velofix customers. Snell explained that bike shops are often committed to carrying better-known brands because they lack the space to offer products made by smaller companies. Niche brands such as the Officina Battaglin, an Italian bicycle with a handmade steel frame, or the Volata, a smart bike with the latest in technology, are available on the Velofix website.
Velofix differentiates itself from its competitor Beeline Bikes through its many partnerships and alliances in the cycling industry. The company caters to customers who may need service for a premium bicycle and would also like family bikes to be delivered or serviced – all in the same stop.
Velofix keeps its prices competitive with those of bike sales and repair shops by leveraging its online resources, much like other mobile retailers do.
“The price of convenience is no greater than the price of inconvenience,” Snell said. “Velofix is competitive in its pricing for buying the bikes, as well as for services, parts, and repairs.”
Velofix also collaborates with companies that promote active and healthy lifestyles to their employees. Options for these programs include the company subsidizing labor time during the time the Velofix van is on-site at a work location, with the employee paying for services and parts. Velofix will also provide corporate lunchtime learning sessions on bike safety and basic maintenance.
When Velofix partners with corporations on community service activities, it asks companies to underwrite the van’s time at a community location to help local residents with their biking needs.
“With the cycling community in San Antonio continuously growing, Velofix will provide a service that shakes up the industry and provides more convenience and education with easier access for cyclists and cycling enthusiasts, whether they are just getting into the sport, ride competitively or for leisure, or have questions about any and all things related to bike maintenance and bike sales,” Snell said.
Whether they’re responding to a corporate service request or an individual’s appointment, all Velofix bike shop vans are equipped with coffee machines and free Wi-Fi to encourage customers to learn about bike maintenance as the mechanic works on their bike.
“We carry cycling accessories and soft goods. It’s a full-service bike shop that happens to be mobile,” Snell said. “The turnaround on servicing your bike is dramatically less than the week you wait traditionally while leaving your bike at a brick-and-mortar shop.”