Updated: September 15, 2018
Roughly four short years ago Daniel and Kati began the journey of creating an online bike shop aimed to give military personnel a hometown favorite bike shop, even when they aren't in their hometown.
When moving to a new area, having a hobby while in the military gives an avenue to meet new people. However, it's not always easy to find GOOD places to purchase equipment for that hobby. Cycling as an industry has struggled to make it fully to the online world, or even to most cities where bases are located. MilitaryCyclist.com (the predecessor to GovVelo.com) was created with care and understanding of what a new and seasoned cyclist needs to enjoy and thrive. Rather than being overwhelmed by an array of gear to pick from and limited service, MilitaryCyclist.com had a carefully selected lineup and full service. As the company has grown, those core ideas have stayed into what has grown into GovVelo.com with customers in many parts of the world.
So what really sets them apart from most other shops? To start, their special discounts exclusively for military, vets, government employees, and their families. Also, customer service is a top priority. Whether it's finding the perfect fit, holding a shipment because of TDY (Temporary Duty Assignment), or their detailed assembly and testing; the team at GovVelo.com goes above and beyond to make sure your experience is the best.
As being in charge of marketing, I wanted to know more about the "who" and the "why" behind the screen. So, I got with Daniel and Kati and asked a few questions about them and how exactly their hometown bike shop on the internet came to be.
What is your "day job"?
I’ve spent most of my career at the crossroads of manufacturing and IT in the aerospace and print industry with degrees in engineering and IT, eventually moving over fully to the IT side in software development.
I am a Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner in the Air Force and before that, I was an ER Nurse.
How did you get into biking?
As a kid, I had this old school Diamondback rigid frame mountain bike that I road everywhere and would sometimes ride for hours and hours along the access roads next to the rail lines. College came and riding faded into the background. It was only after several years into married life that a friend mentioned they were getting into mountain biking. Riding on a borrowed hardtail, it was clear that a lot had changed. After a few rides, the cycling bug returned.
I ran into issues with frame sizing, getting bad advice and other usual learning curves that come with any new or reactivated hobby. After that all got worked out with research and finally getting good advice, I've been hooked ever since.
Daniel made me...
(Being completely transparent here, neither one of them wanted to do this interview... can't you tell by their first answer? It didn't take long for them to lighten up and tell the real stories! )
Of course I get the blame.
Thaaaat's sort of a theme in our marriage. You do something ridiculous and you get blamed for it for the rest of our marriage. It works out well for me (Daniel at this point is cracking up in the background).
...Daniel got this hair-brained idea that he wanted to get a bike and he finally got one. I saw how cool it was so, of course, I wanted one. That meant I had to actually ride it, which actually sucked. I had the wrong size bike. It was too big and I fell more often than I would like to admit. Eventually, I demanded a smaller bike. When I finally got one, it was a whole lot easier. In the meantime, Daniel had been outpacing me and out riding me which was also unacceptable. So, now I'm in the process of catching up.
(Kati trains for triathlons, more about that in another blog series!)
What was the motivation for starting MilitaryCyclist?
Kati went in Active Reserve during her doctorate. At that point, we were both getting pretty active in the cycling community and we realized very quickly that it was very difficult to find a good bike shop (and we lived in a major city at the time). We started asking around in the military cycling community and found that everyone was having the same problem. If you found a good shop you held on to it, but a lot of people were having the same issues we were.
Knowing Kati would move to Active Duty once she finished school, we also worried about having a shop work with us long distance when we moved. So, four years ago, MilitaryCyclist.com (now GovVelo.com) was born. We approached a few brands that we enjoyed and had ridden before, pitched them our idea, and it started rolling from there!
What do you hope the company accomplishes in the future (near or far)?
We want to keep growing and expand our outreach, especially in the Veteran community. The last decade and a half has dramatically reshaped the community in more ways than most people realize. It's not just about fitness, it's about overall well-being. In my opinion, cycling is the perfect outlet after a stressful day. And truth be told, that's really just scratching the surface.
We want to help those who want to live an active lifestyle on any budget get on a really great bike for a really good price. That's why we carefully choose our brands to make sure we can bring great value to those who have sacrificed so much for our country. Perhaps most importantly, we want to help them get on the right bike. A bike that you can afford but is a bad fit is no good at all. A bike that meets both is a ton of fun and will bring a smile to your face every time. That’s why we work with each customer individually, there is no one size fits all, and everyone is a bit different.
Doing this interview with Daniel and Kati was quite interesting. I've been doing work for MilitaryCyclist.com (now GovVelo.com) for a few months now and get to see a lot of the behind-the-scenes care that goes into this business. What better way to let everyone else know, right? We'll have more blog posts in the near future! I can't wait to hear more about Kati's triathlon journey and see what other fun topics we come up with!
NOTE: This blog post was updated on September 15, 2018 to reflect the company's transition from MilitaryCyclist.com to GovVelo.com as well as correcting some minor grammatical errors.