Cycle Lab Holdings, South Africa’s largest bicycle retail chain, has secured the services of legendary mountain biking pioneer, Steve Bowman, to boost the technical division of the brand as it continues its national growth.
Bowman was South Africa’s first ever professional mountain bike racer, competing in cross-country races abroad for the British-based Orange Bikes team for three-and-a-half years in the early 1990s. He opened a retail store in Cape Town in the late 1990s before working abroad for eight years, much of that time in the bicycle industry in both wholesale and retail.
He’s been back in South Africa for two years and will begin a full-time role with Cycle Lab from 1 June 2011.
“I’m very keen to add some depth and improved credibility to the technical division of the Cycle Lab retail group,” said Bowman. “Every Cycle Lab store has a workshop and I’m of the opinion that a high standard of workshop service translates to sales on the shop floor. But there needs to be consistency, not only in each store, but throughout the group.”
Bowman will begin with the Cape Town-based Northgate Island store and use that as a template to roll out relevant improvements to the rest of the Cycle Lab stores. By the end of 2012 there will be 30 Cycle Lab branches throughout the country. The recent opening of Polokwane and Lynwood (Pretoria East) stores has taken the Group to 13 stores.
“Workshop has always been a big part of my career. Even while I was racing, I’d help out in the bike workshops in the off-season. And over the past two years, I’ve been involved with mechanic duties at both the Cape Epic and the Cape Pioneer Trek stage races, so am very up to date with the current consumer needs and the latest technology,” explained Bowman.
“Steve’s experience is vast and he commands a high level of respect from all quarters. We want him to translate that into our stores, specifically on the technical side,” said Gary Marescia, Director of Cycle Lab Holdings. “We sell nine mountain bikes to one road bike currently and the depth of Steve’s mountain bike knowledge will be put to good use.
“There isn’t a workshop grading system or minimum standard in this country. Under Steve’s leadership, we intend to change that. Our Cycle Lab mechanics will all be properly trained or have upgraded training where needed to ensure our workshop standards are the highest possible. It’s part of our commitment to bringing convenience, product variety and a great experience to every Cycle Lab customer.”