What was I doing before the Bike Club?
After university I headed off to the slopes to do a ski-season. Whilst working in Brighton at the tour company HQ, I began my search for a career that would excite me.
Applying for the Bike Club
the Bike Club came up on LinkedIn as an ‘easy apply’ position and the job role stood out to me because, well it was pink. Very Pink. But after I started reading, the company really grew on me. Not only because I am an enthusiastic cyclist myself, but the scheme they sell is a brilliant idea. Going deeper, the job description was worded in a very friendly and enthusiastic manner, the lack of corporate culture and wording was a breath of fresh air.
Meeting the founders
Upon meeting James and Alexandra, I was taken in by how friendly they both were and blown away by their ambition to grow their SME into a multi-national, changing the way people think about borrowing money and the very culture that surrounds it.
My first week
Compared to what I was expecting, it was relatively tame. Having previously made up processes as she went along (you're allowed to when you're the boss), Alexandra had steps written down and documented to ensure everything was standardised. In my first week, I conducted a product analysis that taught me about the kids bike market and a demographic analysis of all current Bike Club members. It was a great introduction into childrens' bikes and gave me a good idea of who our members are.
Operations are fairly straightforward but do require a lot of accuracy and a good product knowledge. It's a lot of keeping everybody - suppliers, members, but most importantly Alexandra (black, no sugar) - happy and ticking over.
The perfect cure for office monotony is restoring bikes to be sent out again. Getting out and doing something physical that you know will influence how excited a child is going to be on her birthday is extremely gratifying. However, I haven’t yet done this on a cold February afternoon in the driving rain, so come back to me on that.
Our biggest challenges
Coordinating deliveries with courier companies! They are tough to communicate with and when they fail to deliver on time, it can be hard to console the angry mother of a 7-year-old who won’t have a bike on their birthday. It's also pretty tough working in such a small team, I've been used to lots of social interaction with colleagues but office life at the Bike Club can occasionally reflect symphony of tapping keyboards punctuated with the dissonance of email notifications.
Am I going to hang around?
Absolutely (If they will have me). The growth potential of this business is extraordinary and in a relatively untapped market. I would love to see myself in charge of Comms and Marketing when the time comes and really grow the social media presence of the Bike Club, turning it into an online community for parents; promoting kids cycling events, offering technical advice and generally being helpful and prominent in the world of childrens cycling. I am also really excited to grow the adult brand of the Bike Club, not only because I would love to test the most recent e-Mountain Bikes and go zooming around in the mud, but to grow the sport of cycling nationwide.
The best days
These are when the correspondence with members is prominent and positive – We had 12 year old Isaac contact us one weekend, asking if we do any bigger bikes as he'd grown out of our childrens bikes. It was one of the most endearing things I have ever seen, and I'm very excited to hand-deliver him his own adult bike. It's great to have stories like his where we can see the massive difference we're making in getting children into cycling. He cycles to school every day and has grown to love cycling, whereas before he never had a bicycle!
My favourite day
(Sorry in advance) was when Alexandra first paid me. Not only was I able to pay off my holiday to Vienna, but Alexandra’s emotional reaction left it plain to see the blood, sweat and (literal) tears that Alexandra and James have put into this business and how much they believe in themselves and the future of the Bike Club.