From The Top
Welcome to From the Top - a podcast about the founders, the innovators, and the remarkable people in the cycling industry and the stories about the icons they've created.
info_outline Building 'Life in the Peloton' with Mitch Docker 06/17/2021
Building 'Life in the Peloton' with Mitch Docker When pro cyclist Mitch Docker announced his retirement I was in the middle of producing Christian Meier’s story, much of the background I got from Mitch’s podcast, Life in the Peloton. So it got me thinking about Life in the Peloton. Is it a business for Mitch? How did he start this? What makes him tick? Where might it go? Mitch is clearly a smart, talented and hard working guy, so why not document his story now at this point of his journey rather than 10 years from now?
info_outline Building The Service Course 05/19/2021
Building The Service Course If you follow professional cycling and are attracted to specialty coffee, beautiful custom bikes, and boutique travel, then there’s no doubt you haven’t already come across Christian and Amber Meier’s businesses. The couple from Canada embarked on a professional cycling career for Christian and settled in the once sleepy Catalan town of Girona. The two of them are the founders of La Fabrica, Espresso Mafia and Service Course which have now become institutions of Girona that people seek out.
info_outline Building Curve Cycling 11/15/2020
Building Curve Cycling It all started in around 2010 when Curve’s earliest founder, Steve was working in a bike shop and got asked all the time for wheel upgrades. At that time the only thing available for after market carbon wheels were basically ENVE, Zipp, and a few others which were a major price leap from high end alloy wheels. Steve started asking himself why a more accessible carbon wheelset wasn’t available, so he did it himself.
info_outline Building LIV/Giant Bicycles 09/09/2020
Building LIV/Giant Bicycles You could very well argue that Bonnie Tu is the most powerful woman in cycling, although she wouldn’t think of describing herself that way. She’s best known as the face of the LIV brand she created back in 2008, but more than that she’s the Chairman of the largest bike brand in the world: The Giant Bicycle Group. What does that mean? Quite simply – she runs the entire show.
info_outline How Matt Keenan Found His Voice 08/18/2020
How Matt Keenan Found His Voice As we continue our theme of individual icons within the sport, this week we hear the story of Matthew Keenan - a man who is slowly but surely becoming the new voice of cycling, taking over the highest job in cycling commentary just three years ago when Matt and Robbie McEwen replaced Paul Sherwin and Phil Liggett as the host announcers for the Tour de France.
info_outline The Story of Legendary Cycling Photographer Graham Watson 08/03/2020
The Story of Legendary Cycling Photographer Graham Watson This week we speak to Graham watson, the most prolific cycling photographer in perhaps the world. Like other pioneers of their professions, some might argue that it was easy back in the day and there were more opportunities. But everything is obvious in hindsight, and as you’ll soon hear from Graham, it was anything but easy. I’m a big believer that you make your own luck to open the next door, and that’s precisely what Graham did over the 5 decades he covered the sport.
info_outline The remarkable story of Phil Liggett 07/21/2020
The remarkable story of Phil Liggett Over the next few episodes of From the Top I switch gears to speak to iconic individuals within the cycling industry to better understand how they got to where they are. First up, I speak to Phil Liggett about how he got his start in commentating, how he met Paul Sherwin, how he’s been doing since Paul’s untimely passing, his relationship/fallout with Lance Armstrong, and the cutthroat nature of his position at the top of his profession.
info_outline Building Skratch Labs 07/09/2020
Building Skratch Labs Founded by two longtime friends, Allan Lim and Ian McGregor as both were sidelined from the sport, they both described themselves as initially too ‘lazy’ to actually sell their ‘secret drink mix’ they were making for pro cycling teams at the time. With no business experience were able to hustle their way to become one of the biggest little brands in the sports nutrition world.
info_outline Building Apidura 06/26/2020
Building Apidura Apidura is a brand you may not be familiar with if you haven’t ventured into the world of bikpacking, touring or adventure racing, but they’re pioneers in rackless bike bags category, and support the community of ultra cyclists and bike packers. They’re a brand at the heart of this rapidly growing community and are enabling a whole new wave of this type of cycling. Tori Fahey is the founder of Apidura and never set out to create a business out of her homemade packs and bags. She did it to satisfy her own needs with how she loved balance her hectic life by doing long rides, tours and adventures. What I find inspiring about what Tori has done with Apidura is not necessarily the business she’s created (although that is pretty remarkable in its own right), but the foundation she’s build the company on, and the values she holds and follows through with. She’s been outspoken about consumerism and the culture of seasonal discounting. She is concious about the footprint the business leaves on the environment. She focuses her resources on making their products better, rather than new colorways or seasonal changes. She made a deliberate choice at the start not to be a growth led business, but to be a product led. That’s one thing to say when you have a hobby business, but something completely different when you have employees, a supply chain, and a customer base who depend on you.
info_outline Building SRAM 06/22/2020
Building SRAM SRAM all started with Stan Day taking on a triathlon challenge back in the 80’s and thinking that there has to be a better way than this whole down-tube shifting method. Twist-shift was his answer and he was able to convince a few friends to leave their good jobs, move across the country and start a business in Chicago and sell their better way. But as successful as the company is now, it certainly didn’t start out that way.
info_outline Building Silca 06/09/2020
Building Silca These days, you may associate Josh’s name as the man who reinvented Silca, the Italian tyre pump brand founded over a hundred years ago. But as with most of these stories, it was far from a straight path, and anything but easy. He started as a keen and talented cyclist, who later became a brilliant engineer who got his feet wet in motorsport and later went on to be an enormous influence in making the Zipp wheel brand what it is today.
info_outline Building Zipp Wheels 05/25/2020
Building Zipp Wheels An engineer by the name of Leigh Sargent is the founder of Zipp way back in the late 80’s, but it’s a gentleman by the name of Andy Ording who was Leigh’s first employee, bought the company outright in its early days, and built Zipp during its formative years.
info_outline Building Wahoo Fitness 05/19/2020
Building Wahoo Fitness Wahoo Fitness started off in the boat docks business. Its founder, Chip Hawkins is an engineer, and entrepreneur, a tinkerer, and most importantly someone who loves to throw himself neck deep in fixing problems to make something better - and and it usually starts, only himself and his own needs.
info_outline Building The Sufferfest 04/06/2020
Building The Sufferfest In this episode I speak to The Sufferfest founder David McQuillen about how he went from working in the Swiss Banking industry, to creating one of the largest indoor training platforms in his spare time and later selling the business to Wahoo Fitness.
info_outline Building Rapha 03/24/2020
Building Rapha Rapha has been one of the most innovative, aspirational and disruptive businesses in cycling, and Simon Mottram is the mastermind behind the brand. Rapha began from a single concept: Mottram's feeling for road cycling, and how he wanted it portrayed.
info_outline Coming soon: From the Top 03/19/2020
Coming soon: From the Top Welcome to From the Top - a podcast about the founders, the innovators, and the remarkable people in the cycling industry and the stories about the icons they've created. Subscribe today and don't miss the first episode with Rapha founder Simon Mottram.