In our Staff Rider Stories series of blogs, we introduce you to some of the people behind the brand. Today’s victim… sorry volunteer is Joe Fox, Showroom Manager of The Mailbox in Birmingham.
We speak to Joe Fox, Showroom Manager of our Flagship Showroom in The Mailbox, Birmingham. Retail has been our biggest developing platform for sales and a frontline in our world-class customer service. We hear what experiences Joe has to offer when you visit him and his team.
Joe, first up…how long have you been with Ribble?
I have been a part of the Ribble family for just over three and a half years. I was part of the original store setup team for Birmingham when we opened in early 2017.
Which bike/s do you ride & what is your general riding like, how many days per week?
Currently, I ride the 2018 version of the R872 model as my summer ride and also own a CGR AL for my winter commutes and off-road adventures. I ride to work every day which is only 7-miles each way-so not too far. I also try to get out when I can during my days off. When the weather is nice sometimes I add a loop on the way into work.
Where is your favourite place to ride?
Within the UK and local to Birmingham. I’m a sucker for punishment so love riding around the Lickey/Clent Hills. Honestly, I enjoy the speed and descents more but that always comes with its negatives (HILLS!)
Abroad, however, the nicest place I’ve ever ridden was in Marrakech, Morocco in the Atlas Mountains. One of the previous race teams I was with had a training camp there where we stayed at altitude. The sights were unreal and the roads were dead quiet. Granted, the road surface was a bit uneven but better than UK conditions haha!
Who do you mainly ride with?
More recently I really only tend to ride by myself. However I do try and catch the local chain-gang each Saturday morning, from the centre of Birmingham. The 7am start allows me to just about get back in time for the showroom opening!
What are your cycling goals?
My aspirations and goals have changed a lot over the years, From being a semi-professional, racing with MG-Maxifuel and Starley Primal and racing Cyclocross at an international level, my goals were to perform to the best of my ability and I aspired to make it as a full time professional. I hit a crossroads when an opportunity with work came about in 2014/15. With my business qualifications, I had the opportunity to set up a bike shop within the UAE or continue down the route of cycling, I decided to take the business/work route which has led to where I am today.
My cycling goals now are just to enjoy being out on the bike and to keep fit and healthy. However, I really would like to ride “La Marmotte Sportive” at some point in my cycling life.
Who is your favourite pro-rider and why?
Due to my cyclocross background, my favourite pro rider is Wout Van Aert. He has also proven himself many times on the road as well.
If you could have the skill of any rider who would it be and why?
For anyone who has been watching the pro scene recently, if I had the chose to be like anyone it would be Mathieu van der Poel. He is just an animal on the bike and has amazing bike handling skills.
What does cycling mean to you?
Cycling has been something I have grown up around as a child. From my Grandad having a massive passion for the sport to my dad taking it up and watching him participate in events as a young boy. I entered my first ever cyclocross race when I was 10 years old.
Cycling is now just part of my daily lifestyle. I ride my bike everywhere, regardless of the weather or distance. It’s great for my mental health and allows me to take any frustrations out on the road/pedals. It gives me time to relax and the sense of freedom that we all desire.
What has been your proudest cycling moment?
Proudest moment… honestly, I don’t have just one, I have a few I am equally proud of. But the one I’m proudest of the most, although it does not sound like much, actually is quite a big thing…
It’s not getting lapped by Zdenek Stybar in a Belgian Cyclocross Super Prestige Elite race. I was on my first year as an u23 rider and it was my first time mixing with the elites (and I mean top tier professionals). The course had a lap of about 7 minutes and the race commissaires pull you out of the race if you are close to being lapped. (When the race leader is 2/3 of a lap ahead of you). I completed the race without being pulled, finishing within the top 25 riders (Elite) and top 5 in the u23 category.
We have all had them, tell us about the worst ride of your life?
The worst ride of my life was during a winter sportive. At the time I had not realised that it was just an excuse for all the top local riders to get their race bikes out and rip shreds out of each other! I was on my old clunky winter bike that served me well but was very overweight. It also had very odd gears ratio’s due to just being cobbled together with any part I could find/get my hands on. I bonked hard! Just hit a wall; to the point I just could not turn my legs and felt dizzy. Had to make the dreaded call to the parents to come and rescue me 15 miles from home!
Jaco is one of the Instore Experts that are readily available to render help and assistance. We spent an afternoon out on the bikes with Jaco & son Jacob to see that father/son cycling bond in action. Check it out here.
Like Jaco, James is also one of our Live Instore Experts, always on hand to offer help and advice in getting the right bike for you. Find out more about James’s cycling journey here.