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roll: Retail Partner Number 1. - Victory Bicycle Studio in Memphis, TN

roll: Retail Partner Number 1. - Victory Bicycle Studio in Memphis, TN

Opposites attract. That saying that may ring true for some successful relationships but not in the case of Stuart Hunter and Clark Butcher. Hunter, the founder of roll: Bicycle Company and Butcher, the founder of Victory Bicycle Studio are committed to the same idea of what it means to be a bicycle rider. Both have had life changing experiences through riding bikes that they have dedicated much of their professional lives to bringing those life changing experiences to others. Both are entirely committed to finding the perfect bike for each of their customers and perfectly fitting the bike individually to each customer. Both are innovators in the bicycle retail industry and setting the bar for other bicycle retailers. The partnership between Victory and roll: is just beginning, Victory started selling roll:’s bike at the beginning of June. Following is a conversation between Stuart and Clark on the partnership so far.

Stuart: Tell us a little bit about Victory Bicycle Studio, and your vision?

Clark: Since we opened in 2010, Victory Bicycle Studio has grown from a part-time project for its me, to being recognized as a national leader in bicycle retail. We talk about an uncompromising commitment to service and attention to detail that have become the Victory standard. Our success has been achieved in my mind, through assembling a team of individuals that uniquely combine experience and passion for all things cycling.

Clark and his team in Memphis, TN

Stuart: If you had to describe Victory Bicycle Studio and its mission to someone who’d never visited the store and met you, what would you say?

Clark: I want to get you hooked. I want you to have the same addiction to this sport as me. By slowing the process down and ensuring proper fit and comfort on the bike, I can remove most all discrepancies on the front-end. We are 100% committed to finding the right bike for each individual person that walks through our door. 

Every customer goes through the fitting process that gets a bike from Victory

Stuart: Victory Bicycle Studio jumped on board as our very first Partner, tell us why?

Clark: I saw the bikes live and instantly became connected. The simplicity, the style, and the quality. SRAM 1X components are easy to service, reliable, and easy for the rider to use and understand. The upright fit and focus on comfort is spot-on. You combine that practicality, and give it a retro Porsche paint job, and it’s simply awesome. When it’s something you personally dig, it's easy to sell.

 The first roll: bike sold at Victory

Stuart: What’s the reaction been from customers to the roll: bikes?

Clark: Customers absolutely love the look. It’s not a geriatric looking hybrid, and it's not a "cool kid" fixie. It's somewhere in between. Its hip, it’s modern, and it’s current. What we also see is great communication, bikes that are easy to build, and ship fast. This combination makes for such a great experience for people. 

Another bike sold and being ridden around Memphis!

 Stuart: Describe the biking community and facilities of Memphis?

Clark: The community has really grown. When I began cycling at the age of 9 years old, a big group ride had 25-30 riders, and that was on a perfect weather spring day. Now, there are likely 3-4 group rides each day throughout the week with as many as 50 riders. The city is constantly adding bike lanes, implementing bike share programs, better signage, etc. Memphis is definitely not leading the way, but is absolutely doing a great job to keep up and improve its "bicycle friendliness." I am personally proud to say I am a Memphis cyclist.

One of Clark's clients with his bike and matching Porsche

 Stuart: What’s your own connection to riding bikes?

Clark: I have always loved endurance sports, from my first half marathon when I was 11 to my first triathlon at 14. Through triathlons I found cycling was my forte and began road racing. After high school I was racing full time and fell in love with the world of elite bicycle racing. I went on to study exercise science at Fort Lewis College and then back to racing. I still race professionally today. I love working with all types of people who share a love of bicycling with me.

You can see the complete line of roll: Bikes at Victory. Note that customers that live in TN now also have the option to shop online at rollbicycles.com and select Victory as a pick up location in the checkout, and pick up their bikes at the Victory Studio, fully assembled and ready to go.

  See our Complete Line of Bikes

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70 Miles and 7,500 Feet, the Hilly Billy Roubaix is Complete.

70 Miles and 7,500 Feet, the Hilly Billy Roubaix is Complete.

The Hilly Billy Roubaix is a brutal race through some of the hilliest back roads in West Virginia and southern Pennsylvania that covers 70 miles and over 7,500 feet of climbing. For the stat junkie, that’s well over 100 feet per mile (check out the ride here). The terrain makes it that much harder of a race. Most of the roads (if you can consider them roads) are loose gravel and muddy passes. The highlight of this being a stretch of the route that was actually not a road but a creek that we went up. As if this wasn’t challenging enough, the almighty bicycle powers that be decided to drop non-stop rain the day before the race turning every inch of the dirt roads into deep mud pits. I went down with Steve Burdine from roll: my buddy Chad Eckhert and Steve’s friend Jim. Jim was the only veteran, Steve, Chad and myself had no idea what we were getting into. Chad, being the nutball he is decided to go the day before.

Before the madness began with Chad and I

The race began with the only thing that could like up to its name, a pig squealing into the microphone. It was fantastic and terrifying all at the same time, but we were off! There was a mile or so of pavement and it got all the jitters out. Then a left turn and an immediate gravel climb. It wasn’t a particularly hard climb but since we were packed so closely together it only took on rider to unclip and walk up the hill to make every subsequent rider behind them unclip and push their bike up. I wasn’t happy at all so I shouldered my bike and sprinted up the hill and found myself up there with the guys in the front of the pack. I was thrilled! There was a pretty gnarly decent that I ended up flatting out on along with 2 or 3 other riders. I knew I lost my shot at podiuming, especially when I pulled my mud caked hand pump out to pump up my tire. The other riders who flatted filled up with CO2 and were out of there. Lesson learned, CO2 on race day. I filled up and was back on the bike.

Steve Burdine is still smiling...for some reason

The most notable section of the ride was Lice road. Though should probably be changed to leech road because I’m sure the mud pits were filled with them. The raid from the night before made this road treacherous. The thickness of the muddy water made it impossible to judge the depth of the hole until you were halfway through it. Some pits had me bottom bracket deep in mud. It was nuts!!! There was no good line through there you just had to barrel through it and hope to keep your tires underneath you. The road ended with a creek crossing. I saw one of the riders in front of me go through a section that must have been at least two feet deep. I decided to make a new line. It turned out to be a very poor decision because I found myself up to my seat post in muddy creek water. I definitely picked up a few grams in water weight.

This is one of the shallower mud pits

The other most notorious part of the ride was a section of the road that wasn’t actually a road but a stream. It was on a climb, so we were riding upstream and it was flowing hard! Some riders dismounted and walked up but I was determined. I pedaled through it. I had no idea what the terrain was like I was going over, large rocks, stick floating down stream and I am sure I ran over a fish or two. It turned out to be one of the most refreshing parts of the ride. The water was cool and fairly clean, it was a cool mid ride wash that I needed to make it through.

Chad tearing it up through the mud

The race continued and all four of us finished in decent time. I was the first one back and cheered in the gang. We all were exhausted but had just enough energy to pound slices of pizza and help put a decent dent in the kegs they had provided for us. Good work Steve and Jim! Chad deserves a special shout out though. It was his first race ever, and a hell of a first one at that. He was on the cheapest bike in the field and still managed to finish in the middle of the pack, Chad you are a beast!

So much mud!

This was my second gravel ride with an insane amount of elevation on my A:1. The bike is fantastic! It punches well above its weight in these races. I continue to be blown away with the amount of leverage the flat bars give me but the speed that it can maintain on pavement and packed gravel with a rigid for and 700x40mm tires. I am convinced that this is the perfect bike for any gravel ride with any sort of elevation like the Hilly Billy Roubaix.

 SEE THE BIKE

John Kohlhepp

Head Domestique

Roll: Bicycle Company