Jocelyn Vande Velde is having a banner year. Just three months ago she began her dream job as the City Bike Marketing Director for Trek Bicycles. Next week is her due date for her second child. Jocelyn’s a marketer by trade, but probably by DNA too, and has always worked in different facets of Active Lifestyle industries including Red Bull, Saris Cycling Group, and Johnson Health Tech.
She enjoys collaborating with creative, open-minded thinkers and especially loves connecting people, traveling and exploring, being outdoors (especially in or by the water), trying eateries and cooking, riding one of her bikes, making stuff, lifting heavy things, reading a good book or article and discovering new music. Chicagoan by birth, she and her family have happily made the Madison, WI area home for over nine years.
Melissa Balmer: What's your favorite early childhood memory of riding a bike?
JVV: I was on my bike constantly. Games and contests by bike were the norm. What jumps out in my mind is getting away from the immediate neighborhood with my sister and friends for 7-11 Slurpees and post-dinner, family rides to the ice cream shop. As I got a bit older, my dad and I would do long rides on the North Branch Trail in Chicago’s North Shore. We’d go the Chicago Botanic Gardens if we headed north or grab a shake at Superdawg if we went south—it was awesome!
MB: You're the brand new City Bike Marketing Manager for Trek. How fun! How did this come about?
JVV: We moved to Madison, by choice, not necessity, nine years ago with my heart set on working at Trek one day. When the opportunity for this role presented itself via word-of-mouth, I put my all into making it a reality. I’m a big believer of putting your intentions out there for the world to know. Now I get to enjoy the payoff—the last three months have been a bit surreal and I’m incredibly grateful to have the opportunity to grow and learn with the Trek family.
MB: Trek has traditionally been known to focus more on the sport of rather than the more casual, or even the daily urban rider. What will you be focusing on making happen now in your new role? Can you share with us how you'll be working to raise the profile of city riding at Trek?
JVV: Since 1976, Trek has made bikes for a multitude of riding styles. However, the shear fact that Trek owns BCycle bicycle sharing, has recently purchased Electra Bicycle Company, continues to invest in e-bike development and has now hired a dedicated city bike marketing manager makes it clear that we want to be a big part of getting more people on more bikes more often while continuing to develop top-performing bikes for road and mountain. Our city bike development team is amazingly talented and as simple as it sounds I plan to better get the word out about the what we’ve been creating. Trek really does have fantastic bikes and accessories for recreation, commuting, fitness and more!
I'd also like to highlight how much Trek's enjoying our participation in the Electric Bike Expo (with the next one in Denver Colorado June 17-19) so we can feature and demo our e-bike collection. We 100% see the importance of letting people test ride an e-bike to fully grasp how much fun and utilitarian they can be. The growth of e-bikes have been staggering in Europe, and we're confident we can match that in the U.S. We're really excited to see so much interest at the expos and I'm especially thrilled to learn that 30% of those attending are women - higher than those who attend these expos in Europe.
MB: My theory is that the bike industry will get more sport riders if they throw their net wider and better market their city bikes. What's your take on this? Wave your magic wand and share with us what you'd like to help make happen in the next five years.
JVV: I agree with this statement whole-heartedly, but I would also include that people can just become more avid urban riders once they start with their first city bike which leads to owning more bikes over time. Most kids ride a bike and somewhere along the way many stop and forget the freedom and exhilaration a bicycle provides unless there’s an excuse to get on one again. I’d be lying if I told you I’ve devised my five year business plan in my first three months here, but I promise you’ll be seeing more from Trek to encourage and support the everyday rider to spend more time on their bike. Reminding people what fun a bike can be is the first step in getting more people riding and while not all will go on to become more serious about riding the trails, racing a triathlon or getting a road bike, the percentage of those who do significantly increases.
MB: What's your favorite urban bike ride at home, and what are your favorite cities to bike around the world?
JVV: My favorite ride at home is the Lake Monona lake loop with a detour down State Street to the University of Wisconsin’s Memorial Union Terrace. I live on the route and you can’t beat the neighborhoods, paths, views, food and drink along the way. It’s one of our favorite things to do with guests. If you are planning a trip to Madison anytime soon, be sure to leave time for this ride and rent a BCycle for the roughly 12 mile route. My favorite bike city is Brugge, Belgium and the routes all around that area. It is incredibly well marked, dripping with historical significance and simply magical. Additionally, some of my favorite city biking is in throughout The Netherlands, Milwaukee and Chicago’s neighborhoods, lakefront and the afore mentioned North Branch Trail. Not in cities, but special to me is the riding in Southwest Michigan and pretty much anywhere in Wisconsin.
MB: Is there anything else you'd like to talk about? Anything else you're really excited to share?
JVV: I’d like to thank you for the opportunity to share a little bit of my and my employer’s story. I’ve been blown away by what goes on here at Trek—it really is a family business that was born in a barn with so many unique stories to tell. In particular, I hope to grow the Trek city bike stories, but I’m sure so much of it will stem from the great things that have been going on here for the forty years before I ever stepped foot in the door. Thanks for doing what you’re doing Melissa. Storytelling is the lifeblood of society—especially when those stories are about the magic that happens while on a bike!
Learn more about Joceyln on her own website www.jocelynvandevelde.com.