"Some days I feel like I'am Superwomen; working full-time and then looking after a couple of babies. Then some days I feel like I need a gin at 11am."
If you v'e been interested in Pace, or bought a Pace, it's more than likely you will have had the pleasure of dealing with Sophie. She's Adrian's youngest daughter but don't be fooled. She knows her stuff and has now worked in the bike industry for over 10 years. Have a read of her chat with her Dad (or boss rather) about what it's like being a new Mum whilst working full-time for Pace.
Adrian: Wow, my little Sophie is now a Mummy. A twin-Mummy!
Sophie: I know, weird eh.
Adrian: Feels like yesterday when you would be at the MTB events with the Pace team, you and Aimee tearing it up on your little bikes we made you, welded together with scrap bits of alloy out of the tip from the left over RC100’s.
Sophie: Ha! There’s me thinking you designed us something special Dad. I remember that tip outside of the old Pace factory. Dear old Richard used to put his old prosthetic leg in there when it was time for a new replacement. We used to love playing in the tip with the curly bits of alloy making things. Aimee once found Richard’s old plastic leg and screamed the whole place down thinking it was a real one…What are those curly bits called?
Adrian: Swarf. Which is when you are machining aluminium it’s the excess material that the machine tool is removing, it comes off in a long curl called swarf. I remember that day very well.
Adrian: So, dish the dirt like I wouldn’t know…what’s it like working in the bike industry?
Sophie: I absolutely love it and I really don’t know what else I would be doing, or what I would want to do. It feels a very natural place for me to be…bikes are in my blood I guess. Pretty cool I get to work alongside you every day. I wish I could follow in your footsteps and design bikes but I just don’t have the patience. And I talk way too much. Although as Mum tells me 'Never say never'.
Without sounding too cliché, I love the products we sell and the heritage behind Pace, and when you love something it doesn’t really feel like work as much, does it? Of course it’s hard sometimes, like at the minute we are incredibly busy fulfilling orders and not getting time to do much else but here we are having a conversation for a blog at 10pm on a Tuesday evening.
The bike industry today is very different to the industry when I started working in it 10+ years ago. A lot more brands and a lot more people riding bikes and wanting bikes. Especially in this current climate it seems everyone wants to ride and be outside, which is just great eh?
To see more Women riding and working in the industry too is just really mega. Our demographic is 90% male but I would love to get more Women ‘on the Pace’.
I used to ride on a Tuesday evening at Dalby with around 50/60 men, maybe a couple of Women but not many, don't get me wrong I loved the Tuesday night rides but now I have a big group of girls I get to ride with all the time and they can ride really hard and tech stuff that some men wouldn’t even try.
Adrian: Do you ever feel that customers may not take you seriously because of your sex?
Sophie: If you asked me this 10 years ago I would say daily, but it wasn’t just men who would doubt me. It has changed so much...Everyone takes me more seriously. Helps that I now know what I am talking about.
I do get the odd person on the phone saying “I would like to speak to someone about a technical question please” Me: “Yeh sure how can I help?” “Are you sure??” …I just laugh it off.
Adrian: For those that don’t know, what is it you do here at Pace?
Sophie: Apart from design I do pretty much everything from customer service to custom builds and everything in-between. I mainly love sales because everyone one of our customers is excited about riding a Pace, it makes me really happy been able to fulfil that for them, its like Christmas every day for them which always makes me smile.
Adrian: Tell everyone what bike is it you ride?
Sophie: If we had any spare, or time to build one, I would be riding the RC295 but we’re selling those faster than what we can get them made so we don’t have any unallocated stock. I also would feel bad taking one out of stock when I know we have a que of people eagerly waiting for theirs.
I am currently on the RC627 which is also a total weapon. I’ve been riding a hardtail for a few years now and I absolutely love it. It taught me to ride well again, choose lines correctly and not having a full-sus to compensate my riding. I am not saying a full-sus compensates everyone’s riding of course, but mine, definitely. Then when I do get my RC295 hopefully I’ll be flying!
Adrian: Well yes, your right. The hardtail is the perfect bike to learn riding skills and technique.
Sophie: Pre-twins I would be slinging my bike on my back and hiking up a mountain somewhere with Flange and our pals. Now I am using it to tow two little chubsters around North Yorkshire. They bloody love their bike trailer! Me, not so much now their getting heavy. I need an e-bike, do you know one you could recommend me?
Adrian: Funny you mention it, ours is on the way and will be here next week. Prototype that is.
Sophie: You can’t leave it there, tell the people what they want to hear….
Adrian: That’s your job!
Sophie: Is this a test? OK well here goes: it has a flip chip so you can run it as a mullet or 29. 78 degree seatutube angle, 63 degree headtube angle, low standover, 170 travel, coil suspension front and rear, a new motor and battery- 250 watt with a 750 watt battery (we’ve signed an Embargo so can’t say the model yet, sorry!)
Yeh total beast! As you said prototype will be here next week so once we are happy with it we will be releasing more details about availability and pricing etc. Can’t say much else until then.
Adrian: You had an e-bike when you were pregnant didn’t you?
Sophie: Yeh I borrowed Sam’s Scott at the time. Loved it, meant I could keep riding up-to 4 weeks before their birth which kept me sane. Even before I was pregnant we would do some big days out on the e-bikes, people need to change their mentality of thinking its ‘cheating’ when it isn’t at all. You still have to pedal! But you can do twice as much, more in a day then what you could normally. We rode 3 mountains in one day and if I wasn’t on the e-bike I would have just been able to do one. So why not?
And now I definitely want one for towing the girls in.
Adrian: Until then, the steel 627 is perfect for the job.
Sophie: It is, completely solid. Comfortable too for those long days in the saddle and minimal upkeep.
Adrian: How are you finding Mum life and working?
Sophie: Busy! We are seeing it as an adventure making sure they fit in around us and not the other way round. I think they are going to have a very similar childhood to the one Aimee and I had. As most know our childhood was travelling around Europe with the big red Pace truck to events with our team and selling teeshirts in return for sweets. What a life eh! I didn’t want my life to stop when parenthood started.
Honestly, there is something pretty badass about been a ‘Twin-Mum/Dad’. But I’m not the first and certainly won’t be the last. I know many twin-mums who work and have successful careers. Infact twin-mum or not, a Mum who works too is pretty badass!
I literally had 2 weeks off work when Honey & Ivy were born, straight back to business and I did get judged from some people about that. I am pretty tough skinned though so I wouldn’t let it stop me and I do think those that judge are narrow-minded. Work keeps me sane and reminds me there's more to life than just been a parent.
But yeh, Twin-Mum life is very fun, they are entertaining and keep me very busy. Don’t get me wrong, it has its hard days but only as hard as you let it be.
Although saying that, homelife is a bit harder at the minute as Sam - my husband, works for Mitchelton Scott filming their back-stage pass stuff for Youtube. So currently he’s away filming Tour-De-France, which is 4 weeks. Then he may have to stay out there because of quarantine as he is due to go to the Giro d’iTalia straight after. So he maybe away 8.5 weeks in total.
Some days I feel like I am Superwomen working full time and then looking after a couple of 1 year olds, and some days I feel like I need a gin at 11am.
Adrian: Ouff I don’t think anyone would blame you.
Sophie: Yeh I know, well to be honest he’s always worked away since we met so I am used to it. When he was home during lockdown think that was the longest time we have ever spent together. We survived, just. Hahaha kidding it was actually really cool to have that hang time as a family. We, well he I can’t take any credit for this; converted an extra long and extra high VW crafter into a motorhome for us. He sprayed it in black raptor liner, it’s a total beast. He doesn’t know it yet but it will be making an appearance at our demo days next year.
Adrian: It’s a pretty cool thing I have to say, lots of adventures planned in it then?
Sophie: Yes lots, we go away in it most weeks even if it’s just locally and next year a big Europe trip is on the cards if Corona allows.
Adrian: So I guess your advice is to just get on with it then?
Sophie: Yeh exactly! Just get on with it. My escape is riding or running. We have a Thule jogging pram which is great for any other action Mum’s/Dad’s out there. When they are not in that, I sling them in the bike trailer which they love, and it means I can still ride.
I see Pace as my baby too. Hahaha I know it’s actually your baby but I have grown up in the business so when I am not a Mum, I work and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Adrian: The bike industry is pretty buzzing at the minute, what’s it like to be on the other side?
Sophie: Non stop, I mean it – flat out!!!! Anyone who works in the industry will get what I mean and I think every brand and shop are experiencing it.
As well as you designing such spot-on models we have sold three times more than we anticipated. Everyone wants a bike and to be outside, which is just fantastic.
But it does mean getting stock in has been challenging and there are big delays on things when normally it wouldn’t be such an issue, I’ve never known it to be this crazy, have you?
Our customers are very understanding and patient as they know it’s out of our hands, we 're doing all we can.
But yeh, such an exciting time for us here, Pace is growing and its come to the point where we need another premise and more staff, which will be great as I currently work from home. For those that don’t know Pace is based over in the East side, Thornton-Le-Dale. I live over in the West side near Ingleton. So we’re hoping to have a brand centre over this side near me and then I will have a place to go to work and leave work, at work.
Adrian: No more answering emails at 10pm at night then?
Sophie: I can still access my emails off my phone…
Adrian: I'll pretend I don't know the answer to this one...Where is your favourite place to ride on your RC627?
Sophie: Probably the best place I have ever been riding is America - Utah and Colorado. I went with you and your mates and it was simply the best riding I have ever done.
Adrian: I agree with you there. Dust for days and slick rock that your bike just sticks to. Just fantastic.
Sophie: It is. Then I would say Scotland! I know! Not the usual Whistler answer you thought I was going to say. We recently went to Braemar in the Cairngorms and it was pretty amazing. Probably one of the most beautiful places i've seen with flowing singletrack that could go on for days. I mean the riding we did was with the bike trailer so it wasn’t the kind of riding I would usually do but I actually really loving riding less tech and more XC stuff.
Adrian: Well XC is your background right?
Sophie: Yeh, I used to race XC and I was the National Champ at some point. I really wanted to race professionally, and I even got through to the Olympics Girls 4 Gold programme, but they decided I would be more suited to competing in Pentathlon rather than mountain biking. Not sure how they worked that one out as I aint a fan of horse riding. Anyway, I decided to give it a miss, didn’t want to give up my life and pursue something I didn’t love.
Adrian: Do you miss racing?
Sophie: Yeh I do, but not enough to do it again but I have re-kindled my love for XC.
Adrian: So come on, what’s next for Pace?
Sophie: Think I have said enough haven't I? But incase you missed it...We have a longer travel full-sus coming out and an e-bike so for those reading, sign up-to our Newsletter to hear all things Pace. Until then, I guess we will just keep doing what we love Dad? I mean Adrian.