Meet The Team

Michael Geale

I’ve always loved things with two wheels - racing BMX from around age 8, then on to motocross and ultimately MTB (I switched from MX to downhill because my dad thought it would be ‘less dangerous’......). I cross trained in a few disciplines so have learnt to enjoy cross country, 4X and trail riding.

I remember being a sixteen year old standing in a bike shop that wanted to charge me $60 for a set of brake pads, and thinking there had to be a better way! I had also been struggling to get my hands on top quality MTB products locally, so I teamed up with my riding buddy Tim to convert my parents garage into a shop. It was definitely a battle as we struggled to get supply, and my Dad predicted “you’ll never make a living selling bike parts”.

But we persisted - I would sneak off during my lunch breaks as an electrical apprentice to find a quiet spot with a public phone (we were just pre-mobiles!) to place orders with suppliers! Luckily we were on a winner, we gained a loyal following and within about 18 months we were able to move the shop from under the house to a physical store on the southside of Brisbane. At that point I abandoned my apprenticeship and focused totally on the shop.

I’d always wanted to move into selling online, so when we started to turn our minds seriously to building MTB Direct I was pretty excited! Online is the way I often like to shop, so it’s been a natural progression. I’ve always been a bit technically minded, and though I’m no IT expert I enjoy playing around with tech systems. So I work part time managing a lot of our technical projects, and the rest of my time is spent looking after our two little girls.

Over the years I’ve been fortunate enough to have combined travel and riding, hitting up trails in NZ, Canada, France, Austria, Germany and even Nepal. I’m looking forward to some upcoming enduro races, and getting my little girls excited about bikes too!

 

Jen Geale

I started out in the corporate world as a management consultant, where I was told I'd have plenty of opportunity for travel to work on big projects. That all sounded pretty glamourous, and then I went on my first project - which was FIFO to a mine in Central Queensland, where the corporate uniform was hi-vis! But I soon realised I loved that time on the mine more than I enjoyed time in a corporate office, so I decided to ditch the suit altogether and work part time on the bike shop and part time on some volunteer projects I was really passionate about.

When we started tossing around the idea for MTB Direct, I couldn’t wait to help turn that vision into a reality! Fast forward five years and I’m now the CEO of the company. Over the years, I've learned I really, really love data. Not super geeky formulas (they confuse me!) - just making decisions based on information and quantifying things, rather than operating based on gut feel. I've discovered that data helps us serve our customers better, and grow our business in sustainable ways.

I'm the only one of our team who doesn't shy away from public speaking too much, so I've found myself involved in numerous panels and events, sharing our learnings in ecommerce. I even presented at a conference in Laguna Beach (California) earlier this year, and managed to sneak in a few rides there and in Santa Cruz during my trip! I was also particularly stoked to be recognised in the Telstra Business Women's Awards in 2016, and as one of the Top 50 People in Ecommerce in 2018.

I love being able to live and work on the Gold Coast, spending time with my two little girls - either on the beach, at the creek, or out at Nerang instilling a love of riding in them (well, trying!). Every now and then I even manage a ride on my own - out on my Intense Tracer, which has always been such a fun ride.

 

Tim McCullough

I started my working life as a carpentry apprentice under my Dad, however was soon involved with running the bike shop part time with Michael on the side. On the day I became fully qualified, I handed in my resignation so we could go full time with our Brisbane store. (Sorry Dad!)

Since then, it's been a wild ride of opening / renovating / moving stores until we settled on the idea of an online store. Now that we're out of the retail stores, it's been great to be able to knuckle down and focus our energy on the one business. I get a real thrill from getting customers on the best parts, at the best prices in town. I tend to handle our ever growing catalogue of products and the more technical customer service enquiries.

For me – I massively value time. We’ve only got a finite amount of it, so I always try to be as efficient as possible. Work hard, play harder!

Riding for me started out as a DH grom, however I’ve ridden and enjoyed all the disciplines. It doesn’t matter if it’s rolling around the skate park/bmx track, slogging cross country single speed rides or enduro loops. I love every second of my time on the bike.

I've been riding mountain bikes seriously for 18 years and have raced at local, national and international levels - albeit not very successfully in the international ones!

After living in Canada for the last couple of years, we're settled back in Aus on the beautiful Sunshine Coast. We're loving the warmth, beaches and sunshine! When I'm not chasing my young daughter around I'm riding a Starling Murmur and am loving the long and slack geo! I’ve also just picked up a Norco VLT e-Bike which is a tonne of fun. Also in the shed is a sweet little Banshee AMP for mucking around in the streets!

 

Ori Zacher

MTB is a newer discipline for me, though I think that burning around on a BMX as a kid has probably helped me pick up on some of the basics. It's been fun tackling the local trails (which for me is Nerang - Gold Coaster born and raised). I’ve learned that climbing is hard, descents are fun and crashes hurt - I'd never broken a bone before MTB! There’s plenty of room to learn and improve, and that’s definitely something I love about the sport.

Continually improving is something we live by here at MTB Direct. Whether it's optimising some code, refining a customer service process, or tweaking an element of user experience or communication, we're constantly working to make things better to serve you, our awesome customers! Personally, I love helping people grow and improving things, and working with a team passionate about this is both refreshing and motivating.

You might be able to tell my web/IT background from the above. I've worked in this space for over nine years with teams and organisations spanning the education, telecommunications, retail, news media, property and events sectors, as well as not-for-profits and charities of varying sizes. My main focus is many behind-the-scenes things (code, systems, tools, analytics) that help get you sorted with great gear and back out on the trails doing what you love most! When I'm not working on things under the hood here, I'm spending quality time with my wife and three kids.

 

Rob Steep

Like a lot of people, I started out riding a BMX when I was a kid. We lived at the bottom of a pretty steep hill and I used to love riding the nearby dirt jumps and having biggest skid competitions down the hill with my brother. I was about 14 when I rode a mountain bike for the first time and I've been obsessed with it ever since. Mountain biking just never gets boring as there are so many things you can practice, be it cornering, jumping, or just messing about doing carpark tricks. I love how you can keep continuously improving your riding as there’s always something new to learn.

I've raced XC and DH a bit in the past but these days I love trail riding and racing enduro's when I can. I raced the Trans NZ Enduro with some of the team in 2018 and really enjoyed the multi-day format as we got to ride so many different types of trails. It made me realise that I really need to practice riding slippery roots though!

Outside of bikes, I've completed a Chef's apprenticeship, a graphic design degree, and worked in hospitality for far too long. I've also worked in sales and customer service in the telco' and bike industries, including managing one of the largest bike stores in my hometown of Canberra.

Having an online based job has enabled me to relocate to NE Victoria so I’m pretty much in heaven with Mt Beauty, Bright, Falls Creek, and Beechworth all close by. I’m not only surrounded by awesome trails but awesome breweries as well!

I'm stoked to be part of the team at MTB Direct and look forward to chatting with heaps of my fellow bike nuts online.

 

Kate Stewart

I feel like the most unlikely MTB candidate, getting on my first bike since a kid only about 5 years ago, but I was immediately hooked! Coming from a background of horse riding, I found a passion that was just as thrilling (more so?) and a lot cheaper and easier to feed!

MTB has taken me to some fantastic travel destinations so far, with many more to come. Fresh from my first Maydena trip (AWESOME!!) I can officially say that Tassie is my favourite place in the world to ride. I loved Derby so much that early last year I jointly established a little restaurant called The Hub, after being disappointed that a town so full of mountain bikers had nowhere for riders to get together and share (brag) about their shredding over a craft beer and good meal. What a year it's been, I can't describe how many dead-set legends I have met in the process.

I also have a passion for seeing more women involved in the sport so you'll often see me around the trails dragging unsuspecting female friends out on their first ride or race. There is nothing that makes me feel more free and confident than getting on two wheels out in the country, best feeling in the world!! I want every man, woman and child to feel that freedom, including my own little shredders who love the local races. MTB Direct values this inclusivity, which really resonated with me when I started learning more about the company.

With a career background in accounting and psychology, I am thrilled to join the team to help with the all-important people side of the business. My vision is to reinforce and extend on the already fantastic team culture as the company continues to grow from strength to strength, setting itself up as a homegrown, award-winning online MTB retailer.

 

Rigo Sartori

I was one of those kids that lived on their BMX. I would ride it all day and you pretty much had to pry me off with my Stackhat in hand.. When I was twelve I got my first mountain bike. Whilst it was a rigid frame and fork it was a bike that made me realise how much better cycling could be. From then on I was hooked and have been ever since. To me, there is nothing better than getting out there and discovering nature and its beauty, riding a new track or heading out with your mates on an adventure into the wild.

I have raced DH and XC over the years. I had to step away from cycling and sport for over 7 years due to an injury/illness but I have now recovered and I am well and truly back in the saddle. I have been lucky enough to have been working within the bicycle industry for over 12 years and can not imagine doing anything else. I enjoy Enduro and XC a lot these days, although most of my rides are spent exploring trails with my children.

I love to see and help people get excited and involved about mountain biking. I love all disciplines of mountain biking and just getting out there and enjoying the ride is all the matters. I am honoured to be part of the team at MTB Direct.

 

Rowan Miller

At six years old the chain came off my bike whilst chasing my dad down an ENORMOUS hill. On those bikes, no chain = no brakes. That crash onto the bitumen taught me that roads hurt. Obviously, that's why I now love smashing mountain bikes down tracks as fast as possible. It hurts less.

Despite that lovely formative experience, I only picked up my first adult bike in 2016. Turns out this whole bike thing is fun. Like... really fun. So, at the end of 2017 I resigned from my career in Outdoor Education and moved to Tassie. Since then I’ve been living and riding between Derby and Maydena – with occasional trips to the mainland for races.

What I love about living in Australia's mountain biking Mecca is meeting so many people out on the trails: Riders who are willing to impart wisdom, talk through a line on practice day, or help fix a flat. It doesn't seem to matter whether you're riding a rusted '97 hardtail or a drool-worthy UNNO, everybody wants to get stoked and share their love of bikes. That's the sort of love that I want to bring to the way we communicate about those same bikes online.

 

Stuart Cleland

I have always loved bikes; long before I dreamt of owning a car I used to ride my BMX everywhere I could (including through fire trails to my local BMX track). One day in my early teens, my good friend showed me his new Christmas present: a hardtail mountain bike and we started riding everywhere together. Riding actual trails on a BMX got old very quickly and I knew I had to upgrade. A few months later I had spent all my savings on a shiny new hardtail MTB and my love for MTB really began.

After riding mostly DJ’s and light trail riding in my youth, the biggest change to my riding came when I set about travelling to Europe for a three month holiday. As soon as I got off the plane in Heathrow my brother picked me up and we were off on our way to Wales to session some bike parks. I instantly fell in love with DH/enduro style riding (getting a lift to the top of the mountain was pretty good too), and we ended up meeting several times throughout my holiday to ride in Wales, England, Czechia and we even accidently rode our bikes across the border to Poland.

As soon as I got back to Australia, I knew I had to buy myself a fancy new duel suspension “enduro rig” and now I love getting out on the trails whenever I can. I ride mostly around Sydney’s local trails but also travel around Australia with my friends to check out the great bike parks and trails Australia has to offer including Stromlo (Vapour trail!) and Thredbo.

For me riding is all about getting out there, feeling free and challenging yourself any way you can, either landing that sketchy drop, nailing a new jump or making it all the way up a climb; my motto is as long as you are growing, you are winning. I would love to help you here at MTB Direct, and am stoked to be part of this amazing team.

 

Damien Smith

I started mountain biking in 2007 as a way to build some fitness before a snowboarding trip to Vail in the US. I did get fit and had an awesome week on the snow and when I returned home I just wanted to keep riding. I was living in Manly at the time and with the Manly Dam trail close by I was pestering all my mates to ride too and we'd be out 2 or 3 times per week. Totally hooked.

Jump forward a few years and I've found new areas to ride close to our current home in North West Sydney. I'm out once or twice a weekend with a few trail options only a short ride from my own driveway, which has also led to making some new mates.

I'm not into racing but do enjoy pushing myself - and trying to beat said mates when I can! MTB for me is getting out in nature, pushing limits, progressing skills, having a laugh and disconnecting from city life. Also, it's about the bikes. Fine tuning, tinkering, upgrading... not to mention fixing mates' bikes just as we're due to leave!

Fixing and tinkering with stuff has been the story of my life and it's what got me into IT over 20 years ago. I owned an IT services business with a business partner for 13 of those and have also headed up IT teams, consulted in web analytics and business intelligence. It's always about the people though, and how the technology can assist. Bringing my profession and passion together at MTB Direct is a dream come true and I'm stoked to be part of the team!

 

Iain Fogarty

Bikes have always been a part of my life. I was the kid that spent the weekends exploring the streets and riding to school from as early as I can remember.

It wasn't until about 2003 that I got my first 'real' mountain bike and decided that this was going to be my passion.

I grew up on the foothills of hallowed ground for Australian mountain biking, Mount Majura Pines. Being a born and bred Canberran I was spoilt for choice of some of the best trails Australia has to offer.

2 years ago we made the move to warm and sunny Brisbane and I now have a whole new collection of awesome trails to call home.

My background has been many years working in bike shops and my last position was in wholesale, I've done it all!

I also have a trained background in various health and fitness qualifications which allows be to pursue my passions to the fullest, which ultimately is being outdoors and doing the things I love the most.

I'm stoked to be part of the MTB Direct team and look forward to helping out all the other frothers out there!

 

Fleur Brooks

I bought my first Mountain Bike as an adult back in 2003, when my husband and I decided to enter an Adventure Race together. At the time we didn’t realise the flow on effect this simple decision would have on our life, but fast-forward to today and together as a family, we have been heavily involved in the Mountain Biking industry for the past 13 years.

My husband and I have 5 daughters (aged 11 – 19), who have all been born and raised on Mountain Biking. With this family inclusion perspective and my close involvement in some of Queensland iconic Mountain Biking events over the past decade, I have an intimate knowledge and excitement for advocating, encouraging and improving experiences for our Mountain Biking enthusiasts, novices, families and professionals.

In addition to being involved with MTB parks and events, my background also includes being the Head of Admissions at two prestigious private schools; working in the digital realm of design, websites, publications and social media; running an outdoor boot camp and personal training business; bookkeeping; import and distribution of baby goods; owning and managing an online baby store; and maybe less believably, I also used to make and sell artisan sourdough bread to a local café – there really isn’t much I’m not willing to put my hand up to try out!

Each element of my background and experience has helped me build a strong passion for people, presentation and product pride. Combined with my ingrained enthusiasm for the Mountain Biking industry, I am excited by the opportunity to combine all of my skills, knowledge and ideas as the MTB Direct Head of Customer Experience (Head of CX).

 

Duncan Ledger

When I was 6 I got in a lot of trouble for digging up my parents freshly laid grass to make jumps in my front yard. Since then I have never looked back and made bikes a big part of my life. From humble beginnings racing BMX and road I quickly decided to ditch both and take up my true passion, mountain biking. In the early days I raced a lot of XC but my favorite part of any ride were the downhills and jumps. When Enduro started to take off I knew this was the one for me. Since then I have raced across Australia chasing the adrenalin. Nowadays I am not doing as much racing but enjoy finding the biggest jumps and gaps I can!

As much as I love riding my bike as fast as I can I also enjoy coaching. I started coaching when I was 16 years old and have since received my PMBIA level 1 and 2 qualifications. One of the best things I have ever done on a bike was spending a season coaching in Whistler. Something I would definitely like to do again.

I am currently living in Melbourne for university, but try and come back to my hometown of Canberra whenever I can to get some riding in. For me nothing is as good as getting out and spending some time on my bike. I am incredibly excited to be part of the MTB Direct team and help people build their dream setup!

 

Leo Assandri

It all started many years ago as a kid back when we couldn’t afford a BMX. So I modified my 3 speed dragster into some kind of BMX Frankenstein (would probably be called a BMX cruiser today) so I could do jumps on my street. I did eventually get a BMX.Fast forward to the 90’s when I discovered mountain bikes and suspension, that was it, I was hooked, the culture, the tech, and my personal development. My first race was the Oaks Classic in the Blue Mountains and what a buzz it was, even though I crashed coming in too hot into a turn, the bug had hit me and so began my passion for racing and trying to go faster.

After years of racing cross county & a few marathon races, I had a bit of time out from bikes to focus on “other” things. Eventually I got back to riding bikes, and wow had they evolved big time! This just re-ignited the passion. These days I’ll sign up for the odd Enduro or Downhill race, but mostly I just love getting out on well-built trails with friends and having an awesome time shredding! So even after all these years, I still feel I’m progressing and learning new things after every ride. I just bought my first dirt jumper, so now begins a new challenge!

It’s so good to see more and more people taking up mountain biking these days, and often I find myself helping newbies improve their riding skills and gain more confidence so they can get the most enjoyment from this sport. Recently I completed an MTBA Instructors course and now I really look forward to teaching and getting people stoked about riding mountain bikes.

Having left the corporate world a couple of years ago, I decided it was time to turn my love of bikes into a career and began working in the retail bicycle industry. Now I’m so excited to have been given the opportunity to work with an amazing team who share a passion for MTB and value excellence in customer service. I look forward to helping our customers get the most out of their riding and hearing their feedback about our awesome range of products.

 

Dillon Ribeiro

It all started when I moved back to Melbourne in 2011 to attend boarding school after spending a decade moving around south-east Asia as an expatriate. In year 12 I was lucky enough to go on a bike trip to Mount Buller with my school. We rented out some XC bikes and hit the trails for the weekend – I was hooked. Coming to the end of high school I knew exactly what I wanted to do. I took a gap year before university, bought a downhill bike and moved to Queenstown NZ for the summer - working at Skyline Gondola during the week and cutting bike park laps on the weekend. Prior to New Zealand, I worked at the Queensland University of Tech in Brisbane to save up some money before travel. On my days off I would spend my time riding and racing tracks at Illinbah, Canungra, Toowoomba, Boomerang farm, Dayboro and many more.

Fast forward to university and I found myself spending the 3-month break between semesters back in NZ but this time with a trail bike too. This way I could experience the myriad of riding across the south island and not limit myself to only the bike park. It’s so cliché but riding has always been that escape from the daily grind that I’m sure you’ve heard heaps of people describe before. Now with the enduro craze in full swing, it’s great to get out on the weekends, get a good workout in and also ride some technical tracks on the trail bikes that were previously reserved for shuttling/push runs.

After finishing up my marketing degree I spent some time working across both the consulting and automotive sectors. Besides bikes, my other passion is for cars, particularly the 993 and 964 generation air-cooled Porsches. When I’m not working or riding you’ll find me trawling carsales and the internet planning how I can afford my next dream car. After feeling unfulfilled with the corporate life I leapt at the opportunity to give the bicycle industry a shot. I’m really stoked to be working in an industry that I’m passionate about, especially with MTB Direct to bring the best products at the most competitive prices to the market.

 

Jordy Benda

Sport has always been a big part of my life. Beginning early on in primary school, I participated in junior athletics, badminton, soccer and hockey before spending 8 years living and breathing basketball. During this time I had always owned a bike of some sort, I purchased my first Specialized BMX in grade 5 and in grade 6 saved up my money for a Trek mountain bike. My uncle was very involved (and still is) in the mountain biking world and offered to take me out for my first proper trail ride. So along with my dad and uncle, I set out to ride my first local singletrack and was instantly hooked. I loved the feeling conquering a tough climb and then the thrill of flying back down. From that day I knew I wanted to upgrade my bike and skills. I began riding more often on as many different trails as possible, mostly XC routes.

I’ve been extremely lucky to travel to many countries with my family and see the mountain bike parks in Singapore, Rotorua, Christchurch and Queenstown (my absolute favourite). Although, sadly I didn't get to ride at any of these locations. It was New Zealand in particular that really inspired me to focus my time on the downhill aspects of riding. I love spending my time trying to clear new gaps, create new lines and enter a berm as fast as possible without crashing. Though this is something I have done plenty of times recently - turns out trees aren’t soft, trying to jump a 30+ foot gap without a chain isn’t smart and that knee pads and full face helmets are a definite must.

I like to think of myself as a persistent person who is always striving to do better. Continuous improvement is one of the many values I share with MTB Direct, as the mountain bike world evolves, we need to as well to ensure the best possible experience for everyone. I am very excited to be joining the amazing team here at MTB Direct.

 

Tilley Wilson

I spent my childhood and teenage years riding bikes around paddocks, on the road, the velodrome… anywhere I possibly could. This led to 15 years racing road and track, and then my friend suggested I get on a mountain bike. Well. I was completely and utterly hooked.

Despite going to boarding school and then university in Melbourne, it’s always been super important for me to get away from the city and back home to Mansfield, or to Bright or Cairns or Tassie, or overseas to ride…. As long as I'm on a bike I'm happy.

I've been incredibly lucky to be in the bike industry since I was first old enough to work legally, and I have loved it. 13 years now and counting, spreading the joy of bikes is truly the best job in the world. The only bad part about graduating later this year as a Midwife will be less time in the world of bikes.

I started building my own bikes with my dad when I was 10 or 11, and am now riding an S-works Stumpjumper, aka the unicorn (because it's so brightly coloured!) It's a beautiful bike, much more capable than me but the adventures we've had have been amazing. I've always worked on my own bikes, including spending a couple of years as a mechanic in various stores around the place, so I love the tricky tech questions. In my other life I'm a full time uni student, collector of (potentially useless) facts and I'm usually up to my ears in one or fifteen projects - currently a van conversion to make MTB adventures all the more fun.

I believe that riding a bike fast is the closest thing to flying without actually leaving the ground. I still remember the first day I really understood what "flow" meant and I could not wipe the smile off my face for a week afterwards. I'm on a mission to share that smile and excitement with as many people as I possibly can… bikes just make everything better!

 

Ljubomir Ceranic

I am a complete beginner to MTB. Like most Aussie kids, I grew up riding BMX, skateboards, and participating in any sport I possibly could in school, but I never tried MTB. However, the passion of the team here at MTB Direct is inspiring! So, I hope to begin my MTB adventures very soon. I love the outdoors and traveling, so it fits right in.

I have jumped around industries quite a bit in my professional career. From construction to banking to travel and now MTB. A customer first attitude is something I try to consistently provide with every role, and this is what really attracted me to MTB Direct. I work on the IT side, scripting and integrating systems to streamline processes and make things run as efficient as possible, which hopefully helps provide a better experience for our customers.

I live in Melbourne and in my spare time I like to spend as much time with my wife and baby boy as possible. Camping, enjoying the great outdoors and fishing in the Victorian High Country are also on the top of my to do list whenever we have the chance. Who knows, I might be attaching a mountain bike (or three) onto the back of the car on those trips in the not-to-distant future!

I am super excited to join the awesome team at MTB Direct and really hope I can contribute to its continued success in providing quality products and amazing customer service/experience.

 

Lachlan Hill

Mountain biking has been a large part of my life in the last 10 years. After being immersed in the sport in Queenstown NZ, after deciding to stay for the summer following a winter season, I instantly became absorbed in the sport. After New Zealand, I spent some time in British-Columba, Canada, exploring, traveling and riding my bike. Here, I got to experience the exciting and amazing terrain BC has to offer. From huge bike parks through to epic trail rides, I enjoy all that mountain biking has to offer.

I come from a retail and customer service background, having worked various roles from managing a ski & bike shop in Canada, a ski shop in New Zealand, and working for a watersports wholesaler and distributor in Melbourne. This has equipped me with a wide range of experience and knowledge that I can bring to the team at MTB Direct. I am now based back home in Victoria and have spent time in the Alpine Regions of both VIC and NSW. In my spare time I love to experience some of the great local riding Australia has to offer, Derby and Maydena in Tasmania, Mystic Bike park in Bright, and Thredbo in NSW are among some of my favourites.

I love to see and hear stories of people and families getting excited and spreading the stoke and joy that mountain biking brings to them. This sort of energy is awesome and is amazing to be a part of.

 

Nat Earl

Bikes have been a big part of my life for as long as I can remember, many of my early memories as a kid are of going riding with my dad around various Sydney neighbourhoods.

I got into MTBing 'properly' when I was 13 and I managed to save up enough money to buy a Gary Fisher Bitter - a sweet 'DJ' bike with 2x9 gears, Hayes Sole brakes and a Manitou XC fork. How things have changed... I quickly branched out into BMX, fixed (when that was cool), then proper track racing, more trail and DH riding, cyclocross, road, bikepacking, touring, etc, etc. By my count the only discipline of cycling I haven't spent some time doing is Trials.. But I think that's best left to Danny Macaskill and other (much) more talented riders.

I've been lucky enough to take my touring bike to some pretty stunning and remote places around the world. A few years ago I spent 4 months living in a tent and hunting mountain passes in Europe. I've also had the chance to ride in a lot of countries around South and South-East Asia.

When not exploring the world by bike, I've spent most of my time working in the bike industry with some of the world's leading brands in Australia and overseas.

Working at MTB Direct is great because we are so much closer to our customers than many other cycling brands. In my role working with the Inventory team, I believe this helps us to provide a great selection of brands and products that is better tailored to riders needs.

 

Jake Reid

I grew up always riding a bike, I loved going fast and building little jumps in the back paddock.

When I went to high school I unwillingly signed up for a 24hr MTB race. I had no idea what I was in for and was very ill-equipped. I loved every second of the race and the training we went through to be ready, our team did really well and I went on to ride in a few more XC-style races. When school got more involved I was doing too many extracurricular activities so dropped the racing as it was my most recent hobby.

A good few years went by and after taking a break from uni I decided to do a winter season in Canada and was encouraged to stay for summer.. and then another one as after trying downhill for the first time I was hooked. I bought a dirt jump frame and built that up in my spare time so I could spend the time that the park was closed at the river jumps and after coming back to Australia, I've carted my little dirt jumper all around Australia in our van, hitting up little hidden spots from Queensland to Tasmania.

Building this dirt jumper also sparked my interest in mechanics and since then I learned as much as I could about every bike I could get my hands on. Currently parked up in Derby Tasmania, I bought myself a Rocky Mountain Slayer and have been training my 2yr old pup to be a full-blown trail dog, who loves the trails about as much as I do and she shreds them harder. To me riding is about connecting in to myself and being creative with my lines, trying something different, and connecting with amazing people.

Travelling around Australia has been endlessly enhanced by being able to ride my bike and meet and connect with new people and I am so stoked to be able to be a part of MTB Direct which will enable me to continue travelling while being a part of this epic movement.

 

Tristan Purss

Inspired by movies like ‘Rad’ I grew up riding BMX. Around 1997 Santa brought me a Torker2 Rok’On which was my first serious bike, and I never looked back. I wasn't a racer back then, but I loved doing stunts and seeing how many family members and friends I could lie down side by side and jump over on the bike. The things you could accomplish with bricks, wooden planks and no fear of public liability.

Through my later teens and early 20's my priorities became team sports and work, however, I was still dabbling in the action scene riding bikes, skateboards and snowboarding. But it wasn't until around 2008 when I came across the mountain bike film ‘Seasons’ by The Collective (recommended viewing) that my focus really shifted to mountain biking as my primary passion. I bought a second hand Scott Ransom shortly after and rode everything I could on it.

The obsession for bikes grew and the stable of current bike/s +1 was in full effect. I would spend countless nights on YouTube, PinkBike and VitalMTB absorbing as much as I could about the sport. I purchased a Downhill bike and started racing in the Victorian DH Series. That flowed into the Victorian Enduro Series and some select National Enduro races.

Around 2014 I moved to a small township just outside of Myrtleford in north east Victoria with my wife and kids. Since then I've been heavily involved in the local scene riding and trail building, as well as coaching at the Junior Alpine Cycling Club. I love helping the local shredders with riding advice as well as all things mechanical, accessories, protection and clothing. I feel blessed to now be given the opportunity to share that knowledge further as a part of the MTB Direct team.

 

Katie Hall

Mountain biking and I got off to a bit of a rocky start. On my first ride, I was a little cocky and chose a trail way beyond my zero experience. I ate it hard on a rock garden then watched a grandma shredder fly past and show me how it was done! I swallowed my pride, jumped back on the bike, and gave it another crack. Glad I did, as I have loved the sport ever since.

For me, mountain biking offers so many great benefits. It constantly challenges - physically, technically, and mentally. It provides a super fun vehicle to explore the most beautiful parts of the world. And brings a fantastic group of people together on the trail and over well-earned beers after.

My husband and I were fortunate to live and work in the United States for several years. While over there, we took a year hiatus from the corporate world and chased the best trails around the country. From the lung-busting Sierra and the Rocky Mountains, to the Slickrock in the West and slippery roots of the East, we challenged our limits, rode our butts off and loved every minute. It was an incredible experience and solidified the importance of a future work/life balance.

Our young son and family have since brought us home to Brisbane. We are loving the beautiful Queensland outdoors and looking forward to exploring more of the Australian trails. Along with bikes- family, friends, the beach, and any excuse to spreadsheet keep me happy and busy.

I am super stoked to bring my accounting and finance background to MTB Direct, be involved with something I am passionate about, and help get more people on the dirt!

 

Olly Bradley

I have always been into bikes, but it was about 10 years ago when I got my first “proper” Mountain Bike and from then on, I was hooked. Since then, I have dabbled in Downhill, Enduro, XC and even road cycling. But now I just enjoy riding my bike, whether that be grinding up a climb or flowing down some sweet singletrack.

I have been able to travel to some awesome Mountain Biking destinations in Australia such as Thredbo, Derby, Bright and Mt Buller. Derby in Tasmania is a must-do in my opinion.

There are plenty of other locations I’m keen to get to – Maydena in Tasmania looks awesome! I am currently based just outside Canberra and get to enjoy some of the great riding on offer, such as Stromlo and Majura Pines.

Besides bikes, I really enjoy running, and surfing when I can get home to the coast. I think what these activities have in common is they present a challenge and a way of being free.

While at university I also worked in a bike shop, and part of what I loved about it was being able to talk to customers about bikes and answer their questions. After completing my Maths Degree and working at an IT Consulting company, I felt the urge to get back to my roots and do something I had a passion for.

I am really excited to be part of the team at MTBDirect and look forward to helping more shredders get on the trails!

 

Jack Kingston

Mountain Biking has been something that I’ve been involved with since I was a young lad living in Yorkshire. I remember going on trips to The Lake District with my family and loving the idea of a cold and rainy trip to the Whinlatter Forest to do some biking. I also remember being about 700 meters in and wondering “why did I agree to this?”. Since then, I’ve ridden fixed gear in and around Manchester whilst studying there, the only place colder and rainier than The Lake District.

I have also spent time on a road bike, flying down country roads in my local village, avoiding cars on England’s thin and windy roads. I then found myself moving to New Zealand at the start of 2018 with two friends and a passion to see the landscapes of this amazing country began.

As an avid photographer and mountain biker, I really couldn’t be in a more perfect place. An hour’s drive from Rotorua and the Whakarewarewa Forest, 15 minutes from my local Te Miro Mountain Bike Park and countless more mountain bike parks within arm’s reach, I really am spoiled for choice.

My next trip is going to be to Christchurch or Queenstown (Or even across the pond to Australia!) so I can see what their trails have to offer. I love a good rooty, techy descent with some drops along the way. Anything I can point my Kona Process 153 at and then hold on for dear life, that is the trail for me.

I’m really looking forward to seeing where my role at MTB Direct takes me (and my bike!) and to see what kind of impact I can bring to both my coworkers and our customers!

 

Jamie Redman

After joining the team at MTB Direct I bought the first bike I have owned since I was a teenager, which was more years ago than I would like to admit. I have since been bitten by the bug and have enjoyed learning all there is to know about maintaining and upgrading my bike, and heading out on our bikes has become a favourite pastime for my husband, daughter and me.

Outside of my newfound hobby, the rest of my enjoyment comes from less active endeavours. I enjoy most forms of motorsport, casual video gaming, and all things Disney including Marvel and Star Wars.

I have worked in IT since before leaving school and have had responsibilities ranging from support to cyber forensics and found it all interesting in its own way. I love being presented with a challenge and finding a way to make things work more efficiently.

I come from a large but close-knit family that followed each other around parts of Eastern NSW before settling down in the Central West. If I’m not home or out on the bike, chances are I am visiting my parents or one of my siblings, or out up to mischief with one or more of my family members.

 

Lily Carter

I may not be a mountain biker, but I love the outdoors and nature! When I'm away from my desk, I love to spend time hiking, ziplining, practising yoga, and spending time with my pets.

I grew up in England and still have most of my family over there, so I have been fortunate enough to see a few cool places on my travels across the globe (Japan has got to be my favourite).

In 2018, I moved to Christchurch after spending a few years overseas with family. Christchurch is a unique place in that you can visit the mountains and the beach all within the same day. I thought it was a pretty cool place to call home and so, earlier in the year, my partner and I purchased our first home here.

I have a great love for digital marketing, specifically paid advertising and ecommerce. I feel super excited to be able to combine those passions with the team at MTB Direct!

 

Ben Glass

Bikes have been a companion in my life since I was a little kid. From commuting to kindergarten on my Huffy BMX to playing around with Enduro on my Orbea Rallon at Awaba this year (with a little bike messengering and a lycra roadie phase in the middle), it has been a lifelong pastime.

Combine that with an insatiable mechanical curiosity and I find myself as happy in the shed wrenching on bikes as I am storming down some janky singletrack.

I spent many years racing sailboats and running youth sailing programs with a few seasons working up in the Sierra mountains of California mixed into it.

During that time I did a lot of coaching and I discovered I had a strong ability to listen to people, help sort out their key issues, and find a solution.

I brought that skill to the manufacturing industry managing the assembly and installation of industrial automation tooling for an aerospace supplier. I really enjoy helping people and solving problems, especially mechanical ones.

I've been running my own mobile repair business in the Northern Beaches and am now excited to bring my passion for bikes to MTB Direct.

 

Geoff Wright

For the longest time, the humble bicycle was merely a vessel for exploration. Heading out after school with my brother to ride every possible street in a 15km radius.

Once we ran out of streets to explore then we started riding up and down all the rivers, pedals slapped the water as we wound our way through suburbs experiencing our neighbourhood from a different perspective.

Gears were not a luxury we had, nor was suspension, but what we did have was curiosity and a whole lot of time to kill before dinner.

We would roll up the driveway often soaking wet and with the rubber from our tired old bar grips stuck to our hands, we were always stoked as hell, but never in any kind of shape to sit at a dining table.

It's early journeys like these that forged my need to travel under my own steam. The completely unique experiences I had on bikes inspired me to try it on a global scale. So, instead of riding through unknown neighbourhoods, I rode through countries.

Without the barriers created by buses and hostels, I experienced Europe and South America in absolute 4D. My bikes still remained simple but the things they allowed me to see and do have become my finest memories.

Now a designer, I get to influence the future of riding. With the tools of creating mixed with the research I have unknowingly done over my lifetime I feel in great shape to help more people experience the good times and personal development that bikes have brought me over the years.

 

Nick Russ

From the trusty little orange bike that I used to ride to primary school, the BMX I rode so much that I wore the tyre down to the canvas, right through to the modern trail bike I ride now, bikes have always been present in my life.

I grew up in a small village in Northern NSW where the only way to get around as a young fella without an engine was on 2 wheels. We used to spend every daylight hour exploring with one rule, we were home when the streetlights came on in the evening.

I have always had a desire to know how mechanical things worked which usually meant pulling it apart into a million pieces before painstakingly piecing it back together. This desire to learn and challenge myself has spilled over into adulthood where I built an off-grid cabin in the Snowy Mountains with my wife that provided me with a base to explore the amazing trails the Snowy’s have to offer.

Camping, fishing, and snowboarding are all hobbies of mine that all fit well with mountain biking. There is nothing better than discovering new trails or amazing natural scenery on my bike and being able to retire to a campsite with friends and/or family for the evening.

I have spent the last 10 years of my professional career developing my customer service skills in a large, fast-paced corporate environment and feel honoured to draw on these skills in an industry that I am extremely passionate about.

Hope to see you out on the trails!

 

Adam Townsend

Let’s be clear. I’ve never claimed to be any good at mountain biking. I’m not athletic, I have no natural ability, and skills are something I’ve had to work at for years, but at the bottom of a techy grade 4 or 5 trail, ridden for the first time, most likely faster than I should have, I’ll be the guy with the biggest grin and a big Yeeeeowww! Ready to ride it again (forgetting how bad the climb was).

Sure, I rode bikes as a kid, but Mountain Biking for me started as an extension of 4WDing, and from the first day out on my $250 Huffy, where the bike ended up with an extended wheelbase thanks to a bent fork crown, I was addicted.

I've done some XC racing and some DH racing but it was always about the social aspect for me. What could be better than hanging with some like-minded dirt peeps, driving somewhere new, hitting some trails, heading to the nearest pub or cafe for a feed and a drink and then heading home totally exhausted.

With a Masters Degree in Electro Acoustics, my working career revolved around Audio and Acoustics for a long time and then an opportunity came up to work for the local bike shop when things were otherwise looking a bit grim. I’ve been a bike mechanic now for over 12 years and there isn’t much I can't fix.

I started and ran my own bike shop, where I met the love of my life, and together we travelled by Fat-Bike for a year and a half through Australia, New Zealand and the USA.

After a couple of years in Adelaide we decided to work for a while in Rotorua but then lockdown happened and we accidentally bought a property, and a dog, and now we're stuck in this godforsaken mountain biking paradise. Damn it!

Now that I’m a kiwi and a member of the MTB Direct team, I’ll have a big “Chur” and a “Sweet-As” waiting for all my fellow Dirt Church worshippers, along with a solution to your query and a smile for good measure. Yeeeoow!

 

Lyndal Bailey

As a teenager I got into road cycling and with no mountain bike trails close by or anyone else in my family interested in cycling I was solo in my ventures.

At age 23 I broke my back in several places and had many years of recovery ahead of me, I couldn’t sit, walk, or drive for long periods comfortably but I could ride a bike!

With my life on hold I decided to travel, and what better way than by bike. This adventure lead me to find love, and as they say, the rest is history. Several countries, thousands of kilometres later and on bike number three, cycling was no longer a hobby, it was life.

With a bike mechanic for a partner it was inevitable I would learn the trade and it wasn’t long before I was working as a mechanic myself. I had essentially traded in my nursing career for patients that couldn’t talk, I yet again enjoyed being hands-on and solving issues and problems this time instead on bikes that came my way.

I would say that I truly fell in love with mountain biking on my first trip to Rotorua, NZ. Long flowy trails are enough to entice any beginner over to the dark side.

From there my riding grew as did my inclination for more technical hand-built trails. With plans to travel and ride on hold due to covid, we found ourselves in lockdown in one of the mountain bike capitals of the world.

Add a trail puppy and one very slow year of lockdown later and we now call Rotorua home with the amazing Whakarewarewa forest only a short drive away!

Having spent a number of years working in customer service roles I saw no better opportunity than to combine my knowledge as a bike mechanic with my love of customer service.

I look forward to being able to troubleshoot and offer advice however I can to get others out riding!