Bike Industry: John Oldale on leaving Fox Head Europe

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// Images by Ben Winder, interview by Jamie

You may not know John Oldale. He was – until the start of this week – the UK marketing/athlete/events guy at Fox Head Europe. He worked relentlessly with the media, dealers and Fox riders to push the good name of Fox across the world and help people go fast, have fun and get stoked on bikes.

After 2 years of hard work John has moved on to a new challenge at a new company within the bike industry. Team Wideopenmag have a lot to thank Mr Oldale for so we’re bidding him “good luck” with a quick interview! Cheers for everything buddy!

So John, who are you? What do you do?
Someone who loves anything with two wheels, adventures and coffee. Go out of my way to combine all three, as often as possible. I currently look after mtb stuff for Fox Europe. I do everything from athletes to events.

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What did you do before you joined Fox?
Before I got involved in the mtb rag trade, I was a product manager for a bike brand based in New Zealand.

And what has your job at Fox involved since you started?
It’s been pretty varied, everything from athlete development, media relationships to some hardcore spreadsheeting in order to get some events off the ground.

Can you put your finger on a top, best moment of working at Fox that you’ll remember? What was your big success in the job?
That’s a toughie. A company like Fox has so many opportunities to create amazing memories, and it’s pretty hard to pick just one. But if I had to, it would be getting to race Stefan Everts on CRF 100s. I stuck with him for exactly 50metres.

Anything you wish you’d got done?
I try not have any regrets, but I do wish I had more opportunity to work with some of our junior athletes. We have such an amazing pool of talent coming up and some real characters that will keep the race scene entertained for years to come.

What’s great about your job?
Being lucky enough to work with some of the worlds greatest athletes is pretty rewarding and a lot of the time very entertaining (you know who you are!). Also getting to travel to amazing locations often with a bike.

And what is less good about your job?
It sounds crazy, but it’s the travel. Being away from home and family can take it’s toll on even the most hardened traveler.

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And working in the bike industry is living the dream … right?
At the end of the day it’s still a job, which has it’s highs and lows. But what’s not to love about working with bikes and dirt?

So your job has been to help riders be great sponsored athletes. What advice would you give to riders out there about how to be a great athlete? What’s the secret?
Honestly … Up and comers need to stop worrying about scoring a sponsor. Athlete managers are more in the loop than they perhaps realise. Concentrate on your riding and promoting yourself in an interesting and unique manner. If you deserve some support it will come to you in time, probably when you least expect it.

You also have to keep a pretty keen eye on the UK riding scene as part of your job. What’s your honest view on UK mtb at the moment. Is it as great as we all think it is? Who or what do you think is the future?

The UK scene is the NUTS, it’s probably better than we realise it is. The rest of the world’s cycling industry looks to us as leaders and that is a pretty special situation to be in. We are so lucky to have such amazing gateways into the sport here. Very few places in the world can you rock up to a trail that is graded for all abilities, ride with your mates, grab a coffee and be home in time to hang out with your family (that’s if you didn’t take your family with you!).

“The UK scene is the NUTS, it’s probably better than we realise it is.”

We are also extremely lucky to have people like Si Paton and chris Roberts here. Guys who keep pushing the sport to cater for beginners through to pros to practice and perfect their art. I am not aware of any other country that has a national race series on a par with the UK (think about that next time you are whinging about something at a race).

The future may not be in traditional racing as such, but perhaps more in pure participation style events. Events that cater more for the masses and leave people beaming.

Last one, can you tell us what you’re off to do and what the plans for the future are?

I’m not sure I am allowed to mention the exact brand, but I am off to help relaunch a pre-existing brand. It’s a really exciting project and I can’t wait to get stuck into it.

Thanks for everything John – good luck in the new job!

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