I thought I would be quite star struck meeting Sir Chris Hoy for the first time. Butterflies flitted around my stomach as I climbed up the stairs to the room where we had arranged to meet for our interview. However as soon as I walked in the door, I was instantly at ease thanks to Hoy’s friendly demeanour and infectious smile.
As the most decorated Olympic cyclist of all time, 11 time world champion and successful businessman an air of arrogance would be understandable. However within a couple of minutes it is evident that his grounded personality coupled with affable manner and of course a dollop of determination have contributed to his impressive success both on and off the track.
Since announcing his retirement in April 2013, Hoy has been busier than ever. His post-cycling CV is impressive – his own bike brand and a career as a British car racing driver are just the tip of the iceberg.
Most recently Hoy decided to add to his business portfolio with a range of cycling apparel. After much deliberation over possible collaborators, Hoy decided to team up Nick Hussey’s with high end brand Vulpine creating HOY Vulpine.
“We were looking to do a clothing range that was always part of the plan. I wanted to work together with someone who had similar beliefs, similar attitudes, with a style I liked that would work well with our brand. We approached five or six people but to me there was really only one that we wanted to go with. We didn’t tell him [Nick Hussey, owner of Vulpine] that initially, obviously that wouldn’t have been good from a negotiating point of view!” says Hoy of his decision to collaborate with Vulpine.
“I loved Vulpine, loved what they stood for, the products, everything about them and the fact they didn’t have a cycling performance range at that stage. It was all geared towards casual cycling and the riding destination. It wasn’t about the track or the road and going as fast as you can, it was about looking good off the bike as well as on it. So I think that was one of the reasons it tied in well,” Hoy continues.
Vulpine, who only launched in 2012, has fast become one of the key players in the cycling apparel industry. Associating a well-known name like Hoy on such a young business was a huge opportunity to further grow the brand.
“I was actually quite stand offish about Chris being the face of it as I didn’t just want a famous person with their name stuck on something,” explains Hussey.
“It was ludicrous. We [Vulpine] were only a year and a half old and the most famous cyclist in the UK and the best advocate of cycling in the UK is approaching you. I was quite diligent to take the piss out of Chris to make sure he was ok and not a massive prima donna. And Chris thought ‘God he is annoying,’” laughs Hussey.