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Louis Garneau: A Canadian Icon of Cycling and Entrepreneurship

Louis Garneau is a former competitive cyclist, an artist, and a businessman who founded and runs one of the most successful cycling clothing and equipment companies in the world. Louis Garneau Sports, which started as a small garage operation in 1983, has grown to become a global brand that sells high-quality products for cyclists of all levels and disciplines. In this blog post, we will explore the life, achievements, and vision of Louis Garneau.

Life of Louis Garneau

Louis Garneau was born on August 9, 1958 in Sainte-Foy, Quebec, Canada. He developed a passion for cycling at an early age, and joined the local cycling club when he was 13 years old. He soon showed his talent and potential, and became a national champion in individual pursuit cycling in 1978. He also represented Canada at the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles, where he finished 11th in the same event.

Garneau’s cycling career was cut short by a knee injury in 1985, but he did not give up on his love for the sport. He decided to use his artistic skills and knowledge of cycling to design and produce his own cycling clothing and accessories. He started by making custom jerseys for himself and his friends, using his wife’s sewing machine and his basement as his workshop. He then expanded his production by hiring employees and renting a larger space. He named his company Louis Garneau Sports, and registered it as a corporation in 1988.

Achievements of Louis Garneau

Louis Garneau has achieved remarkable success as an entrepreneur and a leader in the cycling industry. His company, Louis Garneau Sports, has grown from a small local business to a multinational corporation that employs over 500 people and operates in more than 50 countries. The company offers a wide range of products, such as clothing, helmets, shoes, bags, accessories, and bikes, for road cycling, mountain biking, triathlon, winter sports, and urban commuting. The company is known for its innovation, quality, and customer service.

Louis Garneau Sports has also sponsored and supported many professional and amateur cyclists over the years, such as Steve Bauer, Clara Hughes, Ryder Hesjedal, David Veilleux, Hugo Houle, Antoine Duchesne, Karol-Ann Canuel, Leah Kirchmann, Maghalie Rochette, Michael Woods, and many more. The company has also partnered with various organizations and events to promote cycling as a sport and a lifestyle, such as Cycling Canada, Quebec Federation of Sports Cycling (FQSC), Grand Prix Cycliste de Quebec et de Montreal (GPCQM), Tour de l’Avenir (TdA), Tour de Beauce (TdB), Tour du Rwanda (TdR), Tour de l’Île de Montréal (TIM), Cyclovia Campeche (CC), and others.

Louis Garneau has also received many awards and honors for his achievements and contributions to the cycling community and society at large. Some of these include:

  • Officer of the Order of Canada (1999)
  • Knight of the National Order of Quebec (2005)
  • Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award (2006)
  • Canadian Cycling Hall of Fame Inductee (2016)
  • Honorary Doctorate from Université Laval (2017)
  • Honorary Doctorate from Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières (2018)
  • Honorary Doctorate from Université du Québec à Chicoutimi (2019)

Vision of Louis Garneau

Louis Garneau has a vision to make cycling accessible and enjoyable for everyone. He believes that cycling is not only a sport, but also a way of life that can bring health, happiness, and harmony to individuals and communities. He also believes that cycling can help address some of the major challenges facing the world today, such as climate change, pollution, congestion, obesity, stress, and social isolation.

To realize his vision, Louis Garneau has invested in various initiatives and projects that aim to promote cycling culture and infrastructure. For example:

  • He founded the Little Bellas program in 2007 with his daughter Victoria Garneau-Delorme and professional cyclist Lea Davison. The program is a non-profit organization that empowers young girls through cycling by providing them with mentoring, education, and fun activities.
  • He launched the DreamFactory program in 2014 with his son William Garneau. The program is a custom bike service that allows customers to design their own bikes online or in-store using advanced technology and personalization options.
  • He created the Cyclosphere project in 2016 with his son Edouard Garneau. The project is a social network and a mobile app that connects cyclists around the world and allows them to share their rides, routes, photos, videos, and stories.
  • He developed the Garneau-Easton Cycling Team in 2017 with his son-in-law Jeremy Martin and professional cyclist Raphael Gagne. The team is a continental-level professional cycling team that competes in various races and events across North America and Europe.
  • He established the Louis Garneau Foundation in 2018 with his wife Monique Arsenault. The foundation is a charitable organization that supports various causes and projects related to cycling, such as providing bikes and equipment to underprivileged children, building bike paths and trails, organizing bike festivals and clinics, and advocating for bike safety and education.

Conclusion

Louis Garneau is a Canadian icon of cycling and entrepreneurship who has dedicated his life to his passion and vision. He has built a successful company that produces high-quality products for cyclists of all levels and disciplines. He has also supported and sponsored many cyclists who have achieved excellence and recognition in the sport. Moreover, he has initiated and participated in various initiatives and projects that aim to promote cycling culture and infrastructure, and to make cycling accessible and enjoyable for everyone. Louis Garneau is an inspiration and a role model for anyone who loves cycling or wants to start cycling.

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