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 Mountain Bikes 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 Mountain Bikes Direct, I couldn’t wait to help turn that vision into a reality! Fast forward five years and I’m Head of Marketing and Customer Experience. 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.

 

 

Mel McCullough

Hi! My real name is actually Mylene, but my Aussie friends have always called me Mel, it’s way more simple!

I'm from Quebec in Canada and I came to Australia to travel around and improve my English. I was aiming to stay for 6 months. Well... things didn't go as planned as you might have gathered. I met Tim and settled in Brisbane, becoming an Australian citizen in 2011. My background is a bit of a mix...studied art, children services, business and counselling, worked in hospitality and in the childcare industry for years before embarking on the bike venture.

In life in general, I'm a lover, not a hater, which is one of our values at Mountain Bikes Direct. I strongly believe that everyone deserves to be respected no matter what their beliefs are. Sometimes, you just have to agree to disagree, no need to be hurtful.

When I’m not busy with our 6 year old daughter, I spend my days working on HR for the team and any random projects that pop up!

Living back in Aus now after spending two and a half years living in Quebec has been great. I definitely missed the warmth! I'm loving getting out on my Giant Trance Carbon

 

 

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 Nicolai G-16 and am loving the super long and slack geo! I’ve also just picked up 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 Mountain Bikes 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.

 

Ori Zacher
 
 

Andrew Schneider

I grew up in a road bike family in the US state of Vermont.  It wasn’t until I rode my first mountain bike that I knew I loved dirt more than pavement.  I moved to Colorado in 2006 to attend the University of Colorado-Boulder, graduating in 2010.  My first real industry job was working in a bike shop in Boulder, Colorado.  A few years later, I moved on to a position at a local bike manufacturer which made me want to continue working in the bike industry.  

It was by sheer luck that I joined the Mountain Bikes Direct family in 2016. Tim and I randomly met on a chairlift in Bromont, Quebec, while participating in an Enduro race! Joining the team and working with like-minded people has been great! There’s nothing I love more than riding bikes and sharing that experience with others. What I love most about the team and our customers is the diverse range of different products we ride. We're always open to suggestions on what to carry and we look at everything in a positive way.

I am currently living and working from Colorado.  I spend most of my free time trail riding and I'm currently working on getting my Private Pilots license.

 

Andrew Schneider
 
 

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!
As the customer service manager here at MTB Direct, it’s my job to ensure that we not only consistently deliver the outstanding service that we’re known for, but that we’re continuously improving our knowledge and processes to ensure that the service we provide is always on point.

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

 

 

Rob Steep
 
 

Jacob Briggs

I first threw my leg over a mountain bike in 2012, following my dad into a pairs 25km race. Since then, the whole culture had me by the ear and dragged me headlong into the nitty gritty of it all. Nowadays I can’t go a single day without researching the latest products, brushing up on past technologies and how the industry has moved on since then.

I'm also a Level 1 certified Professional Mountain Bike Instructor, so I help people out with skills on the trail as well. I've recently flogged off the comforts of rear suspension, and have started racing local and national enduro events on a steel hardtail, so yeah, I’m one those guys.

Honesty is by far the best policy, and I will always stand by that, as does the whole team because we value straight talk. If I believe one option will suit you better than another, I'll tell you. If I’ve made a mistake, or don’t understand something, again, I'll let you know. There's no better way to do it.

As a newer face on the team, I can't wait to chat online with all those who need help out there!

 

Jacob Briggs
 
 

Joel Fitzgerald

As a teenager I would often be found out riding my old GT mountain bike, my mates and I would go on heaps of adventures around the Central Coast NSW getting into trouble and exploring the mountains. Then came L & P plates - the age of driving cars. The bike got retired and it was all about fast cars.

Fast forward 15 years or so and our family of 4 ventured on a journey around Australia. I took a mountain bike with me thinking it would be sweet to pedal around some areas. I could have never imagined the passion that this began! Each town we stayed in I would search the Internet for trails to ride and soon realised how vast mountain biking now was. I ran into other riders who all had a cool vibe and by the end of our journey, I was obsessed with riding.

We relocated to the Brisbane area which is where we now call home. I found lots of riding buddies and a great network of trails. I've put a lot of effort into progressing my riding and tried my hand at a few events - the Epic, 3 Plus 3 and local Enduro series. I love keeping up with the latest trends and can't help myself trawling over endless product and bike reviews.

Mountain biking has become what I live and breath. For me riding encompasses so much; it's a passion, fitness, escapism, mates, travel, nature and simply rad fun! I look forward to each and every ride and what it will bring.

I've been an IT professional for most of my working life, from support to architectural work and most recently a systems engineer. Though I've always felt that I need to be in an area I am passionate about and not just a means to an end. So to now be working for Mountain Bikes Direct and being able to immerse myself in this industry is such an amazing opportunity that I am super excited about. Mountain Bikes Direct aligns so well with my own values of seeing this rad sport expand and to be able to support riders from all walks of life is sweet. To see young shredders, women, retirees and everyone in between out on the trails and having a wicked time makes me feel privileged to be working with Mountain Bikes Direct and supporting mountain biking in general!

Joel Fitzgerald
 
 

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. Mountain Bikes 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.

Kate Stewart
 
 

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 6 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 in mountain biking. I love all disciplines of mountain biking. You don't need to make a road gap or wheelie for a kilometre. Getting out there and enjoying the ride is all the matters. I am honoured to be part of the team at Mountain Bikes Direct and look forward to helping out and having a chat.

Rigo Sartori
 
 

Mark Davies

After spending years chasing snowy winters and ski seasons around the world, it was during the short Canadian summers that I discovered mountain biking. Now based back home in Brisbane, I'm out almost every weekend enjoying the year-round riding and huge variety of awesome trails on offer. I've also been fortunate enough to ride in some amazing MTB destinations over the past few years; including the incredible Derby trail network and the white-knuckle downhills of Cairns!

I find mountain biking to be the perfect disconnect from the busy urban world. I love being out in nature, focusing entirely on the moment and tackling whatever challenges the trail throws at you. Grinding your way to the top of a hill to get that amazing descent is worth it every time. And it sure beats a workout on the treadmill!

I have been working in digital marketing and strategy for over 10 years now, and I get a real buzz in helping businesses achieve and exceed their online goals, particularly those in the outdoor industries. So to be able to join the Mountain Bikes Direct team and help contribute to their vision is like a dream come true! The team here is fantastic at what they do, know their products inside and out, and truly stand behind their core values and customer service.

Mark Davies