If the Australian economy is in the slow lane, someone forgot to tell these two mates, who are riding rings around retail.Bikes building a head of steam

This time last year, Jason Wyatt and Sam Salter, the 33-year-olds behind bike website bikeexchange苏州美甲美睫培训.au, were pinching themselves as Cadel Evans rode to victory in the Tour de France, causing a massive spike to their site in the process.

But that’s nothing compared to their success in the 12 months since, with visitors to the site doubling to reach the magic one million figure this July.

“As of 4pm yesterday we hit over a million visitors for the first time in the month of July. To put that into perspective that’s 10 MCGs,” Wyatt said yesterday.

Last night the two received a yellow jersey of their own when bikeexchange苏州美甲美睫培训.au was named the Telstra Victorian Business of the Year.

Wyatt said he and Salter, who have been best friends since the age of five, were honoured to receive the award, and to represent the state in the area of small business.

“We (small businesses) are the crux of the Australian economy and we’re very proud to be part of it.”

Wyatt, a former investment banker in London and one-time financial controller for Holden, and Salter, former national account manager for Just Cars, launched their bike website in September 2007, after 18 months of hard work.

The pair saw a gap in a highly fragmented, but growing bike market, and have now brought together more than 400 cycle retailers, private sellers and bike holiday companies under the one website.

The site now has 50,000 items for sale from retailers alone, plus private sellers, and advertises cycling holidays in 36 countries.

Its main customers are men between the ages of 25 and 55. They said last year there were 1.4 million bikes sold in Australia, compared to 1.1 million cars.”There’s no doubt about it – riding is the new golf in the Australian market,” Wyatt said.

The pair say their success is evidence that Australian retailers can compete globally in a shifting market. In the next month, they are about to unveil a new ‘vertical’ for their business, with details still under wraps.

In the meantime, their business, which now has 14 staff, continues to surf the wave of internet success, and set new, higher goals.

“Probably for me two things stand out in business,” says Salter. “It never ends, you set goals, you achieve goals, you set new goals and you try and achieve those.”

Meanwhile, another highly successful Melbourne business, KeepCup was named the Victorian start-up of the year.

Founded by brother and sister Abigail and Jamie Forsyth in 2009, KeepCup, has since sold more than 1.5 million reusable coffee cups, and is exporting to 32 countries.

Abigail Forsyth said they were proud to have created a behavioural change among consumers that benefited the environment.

“We want to be the brand that’s recognised for kickstarting that change in behaviour – not just here but right across the world.”

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