Owen Gue always wanted to be able to live and work in his hometown of Missoula and he has been able to live that dream. On top of that, he is doing something he is extremely passionate about and helping other people do the same.
Gue is the co-founder and president of The Cycling House, a company that organizes cycling and triathlon trips in sunny locales like Spain and Arizona. Gue started the company in 2005 with a bike racing buddy, and eventually bought his partner’s half and moved the headquarters to Missoula.
A graduate of Big Sky High School, Gue grew up skiing and cycling in the mountains around town. He was caught up in the competitive bike racing world, but gave up the hectic schedule to focus on the business.
Now, his company helps other people get out on the open road. The trips his company puts together draw clients from all over the world.
“It’s like a six-day getaway, where you go to a destination and we pretty much take care of everything,” Gue explained. “We have a chef on staff and we do all the food. It’s healthy, clean, endurance sport-specific food. We have a bike mechanic. It’s really focused on the experience. We offer a fully supported ride. We pick you up at the airport and you don’t have much to worry about other than getting out and riding. We basically take out all the stress that comes with traveling and trying to put together the logistics of one of these trips.”
The average rider is between the ages of 40 and 55, Gue explained.
“It’s professional people that are looking for a vacation but they’re passionate about riding,” he said. “They want to go and get some good hard riding in. The group dynamics are really fun. The groups are on average 15 people. There are varying ability levels and what we are really good at is making sure people feel OK. That’s where our staff and guides come in.”
The best part of his company is the people he gets to work with, he said.
“If the people you work next to are amazing and make you a better person, that’s really important,” he said. “I think that in my business, and this probably goes for a lot of other businesses, being really customer-centric and customer-focused. We are so focused on making sure we’re doing the right thing. That’s really important to the success of the business. If you are not taking care of people it’ll probably work out in the short term but in the long run, it’s not going to work. And then the other thing is taking care of the people you’re working next to every day. Taking care of the people that are helping you grow the company. In our situation, if I didn’t have the people that are working with me on the company, the business would really be nothing. Our culture is really important to us and the staff I have on board is the most important thing I have.”
The sport of adventure cycling is only going to continue to grow, Gue anticipates, meaning he will be able to provide more jobs in Missoula.
Gue said he was excited to be able to locate his company back in his hometown. The company now has nine total employees.
“We’ve been able to bring stuff back to Montana and bring stuff here more,” he said, “which is exciting for me, because that’s where I’m from.”