How I Became a Curated Cycling Expert

Cycling Expert Jared Fontaine shares his journey of how he got started as an Expert here on Curated and some of the places it's taken him!

A man riding a bike with a helmet on.

All photos courtesy of Jared Fontaine

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Cycling has been my passion and hobby for over 10 years. Curated is a godsend—it has allowed me to turn my passion for cycling into a career. Moreover, I’m able to travel the world with my bike while I use my expertise to help new riders.

I was baptized into the cult of the cross tubes as a humble commuter. Living in Vienna, Virginia, I worked for a congressman at the United States Capitol in Washington. I wanted to save $50 a week on the metro commute (Capitol Hill staff salaries are not the best) and lose around 80 Ibs. Luckily, Virginia boasts the Washington & Old Dominion trail, which runs into DC.

I started cycling with a hand-me-down mountain bike and no guidance. I rode the bike 40 miles and fell in love with cycling. However, the mountain bike quickly broke down, and I had no idea what I was doing.

I eventually went to a bike shop and bought a Trek Gary Fisher Dual Sport Hybrid; however, entering a bike shop with lyric-clad roadies walking around was intimidating for a complete newbie. This is because shops offer road, hybrid, and mountain bikes priced anywhere between $500 and $10,000. Plus, clipless pedals, bib shorts, and chamois cream.

Many shops seem to discourage riders not looking to buy a $3k or $5k bike. I enjoy working for Curated, instead, because it allows newbies to ask "dumb questions" from the comfort of their own homes without embarrassment.

Back to our story; after a few weeks, I grew out of the hybrid. It was too slow for me, and I was getting passed on the local bike path—which was hurting my ego. So, I had to research the best upgrades for my cycling kit, clipless pedals, and shoes.

Then, my bike was stolen outside of the Capitol. Probably because I only used a cheap chain lock that was quickly cut off. I should have been using a better lock, like the Abus Bordo Combo 6100/75 Folding Lock, to safely store my bike.

Because my mountain bike was stolen, I was given an excellent opportunity to get into road cycling. The first road bike I purchased was the Trek 1.1. This was a nice bike, but I quickly outgrew it—as it was an entry-level road bike more for commuting than riding competitively.

A man on a road bike.

First road bike - the Trek 1.1

One of the easiest ways to understand road-bike hierarchy is to look over the components or groupsets. The groupset consists of the cranks, chain, brakes, shifters, and front and rear derailleurs: it signifies the quality of the bike.

As you ascend the food chain, you get lighter, better quality components in one’s gears and better quality shifting. Further, the frame geometry of the bike changes to make the bike more responsive for competitive riding. Unfortunately, since I did not have any Expert to guide me, I bought a $700 road bike that could not keep up with my performance needs.

Though with my new setup, I was able to gain respect in the cycling community by riding with my preacher and friends. They helped me get a better, full-carbon road bike. My preacher also taught me how to upgrade my bike and ride in a cycling pace line. Moreover, he helped me boost my cycling experience by recommending lighter wheels, road shoes, and new pedals.

A man on a bike.

Colnago upgrade

After that, I crashed my bike into the back of a bright-red pick up truck and bought a full-carbon bike with Shimano 105 components. The Shimano 105 groupset is the best level for the serious cyclist looking to ride gran fondos, charity rides, and racing. A bike with Shimano 105 is equipped with most technological advancements from the top-end $10,000 Dura-Ace components that have trickled down. As a result, you get a bike that can hang with the fast Wednesday night group rides without breaking the bank.

Whenever I get a new lead that wants a competitive bike to keep up with their friends, I suggest a Shimano 105. For price-conscious riders, I offer the Decathlon Triban RC520 Disc because it is the best value aluminum road bike with Shimano 105 components and would be perfect for someone looking to complete a gran fondo. Finally, I suggest a bike like the BMC Teammachine SLR SIX for riders looking for lightweight, stiff carbon fiber.

A man stands next to his bike with a beach and ocean in the background.

Me in Hawaii - Kona Side

After a few years of riding, I decided to move to Hawaii. Here, with a newly completed Master’s of Business Administration, I started working at various bike shops.

Over the next 10 years, I worked at multiple bike shops between Colorado and Hawaii. Because of my approach and empathy for new cyclists, I became the top bike salesperson in each location.

Ultimately, working at a bike shop was not for me. Not because of my lack of love for cycling, but because there is usually a lot of drama in hierarchical, personal jobs. Further, I felt I was not free to talk to customers in the way I wanted to. Salesmen were required to use specific sales tactics that I did not enjoy.

Now, Curated empowers me to help more new cyclists from all over the country. In my experience, so many people are interested in cycling, but many are too intimidated to walk into a bike shop.

View of the inside of a cafe with a laptop and a beach visible out the door.

Working next to the beach helping leads as the sun goes down

Moreover, in many sales positions in this industry, one is paid a fixed wage, so there is no incentive to help more customers. Instead, Curated Experts are commissioned based, so I am responsible for how much I make.

Curated is excellent: I get to talk about what I am passionate about every day. I also make really cool relationships with people all over the country and see future cyclists lose weight, win bike races, or just become a commuter. In total, I have helped thousands of people get into cycling or upgrade their setup.

View of a beach, a beer, and a bike helmet.

Sunset next to the beach after 50 mile ride

Curated allows me to travel the world while making an income to support my lifestyle. I am now a full-time Expert—and I love it. One day I am in Colorado cycling up Lookout Mountain; the next I am in France, resting at a cafe while cycling up L'Alp d'Heuz; and the next day I am on my laptop helping future cyclists. Moreover, Curated pays me to write articles and promote my brand.

The position is perfect for people wanting to become social media influencers. We also pick our schedules and must work only a few hours per week. So if you’d like to become a digital nomad and follow your passion for traveling the world with a nice income, you can apply to work for Curated by clicking here!

Cycling Expert Jared Fontaine
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Jared Fontaine
Cycling Expert
Jared here! How can I help?
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Hi! I am a lover of professional cycling and training. I have been cycling well over 10 years and I usually go to Europe to see the Tour de France and the Giro. I have ridden most of the France mountains in the Tour like Alp d'Heuz, the Galibier, and others. Moreover, I have ridden in Ireland, Germa...

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