More than a store or a group, Cartel is an overall concept around cycling culture. Based in the city of Quebec, Canada, Cartel belongs to this type of places that gathers passionate around a cup of coffee, a state-of-the-art training room and a shop dedicated to fabrics and bikes.Behind this concept, there is a highly motivated team, with Bruno Langlois as its leader. Bruno knows a thing or two about cycling, because he was the 2016 Canada road cycling champion. So, when he talks, we listen. Here is his interview.
Mercier: can you introduce yourself?
Bruno Langlois: I was born in Gaspésie. I’ve always done a lot of sports: skateboarding, snowboarding. After a health problem when I was younger, I did sport to get back in shape: cycling, running, and swimming. Then, I challenged myself, I wanted to do a triathlon, it was in 1996, at the Olympic distance.
Mercier: how did you switch to cycling?
At that time, I lived in Rimouski, and I trained with a team. We left for two months to Mexico, to ride during winter. Back from this trip, on the Quebec championship, I finished first at the overall ranking. This is how I joined the Canadian national team.
I rode in the championship between 2000 and 2018. In 2005, I went professional in the US, in a continental team. You do it for passion, cause you want to fight to continue. In 2007, an accident involving a car forced me to miss two or three races, yet I still managed to finish sixth when I came back. In 2010, I spent quite some time in France, where I’m based. The 2012 season is my best one, I was eighth at the UCI ranking in my category. In 2014, I went back to a continental team in the US. In 2016, at 37 years of age, I won the Canadian national championship.
Mercier: So you wore the jersey with the maple leaf?
Yes, exactly, throughout 2017. That’s what made me famous. Actually, it’s this started my career as a coach. People came to me for advice, and training planning. I wanted to stand on my own two feet and to have my own place.
Mercier: How did the idea to open a shop came to your mind?
I travelled a lot throughout the world, and I saw cycling coffee shops. I wanted to create a place that would be full of life all year long: with coffee for the social feature, a headquarters for cycling passionate. The shop started small; the motto was really focused on indoor training.
Cartel as you know it today was born in September 2017. We have a selection of products which are well-made.
Mercier: Can you present Vélo Cartel? Its concept?
It is the best training, the best products, the best mechanical service. We help you to choose the right bike, depending on your practice. Our client’s experience is very important. We take a cup of coffee with our clients to chat. They want to be in shape and come here to train with us: there is a synergy. A trusting relationship is created, we become a family, hence the name of “Cartel.” It is a gathering of individuals who fight against adversity.
Mercier: How did you hear about the brand Mercier?
A simple Instagram post seduced me and made me click on the link to the brand’s website. A firm favorite! I already knew about the brand and the history of the Cycles Mercier for a long time. A dense history! What charmed us were the Mercier clothing, which totally stood out compared to the others we have in store at the Cartel. They are chic, elegant, with a classic style, a comfort, and most importantly made with high-quality fabrics.
Mercier: How is cycling seen in Canada? How did the sport evolve?
For 10 years now, cycling boomed, people want to ride in style. Cartel is the reference in Quebec and Montreal.
Mercier: What are your favorites spots to ride, in Canada and in the world?
It’s difficult to choose, I traveled in more than twenty countries. In South Africa, Cape Town is really beautiful! But when you’re riding, you only focus on your effort.
I really enjoyed Majorca. Boulder, Colorado, in North America. Girona, Spain. I like heat, I tolerate it well.
Mercier: A project for 2022?
A Sprinter van to organize events in Quebec!
Video : Cartel, by Cartel's boss: