1983. It all began
In his parent's garage in Saint-Augustin-des-Desmaures, Quebec, Louis Garneau launched his namesake factory with one goal: to make great fitting, well-designed, top quality cycling apparel... that wouldn't break the bank for his cycling friends. In the ensuing years, Louis' innovative spirit and sense of design pushed the company through some key phases of expansion as it left the little garage and became a worldwide leader in cycling.
Born from the Olympics
Today, our company produces helmets, shoes, apparel, and bicycles, but before we became a thriving company, we were the success story of an Olympic athlete.
Garneau’s origins began in the era of wool shorts and non-technical garments. Racing in garbage bags and dishwashing gloves for rain protection were a reality for Canadian athlete Louis Garneau. The entrepreneurial Canadian National Champion not only set out to produce his own kit for the 1984 Olympic Games, he sought solutions for cyclists at large. So our story begins with Louis and his wife Monique launching their first factory in his parent’s garage.
By 1988, Louis Garneau Sports grew from two employees to 118 employees, from a garage to a 32,000 square foot building, and from local distribution to national distribution throughout Canada.
Diversify and distribute
Over the next ten years, Garneau became a leading brand in the cycling industry, adding helmets to its offering in 1988 and opening a distribution and manufacturing facility in the United States in 1989. By 1991, Garneau’s distribution spanned over 20 distributors worldwide, and we were one of the top three cycling apparel manufacturers in North America. The company was one of the first to produce helmets, shoes, and apparel in a one-stop-shop concept.
The cycling solution
In a new century, Garneau began to both establish the brand as a pioneer in the industry as well as lead the technological progression of products. Patented technologies, including the Ergo Air® Concept, distinguished Garneau from emerging brands. The top athletes in the world were racing in Garneau products. This decade confirmed Garneau as one of the world’s top brands in cycling.
Our passion for creating cycling products that enhance the love of the ride for cyclists still survives. Garneau’s evolution continues with our commitment to take care of the rider - at all levels, with athlete-centric, innovative products regardless of one’s sporting level.
Cyclist. Artist. Innovator.
Louis Garneau is a Canadian Olympic cyclist who competed in the Men's Road Race at the 1984 L.A. Olympics. Despite a crash and bloodied road rash early in the race, he hung in and netted an honorable 33rd place in a strong field. Through an accomplished amateur career, racing across the world in heat, cold, rain, and even snow, Louis toughened his body and spirit and forged his character and disposition. His credo, "Never Give Up." was forged in the training and racing during this formative period.
With an eye on a career after cycling, Louis had already pursued his interest in art and design with a University degree. As many artists can attest, a career in art can be slightly elusive for a young creative mind. Just as Louis could find the right line to follow in a lead-out, he had a knack for opportunities. Before he even competed in the Olympics, his entrepreneurial spirit and drive to innovate appeared. In the fall of 1983, in his father's garage, Louis Garneau and his wife, Monique Arsenault, started manufacturing their first cycling clothes because Louis couldn't find product to meet his needs in the market. The kit he and the rest of the Canadian team wore in the LA Games was among his first creations.
In 1984, after participating in the Olympics, Louis decided to leave active competition and turn to business. Louis and Monique knew cycling and had first-hand experience with the lack of good technical clothing in the market; Louis had not-so-fond memories of using a garbage bag as a rain jacket during quite a few races and knew that his design background and knowledge posed an opportunity. With this, the couple took their extensive experience in cycling, the intimate knowledge of a cyclists' specific needs, and a few lessons on a sewing machine to develop and launch a range of original and comfortable clothing offered at competitive prices that athletes could appreciate. The Garneau brand took off!
Louis Garneau has been involved with cycling his entire life. With 13 years of bike racing around the globe and over 150 victories, including the Canadian Championship in individual pursuit, Louis lives and breathes cycling. He still mixes it up in the local Wednesday night criterium series and can really turn the screw on the famous Garneau lunch rides. He keeps the passion for cycling burning and provides inspiration to the talented team at his namesake company. The Garneau company now features Louis and his two sons, William and Edouard, who are picking up the baton for the next generation of passion and innovation.
Louis Garneau's dedication to cycling can only be matched by his commitment to helping others. From his involvement with fundraising for Little Brothers, Friends of the elderly to his participation in charity events, Louis Garneau embodies the spirit of his words when he says Never Give Up. Please visit our Philanthropy & Causes page to see some of the organizations he is proud to support. Perhaps you'll find your own inspiration!
The Granfondo and Little Brothers (Les petits frères)
Louis Garneau, president of Louis Garneau Sports, has been the spokesperson of the Little Brothers organization for over 10 years. This organization's mission is to provide a caring foster family for elders aging alone, relieving isolation among seniors and providing them with a lifelong accompaniment. In 2006, the Little Brothers' summer cottage at St-Joseph Lake opened its doors thanks to the valuable contribution of Louis Garneau and numerous volunteers. This cottage, located on the shore of St-Joseph Lake in Québec, welcomes the Little Brothers' "Old Friends" from May to September.
In addition, for 6 years, the Granfondo Garneau-Quebecor has given its profits to the Little Brothers foundation in order to help them offer even more presence to the lonely elderly and to maintain the St-Joseph Lake cottage.
Visit their website : www.petitsfreres.ca
Begun in 2008, the Garneau Granfondo is a single-day cycling event that brings together all levels of riders to enjoy a great day of two-wheel enjoyment.
For more information on the ride, please see the Granfondo website : www.quebecgranfondo.com