Salt Dog Cycling

Salt Dog Cycling

Leading from the front

Richard Sault is an interesting character - he really is. This quietly spoken, sports-mad family man, has created one of the most well-respected cycling retail businesses in the U.K. online marketplace. As a partner for us here at Lake, Richard and the team at Salt Dog Cycling are unrivalled, with Richard himself being focused on knowing all that he can about cyclists feet, the issues that they frequently suffer and how he and Lake Cycling Shoes can overcome them, guiding cyclists onto the path of ultimate comfort and performance.

No one brand or organisation can operate successfully without support from others and having the ability to understand the consumer. Richard has, over the past 14 years, built Salt Dog Cycling based on this ethos, ensuring that whichever direction cycling evolves into next, he and his team are ready and waiting to wrap cyclists' feet in the best cycling shoes in the world.

In early May, just as the sun was finally breaking out across the U.K. and bathing the Yorkshire Dales in warmth, I decided that it was about time that Richard and I shared a cycling ride together, and talked over tea and cake about how he’s arrived at the top of the tree here in the U.K., as a leading Lake Cycling Shoe retail partner.

In the beginning

Richard wasn’t the archetypal entry into the cycling industry. At university, he studied Product Design to master's level, albeit in the sports-mad Yorkshire city of Sheffield, on the edge of the Peak District National Park. Ironically, despite living in the centre of the U.K. mainland, sailing was and still is a sporting passion, alongside hiking, camping and cycling of course! And, whilst he describes himself as merely a leisure sailor, Richard has 5 national sailing titles to his name. Cycling was for Richard, a great way to keep fit for sailing competitions. His love for cycling really took off in 2008, while training to ride London to Paris for Charity, for Western Park Cancer Hospital. That’s when he realised that it wasn’t just sailing that got him away from the challenges of everyday life. He could get the same out of cycling, a sport which he was able to do straight out the front door – a bonus.

Richard has a restless mind. Like a typical engineer and product designer, he’s always looking for ways to improve things, including the associated service side. Working for others after university, gave him a deep insight into how a closer focus on the customer requirements could enhance the opportunities for growth in an expanding online marketplace. With many lessons learned and a head filled with ideas, in 2010, Richard and his wife, Anna, decided to set up Salt Dog Cycling, as a specialist online cycling retailer, where kit options would always match the actual needs of the continually evolving cycling community.

Lake Cycling with added Salt ;)

The story for Salt Dog Cycling began in August 2010. Richard tells me, as we cycle along the green Dales meadows, how he and Anna were going on Honeymoon, cycling in Provance and to a place called Sault (also their shared married surname) situated at the bottom of Mount Ventoux. His wife, Anna, as very small wide feet (U.K. size 2) and knowing of Lake Cycling shoes, and the reputation for great sizing, he found a pair for Anna and purchased them for the trip. A short time later, in April of 2011, he and Anna set up Salt Dog Cycling and sold our first pair of Lake cycling shoes in July 2011 – a pair of Lake CX401 Speedplay. A classic, high-performance cycling shoe.

Since then, Richard has worked closely with us here at Lake, and with his customers, learning from experience and doing his best to fit to each person's needs. In doing so, he’s seen the Lake brand grow and become a huge part of the business at Salt Dog. Many years later, Richard, Anna and Salt Dog Cycling sell more Lake Cycling Shoes than any other U.K. retail partner.

Richard has personally studied bike-fitting and used his engineers mind to create a process guide on the Salt Dog Cycling website, to assist cyclists when measuring their feet. It deals with the length, width, volume and adverse foot shape issues, helping cyclists to find the perfect fit.

Back to the current warm spell here in the Yorkshire Dales, where I try to craft the words that make the Lake blog an encyclopaedia of cycling shoe information. With Richard having built such a superb reputation for service, we needed to spend some time on a ride to unpick his story and his knowledge of cyclist's feet - and we needed an obligatory cycling cafe stop!

Great cycling, great shoes and great company

Setting off together from historic Ripon, the cathedral city of the Dales, we had hills and tight, twisting roads ahead, with technical descending where full control and power transfer was required. I’d chosen our Lake CX238 road cycling shoe, as I have wide feet with low volume. They’re super-comfortable and low my feet to breathe, and hold my heal in place superbly, maximising pedal control, as I weave around the twisting Yorkshire Dales descents.

Richard, with a narrower foot, had chosen the CX403, molded perfectly to his feet, to maximise comfort and performance, with ultimate power transfer from the stability and stiffness of the sole. Climbing through Lower Wensleydale, we chew the high point at Ailton, before dropping fast and furiously, alongside the Swinton Castle parkland, on which Downton Abbey was based; dropping into the Dales market town of Masham - home to the well-known Theakston’s Brewery. However, this mid-afternoon ride wants for drinking, and we stopped at the famous ‘cafe on the square’, known as Johnny Baghdad’s cafe - the most popular cyclists stopping off point in this part of the Dales.

Every ride needs a great cafe stop

Tea and cake were ordered, and before long, another cyclist I knew locally, joined us from their own random ride. Within a few short minutes, he and Richard, albeit having never met before and this liaison being coincidence, were happily chatting about cycling, feet and cycling shoes. Richard was soon examining our guests' feet and detailing the complete Lake cycling shoe range, and which models were best suited for him, explaining the differences between models, and the personal benefits that our Lake CX242 would provide him with! Clearly, Richard is passionate about cycling shoes, and equally passionate in ensuring that every cyclist receives the very best attention to their own unique needs - including when riding or drinking tea with cake on classic Yorkshire Dales ride!

A follow-up appointment having been made, we left Masham and headed back into the hills, as we rode back on majestic lanes, with sublime scenery, to historic Ripon and home. Along the way, we talked about Richard’s son, and the beginning of his own cycling journey, on the roads with Ilkeston Cycling Club and at the Derby velodrome track. Richard isn’t your average businessman; he likes to be embedded within the sport that he serves, as it helps him to understand the cycling community and the needs of individual cycling.

An eye for detail

Reaching home, more Yorkshire Tea is made and shared, and the conversation continues. We talk about feet and volume issues - which I suffer from, and how custom insoles can alleviate the surrounding issues. He tells me that the Lake CX and MX238 are the best-selling shoe for Salt Dog, as it matches the needs for so many cyclists, with Lake creating this world-leading shoe in a variety of width fittings.

There’s a sparkle in Richard’s eyes when he talks about cycling… and his family. He’s a committed businessman, yes; however, he’s also a committed supporter of others, and continues to develop and grow Salt Dog Cycling within the vast online community. Watching and listening to him today, as we rode out into the hills; and seeing him relate so easily to cyclists we came across, it’s obvious why he and Salt Dog are such a success - and how they’ve become our leading retailer within the huge U.K. cycling scene. If you’re looking for something special to wrap your own unique cycling feet in, then why not contact Richard yourself at Salt Dog… or simply speak with him if you meet him out riding!

Here at Lake, we’re truly passionate about designing and creating the best cycling shoes in the world; shoes with comfort performance and style in perfect harmony. We can only achieve this with people like Richard, who so openly engage and communicate so well with grassroots riders. after all, it's always you people living your own cycling lifestyle that drives us forward - and nobody understands this better than Richard.


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