Updated V-Kit Ordering Process

Communing with Butterflies high on Haleakala

If I was going to describe to you what our order management process for the V-Kit has been like, I might start by likening it to Communing with Butterflies, only with invoices. It’s been a highly manual process with invoices for deposits being assembled based on The Big Board, which was compiled by Gianni from the emails we get asking to get on the waiting list along with sizes and quantities.

Invoices go out, but people might be out of town and invoices go unpaid, and then we have to work out which unpaid invoices apply to people who don’t want the kit any longer, and which simply went unpaid because of holidays or greedy junk mail filters. Eventually we get all the monies in order and we pay Castelli to get the order moving, usually later than we’d hoped.  Then Castelli works it on their end and we get a phone call about a month or six weeks later that the kit is almost done, and we send out a second set of invoices – also manually assembled – for the remaining bit, some of which also have to get chased down.

Labor-intensive, but t’s been worth it because this is such a great community, and we enjoy spreading the love around, not to mention seeing so many people riding in the Sacred Garment. And while good intentions and passion can take you a long way in a crap process, the crap process will ultimately win due primarily to the fact that manual steps introduce the opportunity for error, and errors are bad for everyone.

From the start, we’ve never had any clue that there were so many likeminded cyclists out there. What started as an idea for a site centered around an imbalanced love for cycling has grown into what I truly believe is the best, wittiest, and most informative cycling community in existence. It has very little to do with us, the Keepers, and almost everything to do with you, the Community. Without you, we’re nothing. And that’s why we do this.

This project has also scaled in a way we didn’t expect, and while we’ve always put a tremendous focus on selecting the right products that embody La Vie Velominatus, our order management process behind the scenes wasn’t designed with the possibility in mind that there would be quite so many orders to handle. Where we spot problems – usually reported by people who are…surprised…that their order hasn’t arrive yet after some time, we work hard to improve the process and increase the level of service because no one who puts down their hard-earned cash deserves to have to wait for their products or, worse yet, have it not arrive at all due to someone having missed a step in an overly manual process.

We do this all out of our homes, and with full-time jobs taking up huge chunks of our time, so while changes sometimes come slowly, they do eventually come, and we will eventually have a system in place which is worthy of the level of quality expected from any self-respecting Velominatus/Velominata.

Which brings me to the point. For the current V-Kit order, we’ve implemented an incremental change to the ordering process which will hopefully improve the predictability and level of service, as well as reduce the amount of work and time it takes to manage it. From now on, orders are accepted online for the V-Kit. It works just like all our other products, and the checkout is handled through PayPal, where you can trust your payment is secure and where you have recourse to dispute any issue you have either with the quality of our products or the level of service provided. The only difference is that the orders placed for the V-Kit go into the queue where the money is held in the PayPal account until the order is placed with Castelli and we make payment to them. We’ll also no longer be taking down payments, but instead will be taking the full amount up-front at the time the order is placed.

Our goal is to work towards placing orders with Castelli quarterly, although we’re not quite at that point.  In the meantime, we’ll post our best-guess for what date the order will be submitted to Castelli, along with the expected date that it arrives bak at the Velominati World Headquarters (@frank’s house). Once it arrives, the kits get packed into environmentally-friendly packing materials, and they head off to their destinations around the world.

Since Castelli requires minimum quantities on each item of the V-Kit, the possibility exists that we’ll reach the minimums for some items, but not others. In the past, I’ve been able to make arrangements with them to accept a quantity lower than the minimum, but there are no guarantees that this is possible every time. We’ll notify you if the item you ordered will not be included in the order because of this, and you’ll be given the option of either staying on the waiting list until we do reach the numbers, or we’ll refund you the deposit, minus the small fees PayPal charges for the transactions.

Velominati also can’t be held responsible for lost shipments.  We’ve sent out hundreds of orders with only a very small amount of lost packages, but packages do get lost sometimes. Also, since Velominati isn’t a money-making enterprise, we can’t afford to replace packages lost by the postal service.  Therefor, if you’d like to upgrade to shipping with tracking information and/or insurance, please make a note to this effect in the order being placed, and we’ll invoice you for the difference. Based on demand for this service, we may update our standard shipping service/charge to include this.

Finally, as has been the process since the beginning, we also can’t accept returns on V-Kit for the same reason that we can’t replace lost packages, though we certainly do make every effort to either make an exchange or coordinate a resale of your kit and get you in on the next order in the size you want. If there’s a problem with the sizing of the kit or you don’t like it for whatever reason, contact us and we’ll do what we can.  Just make sure the kit is unworn and clean.

At this time, we are anticipating submitting the next V-Kit order to Castelli on Monday, May 9th, with an expected delivery to Velominati of July 1.  If you’re interested in riding in the finest looking kit available, hop over to the Gear page and place your order.  Orders placed before May 8th will be included in this shipment; anything received after that will go into the next one. Updates on the status will be posted on the Gear page as well as in the alert bar in the upper right of the site.

After this order, we will attempt to align to the quarterly order schedule, meaning we will shoot for another order on June 1, but we’ll play it by ear and see how many orders are in the queue at that time.

Thanks again to everyone in the community who makes Velominati possible. It is an honor to be a part of it.

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34 Replies to “Updated V-Kit Ordering Process”

  1. Thanks for all the hard work on this, Frank (and the rest of you crazy Keepers too) . I for one appreciate the scale of coordinating all our diverging needs and requests, and can state without reservation that the end product is well worth it! Great community, great kit, great riding! We need a Cogal… anybody going to be at the ToC TT in Solvang on May 20?

  2. @Cyclops

    Well, maybe you need a saddle with an integrated Irish Pirate Treasure Trench (thanks JiPM) to reduce the pain.

    Sorry Frank. I’m glad you’re working on ways to make the back-end of the site run better. I’m still very much in awe that you do all this for the love of the sport!

  3. Excellent! Though I’m mostly new to the site – to the community – I’ll definitely be ordering the Sacred Garment soon, maybe this time around. Just to make sure, knowing that it’s fine Castelli product, it’s euro cut, right? In euro I usually need to get large (my Castelli gloves are actually XL). I recently bought some ‘merican cut Pearl Izumi all black stuff in medium and it fits fine.

  4. @Mikeweb
    This is the Castelli race gear; not the Aero Race jersey (which is basically a skin suit with pockets) but it is the Aero Race bibs and the Castelli Team jersey. If there is any doubt, go up a size. This stuff is snug.

    Here’s the sizing chart.

  5. Speaking of sacred garments, any plans on producing head covering gear that shall not be worn off the bike unless one wants to be labelled as a douche? aka a V-Cap?

  6. “We do this all out of our homes, and with full-time jobs taking up huge chunks of our time…”

    I know how you feel. Those pesky full time jobs. I have one too. It cuts into my riding time, prevents me from working on my steeds and surfing the interwebz…

    I used the online order system on Monday – its good! I decided to go ahead without approval from the treasurer (VMH) on the principle that its easier to ask for forgiveness than beg for permission…

    And the Aussie dollar is going up like Michael Rasjuicin.

    Thanks Frank

  7. Cant F’ing wait. I can only order the jersey this time around as my hard earned cash is not a plentiful. I will have to work on the bibs for next time around.

  8. Please tell me 80s track suits are in the works:

    More seriously, thanks for all the hard work, Frank! Between the site, writing articles, and the orders, I don’t know how you find the time to actually ride your bicycles.

  9. Ron:
    Please tell me 80s track suits are in the works:

    More seriously, thanks for all the hard work, Frank! Between the site, writing articles, and the orders, I don’t know how you find the time to actually ride your bicycles.

    Well, at the very least we can sport one of those killer hairdo’s! The permed look never goes out of style IMO.

    and a definite yes on the last part. frank and co = total legends

  10. Frank, Whats the sizing in comparison to Louis Garneu’s high end stuff. IDK if you have ever worn Louis stuff but if you could relate the Castelli to it, it could help me determine my size.

  11. @MrBigCog
    I haven’t ridden LG in a while; anyone else have a comparison available? I remember the stuff that we rode when LG provided the kit for Grand Performance was pretty snug as well. If anything, the Castelli is similar but possible even snugger. But that’s a guess; I’d love to see someone who knows what they’re talking about pitch in on that.

  12. @Ron
    I never knew Jen Gray had an appearance as a Giro podium girl. I wonder if she is Franco Pellizoti’s big sister?

  13. MrBigCog, I concur with Frank that the Castelli kit is ‘even snugger’. I typically take small in clothing. I recently received V-Kit jersey and shorts in size ‘small’, but they are too small for me. I am a slim 5’9″. I noted elsewhere that you are 5’6″ – so I guess small will be right for you. I am happy to send you my packaged / unused small V-Kit to try, and if it fits you can pay me for it. I will be ordering a medium set in the next V-Kit order, so obviously I would like to cash in on my ‘too small’ kit while ensuring it goes to someone that appreciates what the kit means.

  14. @frank
    I lived right down the hill from grand in the west end and never once saw that shop. then again in those days I was just trying to make it to the next day of work, riding a bike was not even possible. to bad really cause I was at a good climbers weight back then.

  15. Ron:
    I don’t know how you find the time to actually ride your bicycles.

    The secret is that Frank doesn’t ride – he actually hasn’t been able to get out of his house for the past five years.

    The photo of someone climbing Haleakala? That’s a Cyclops Photoshop special.

  16. @mcsqueak
    Exactly. ‘Clops just photoshopped some footage of Hope of a Nation that Gianni’s VMH caught on the slopes of Haleathatthingsafucker.

    (Note: I know exactly where that photo was taken and even from that photo I can tell he doesn’t hurt nearly enough. Asshole. On the plus side, he’s got a Strackian drop to his saddle. And I continue to love the Spinal Tap Black kit.)

  17. Frank – I’ve watched this site grow and grow. The community built around it, the wise ass funny comments, the great stories, the look, the kit – all pretty freakin’ cool.

    Awesome job dude. Super well done.

  18. @Dan O
    AAAA++++++ Damn straight. Absolutely. Spot on. Could not agree more. Hell yeah. True that. Nailed it. Fcukin A. Yes. That. Exactly.

  19. Was that a bit too much, do you think? Didn’t want to give the impression of damning with faint praise.

  20. @frank

    Some big rides are being planned for later in the year and I’ve nothing that looks at all pro apart from some rather fine Cervelo gear but that’s best suited to the heat and humidity of my summer training camps than the dark depths of a British winter.

    The V-kit long sleeved jersey looks to be just the thing but a couple of questions first; do you pay import duty at your end that is built into the price? is it possible to get them shipped direct from Castelli to European addresses? I’ve brought things from the states before and Her Majesties Customs and Excise allways like to get in on the act and slap some import duties on to ensure that any value for money that I might have got is wiped out. I’m pretty sure that would not apply for kit comming from the EU. Cheers, Chris

  21. @frank

    Since this thread is seeing some action today, I thought I would ask here: if we send an email to the “we” referenced in the note on the home page regarding questions surrounding our recently arrived V-Kit orders, should we expect a response to said email? I’ve been waiting for one for over a week now. Maybe it’s in a spam folder?

  22. Hey Frank…just checking in to see if you had any XL LS jerseys come back from the order a few months ago. I sent ya my LG one and am wondering if / when I can get the XL one from ya..cheers

  23. @caviarboy
    As per drsoul’s comment above, I have sent a few emails as well over the past couple of weeks and have not heard back…? Must be the spam folder…

  24. @Chris, @drsoul, @caviarboy
    Hey guys – thanks for reaching out. We definitely try to respond to all the emails we get…I’ll go dig around in the ol’ spam folder. Very sorry about that, for sure. On the other hand we do get a bit of email and things do get missed occasionally.

    (just checked your email address) – I actually did respond to you, as I did see your email. Maybe my response is in your spam folder? In any case, I do have an XL LS with your name on it. If it’s not already in the mail, it will be shortly.

    (just searched all my archives etc) – I can’t find any trace of any email from the address you’re using to post here. Please go ahead and resend your query and I’ll try my best to respond ASAP.

    I responded to your email about a week ago…did you get my response? We do our best on our end to eliminate as many import duties as possible, but alas it’s not possible to split out the shipments and have items get shipped directly from the factory. As far as I know, no one has been stuck with in import duty yet on anything that’s been shipped to the UK, Oz, NZ, SIngapore, or Japan.

  25. Thanks Frank..I checked my inbox but didn’t see anything..weird..oh well, no worries. Thanks for getting back to me and I’m looking forward to the new jersey…cheers!

  26. Ah.. Just received confirmation from PayPal on my order for a V-Kit :)

    Now just the sweet anticipation of the delivery of the kit, surprise and delight , as the saying goes.


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