SSC Tour: Inside the Mavic “La Maison Jaune”
You’ve seen them. The yellow chase vehicles and motorcycles carrying neutral support in the form of Mavic wheels have become a regular fixture in professional cycling. Since 1973 Mavic has been supporting professional cycling through their SSC (Special Service Course) after Mavic Chairman Bruno Gormand simply let someone borrow his car. That someone was a team manager during the 1972 Criterium du Dauphine Libere whose car had broken down. The loaner from Bruno meant he could finish the race, and the concept of neutral support was born. The following year the first yellow car was seen just ahead of the peloton during Paris-Nice, offering support to members of the breakaway.
Now, the Mavic SSC is expanding yet again with the introduction of the La Maison Jaune in Newbury Park, California. Serving as a home base for the American neutral support and as an event space for Mavic and their dealers, the Yellow House is the latest installment in a long history of cycling support.
Divided into two main sections, the front half of the building is all about Mavic product both past and present. Similar to other manufacturers, Mavic plans to use the space to host sales and education events for their dealers, as well as exposing them to all of the latest products in a distinctively yellow setting. Ever wonder why Mavic is all about black and yellow? In the days of black and white TV, black and yellow offered the strongest contrast between colors.
Visitors to the La Maison Jaune will get a chance to see a few of the iconic products in Mavic’s long history like Greg Lemond’s TVT carbon bike from the 1989 Tour de France (more on that soon). In addition to copious amounts of yellow, the rooms are plastered in breathtaking murals of famous cycling landmarks like the summit of Mount Ventoux.
No Special Service Course is complete without coffee, and the bar complete with 10 speed Coffee didn’t disappoint.
Behind the yellow partition is as they say, where the magic happens.
Back here you’ll find a fully equipped bike shop stocked with neutral support bikes, loaner bikes, and a ton of wheels. During events, the space will serve as a showroom and ride center as it was for the 125th Anniversary Bike presentation. If you’re looking to store a lot of bikes in a small space, look no further than Mavic’s wall mounted solution.
Space saving is critical due to the fact that when the Yellow House isn’t hosting an event it is effectively a garage for the SSC Vehicles. Once the trailer and the support motos are inside the building, things get pretty tight. However, the location for La Maison Jaune is perfectly located among the cycling industry in California and with awesome road and mountain bike riding just out the front door. Look for Mavic neutral support here in the US at the upcoming USA Pro Challenge.