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A-Team Profile — Stella Yu

Published May 6, 2008

NAME: Stella Yu
COMPANY: Velo
TITLE: General Manager
AGE: 60

It’s tough enough to succeed in the bicycle business. It’s even tougher to succeed as a woman.

Stella Yu is one tough woman, and she has succeeded splendidly with Velo, the bicycle saddle maker. From its beginnings in February 1979, Velo has mushroomed into a $48 million company with 2,000 employees. From factories in Taiwan and the Shenzhen and Shanghai areas of mainland China, Velo turns out grips and handlebar tape alongside saddles. factories in Taiwan as well as Shenzhen and Shanghai areas of mainland China. Velo recently launched the Prologo saddle line, which are designed and marketed in Italy.

Yu, who is single, has spent a career in the bicycle industry. Her first job in 1968 was with a bicycle manufacturer, and her second job, in 1971, was with a trading company for the bicycle industry.

When she decided to branch out on her own, she naturally thought of staying in the bicycle industry.

“At that time, I think making bicycle saddles are the most suitable job for female[s]. Therefore, I started to make bicycle saddles,” Yu said.

In an earlier interview with Bicycle Retailer, she said her gender was a plus because other men in the industry were more willing to help her. From the start, Yu decided that Velo would focus on comfort.

“Many riders complained about the pain in the ass when riding their bicycles. So Velo decided to produce the most comfortable saddles to ease their pain,” she said.

The Tour de Taiwan motivated Yu to scale back her workaholic schedule and begin training. She rides nearly 20 miles early every weekday morning and at least 60 miles on Sundays. Although riding has helped her develop a new shape for a women’s saddle and a chamois for cycling shorts, Yu is most proud of the fact that she has lost 12 pounds.

—Doug McClellan

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