SALT LAKE CITY (BRAIN) — Ross Evans and his dad, Art, are at Outdoor Retailer's Summer Market to keep the utility side of cycling front and center as retailers stream past their booth outside the Salt Palace.
Evans, the founder and CEO of Xtracycle, has been coming to Outdoor Retailer since 2001 selling the outdoor market on the utility of his cargo bike designs—a bike users can strap a surf board, standup paddle board, skis, snowboards and assorted other gear on to and pedal to another adventure.
"This show is awesome," said Evans, whose dad joined him at the show. "The people here are great, they're active and they are less attached to the idea of what a bicycle should be," he said. "They are more open minded and less interested in whether it's made of carbon fiber or whatever,' Evans added.
Evans, with offices in Oakland, California, has a dozen or so bikes on hand that show attendees can borrow to lug gear to and from the show or borrow for a lunchtime spin. He also has several of his 2014 Edgerunner electric bikes powered by the BionX hub motor system. And, by the time he leaves, Evans said most will have been bought by showgoers.
Two Salt Lake retailers, Beehive Bicycles and Saturday Cycles, each Xtracycle dealers, also brought a few from their inventory to boost the number of bikes available.
Evans, 39, grew up in a family that believed in community service, driven in part by their faith. And that has inspired Evans to look at his products from the standpoint of how they can enhance communities.
That aspect of service has taken Evans to Nicaragua, Kenya and South Africa where he has tried to enhance the local cycling culture.
In 1999 Evans, who graduated from Stanford University's engineering program, brought out his FreeRadical cargo bike conversion kit. He now offers a full line of cargo bikes ranging from the Edgerunner Electric to folding bikes and accessories that can transport kids as well as cargo. Besides cargo, the bikes are ideal of hauling kids to school or to the store.
Evans said there is a rise in interest in the category as more shops—both bicycle and outdoor retailers—are stocking what had been an esoteric category. "I think the world is waking up to that," he said. But, he admits, it's difficult for retailers—particularly bicycle retailers—to look beyond their entrenched business models.