February 25, 2015
This post is part of a series spotlighting Adventure Cycling's Corporate Members. These companies support our mission and programs and do some cool stuff of their own. For this post, Corporate Member, The Bike Concierge, shares with us a bit about their company and why they support Adventure Cycling Association.
Tell us a little bit about your company and its history.
Thom and Shelley Batty started The Bike Concierge because they love bikes and their local community and wanted to make both those things accessible to people coming to visit Oregon and Southwest Washington.
Shelley is typically a timid rider who isn’t always confident but always willing to try. She loves to help people discover how fun it can be to reach the top of the next hill on their own two wheels. She is great with beginners and people who see the bike as a great way to see everything while taking the world at a slower pace.
Thom is the bike geek. He has a bike mechanic certification from UBI and a stable of fun toys that prove the optimum number of bikes for any one is N + 1. He loves old steel frames and modern fat tire bikes. He tried and doesn’t much like road racing but does race cyclocross, mountain bikes, gravel grinders and did the Tour Divide 2013. There isn’t a gravel road or an out of the way summit that he isn’t willing to find a way to traverse on a bike, and believes that Hemmingway had it exactly right: “It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.”
Together they have done Cycle Oregon, Seattle-To-Portland and numerous local centuries and group rides. You can usually spot them together on “Barney, the Purple Tandem” or separately with Thom in the middle of the pack (or stopped to help someone along the way) and Shelley plugging along at the rear encouraging the slower riders. They love bike touring for a day, a week or more and can give you as much or as little advice and help as you need.
As The Bike Concierge, they can help you find the perfect bike and the perfect route to make your vacation exactly the adventure you always dreamed it would be.
What services or products do you provide for bicycle tourists?
Removing barriers to bike tourism is a pretty good description of our business. We specialize facilitating bike tourism and small group tours in Oregon and Western Washington. When traveling to the area, ship your bike to us and we can assemble the bike, pick you up at the airport or train station and drop you at your starting point. At the end of your tour, we reverse the process and ship your bike back to your home or favorite local bike shop. We also have rentals if you would rather tour on our bike.
Our custom small group tours can be as basic as dropping you off and picking you up or full SAG support with or without an on-the-bike guide. Thom and I ride road, gravel and mountain bikes so we can set up a tour focusing on any and all of those disciplines. Our guides are all experienced cyclists, accomplished mechanics and know the areas where they lead rides. We design each tour around the specifications of the participants, self-supported camping to luxury accommodations and catered meals along the route. We do day trips to local wineries, breweries, Mt. Hood and the Gorge.
We also provide “emergency rescue.” If you are touring in the area and something goes wrong, call us. We will come to the rescue. We can either bring you and your bike back to where you need to be or bring you a fresh bike to get you back on the road.
Why do you support Adventure Cycling through corporate membership?
As a new business we are looking for ways to reach the people we want to serve, and Adventure Cycling Association is a perfect fit. We share the common goal of wanting to help more people find ways to discover the country on a bicycle. “Removing Barriers to Bike Tourism” is our tagline, and we feel it meshes well with Adventure Cycling’s mission of inspiring and empowering people to travel by bicycle.
What are your favorite things going on in cycling right now?
Mixed terrain touring, gravel roads, bike packing, fat bikes, and seeing more families on bikes. We are in Oregon where bikes seem to be everywhere and everyone is beginning to realize that this is the future of tourism in our area. You see so much more and there really are no limits to where you can go on two wheels.
Where would you like to see cycling in America in 5 years?
The pie in the sky answer is “Amsterdam” but realistically, we want the fallacy of cars vs. bikes to be replaced with the reality that we are all people and all the modes of transportation have a place on the road.
What is your favorite service or program that Adventure Cycling offers?
MAPS!!! We are map junkies and navigation specialists and Adventure Cycling maps are awesome.
If your headquarters staff could relocate to any place in the world, where would they choose?
We did that when we started The Bike Concierge. If you are going to ride a bike in the U.S., this is the place to be. We are less than 10 miles from the heart of Portland and at the perfect jumping off point for all sorts of on and off road cycling adventures. Oregon City is a jewel of history and scenery as well as a true community. The entire area is committed to making cyclists feel welcome. They have embraced us with open arms.
As your company grows, have you had mainly tailwinds, headwinds or crosswinds? Explain.
Tailwinds so far. The staff members at our local and state tourism bureaus know the value of bicycle tourism and have been incredibly supportive. More importantly, they have become our friends as they help us develop The Bike Concierge in to a viable tourism partner and not just another bike business.
Has any of your staff ridden Adventure Cycling’s mapped routes? If so, which ones?
Yes, Thom has ridden the Great Divide Mountain Bike route (and Shelley would love to try it at a slower pace) and one of our guides, Nate, has ridden the Idaho Hot Springs Route. We have a list of others we really want to try.
What do you like best about Adventure Cyclist magazine?
We like the first person travel stories. Hearing about where other people have ridden their bikes give us ideas, both for our own bucket list and of what we can do to facilitate those sorts of rides in our region. As a bike and gear geek, I also enjoy the bike and product reviews.
What cycling related benefits do you offer your staff?
Access to our rental fleet so they can try out different styles of bikes, and shop space with tools to work on their own bikes. We also use the vans for “friend trips” and shuttles when not in use with a group. They get to ride their bikes and show others their favorite rides while getting paid for it. Most of staff are ride buddies who take time from their regular jobs to guide on to their favorite spots. They are really in love with cycling and the places they show our clients.
Is there anything else about your company that you really want to share with our readers?
When Thom came home from Tour Divide in 2013, the first thing he said was that life was too short to sit behind a desk all day. He had to find a way to spend his days on his bike or at least hanging out with cyclists. The Bike Concierge is the result of that belief that life is too short not to spend it on a bike.
Photos by Thomas Batty
MEMBERSHIP HIGHLIGHTS is posted every other Wednesday by the membership team — Julie, Josh, and Brian — spotlighting the various benefits of membership, our accomplishments thanks to member support, and interviews with some of our most passionate and dedicated members, both individual and organizational.