Creating a Cycling Family

People Will Always Need a Bicycle.

In Uncategorized on November 22, 2008 at 2:20 AM
Xtra Cycles are rad!!

Xtra Cycles are rad!!

By Darren Ohl, Service Manager-Hutch’s Eugene
“People will always need a bicycle… This business is recession proof.”
Howard Larlee owns probably one of the most successful bicycle shops in the country, Orange Cycle. I spent the last five years working for him in Orlando, FL. Howard would often make that commentary about selling bicycles. In Howard I found a lot of simple iterations that seemed to describe so well the state of the world and life in general. I learned to listen when he had commentary like this. Howard is a tall slender man, white and gray hair, glasses. He has a keen intellect for business and the people involved. His wife once told me that he could have just as easily been a diplomat. Instead he opened a bicycle shop.

Five months ago my girlfriend and I packed our belongings into her car and drove across the country. She is here attending Grad school at the U of O. I’m here working at Hutch’s.

The thing I find most fascinating is that I seem to find people like Howard wherever I go in the bicycle industry. My previous boss before Howard was Dave Olson of Erik’s Bike Shop of Minneapolis, MN. From Dave I learned that I could do whatever I want in the bike industry as long as I’m not afraid to work for it. Now I work with Len at Hutch’s and the lesson so far: don’t be afraid to believe in myself.

Home, Sweet, Home

Home, Sweet, Home

I have worked in the bike industry for some time now. I’ve worshiped it even longer. So I tend to see things in those terms. I sometimes find myself looking at the world with those eyes. I’ve worked for two very big names in the bicycle industry and learned a great deal from each of them.

When my girlfriend and I decided we were going to pack our car and drive west I scoured the web for a bike shop that had some of the traits I liked: selling Specialized products, and also a shop with a little bit more of a history. When I found Collin’s and then Hutch’s I decided this was the place for me. 75 years in the bicycle business has definitely created a rich history for this bike shop. I also liked the products that Hutch’s sold and I really liked the work atmosphere. It seemed like a perfect fit for how I like to work.

A bike for all season's.

A bike for all seasons

My favorite new fascination is Xtra Cycle. Hutch’s has recently become a dealer and we just ordered a bunch of their stuff including their complete bike called the Radish. We also plan to build a Surly Big Dummy (Surly’s complete bicycle implementing the Xtra Cycle add on) as well. We’ve been working on and installing special order Xtra Cycle Product for some time but now we’ll be able to maintain a regular stock and let people have a little more choices available immediately.

Why so fascinated with this kind of bicycle? Because I think that now more than ever people will want and need this type of bicycle. Especially in Eugene. As jobs continue to evaporate the expenses of other transportation methods become a little further out of reach for some people. The bicycle however will always be (and has always been) a part of each American’s daily lives.
I think Howard is right. Whether it’s Paul’s or Revolution or Lifecycle or Bike Barn or Hutch’s or Collins (I clearly prefer the latter two) I think now more than ever that we’ll all turn to cycling and find that just as it always has been, it will be the quiet savior for our community and people will always need a bicycle.


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