I had the opportunity to spend some time with Bike-On Founder, and my good friend Scott Pellett at Recumbent Cycle Convention near Cincinnati this weekend. Scott was in my home state of Ohio debuting his new company, Spinov8 Distribution Company.
Scott has been building the framework for Spinov8 for the past couple of years – visit Spinov8.net. He’s real excited for the future of adaptive cycling and has the formula to bring the experience to all of us. Scott spends a lot of time guiding and directing Bike-On and doesn’t seek the spotlight, but when cornered, like I did this weekend, it’s clear that the success of
Bike-On and the certain success of Spinov8 is the result of his clear vision and passion. I feel the best way to tell the story is through an interview.
Before I get to Spinov8 Scott, let’s talk a bit about your background and about Bike-On, I think our customers would be interested, tell us about about your history, life before Bike-On.
“Well John, one of the things I like to share with folks, particularly newly injured friends is that I was injured as a teenager, 45 years ago. It was a teenage prank gone wrong. I was 15 years old, it was 1971. I survived an electrical shock and fall resulting in a complete SCI at T8/9. I like to share my story with people I meet so that they see a future that can be bright, healthy and active.”
You’re married to Lynn and you have a son Dan. Tell us about your family life and your history with family businesses.
“Lynn and I met on my 24th birthday, my best present ever, and my very best friend!! We were married in 82′, had a very humble beginning but have worked hard together ever since. In the 80’s we’re very involved in the fitness industry. We owned and operated a fitness center and an aerobics studio and partnered in a nutritional supplement distribution business. I was also very active with wheelchair basketball at the time, I played for nearly 20 years.”
“Some health issues of mine caused us to sell our interest in these businesses and for several years following we did the 9-5 routine. Mysef in finance and Lynn as a Physical Therapist Assistant. Dan was born in 88 and we were excited to have a family.”
How did Bike-On come to life?
“Dan was 10 years old at the time and playing sports. We were active, but I found myself looking for something athletic. I got a handcycle, a Quickie Mach 3 and started riding. I’d share my first riding experiences with Lynn and Dan and before we new it we were all riding 2-300 miles a month together as a family. I felt like I had found new life!”
“Having an entrepreneurial spirit and a strong family I suggested we start a new business and Bike-On was born. At first we thought it would be a part time hobby business, but soon enough I had left my job and then Lynn left hers. Now Dan and 5 other full time shop staff and 8 satélite sales reps round out our team. We feel that our team is the very best in the business. We all have a shared passion for adaptive cycling and now have a combined 100+ years of shared knowledge base.”
So what caused you to consider a new business with Spinov8?
“As Bike-On grew, we became the clear leader in adaptive cycling. Over the years I’d see evolving growth and recognize that adaptive cycling in general had some critical mass. During the past 5 years or so, I saw a shift for Bike-On too. Although we sell around the world, I saw us doing more local sales. I recognized the great potential and realized that if our market in Rhode Island and New England was strong that there would be similar potential around the country. I recognized that Bike-On had amassed incredible expertise in the field and that we had an opportunity to share it.”
“Read the entire interview on the Spinov8 facebook page, and PLEASE LIKE OUR PAGE.”
So what’s the goal of Spinov8?
“Spinov8 is a distribution company. Our goal is to amass a distribution base of products from exceptional manufacturers and bring those products to a dealer network across the country. We inventory most of the brands in our Rhode Island warehouse and spend a good deal of time in support of our dealer network so that they become our experts too. We feel it is time for the adaptive cycling consumer to have an opportunity for a local trial, and expert advice.”
I see that this weekend you are showing the VanRaam brand from the Netherlands and Tri-Vel pediatric trike brand from Montreal Canada. How have these lines been received here are Recumbent Cycle-Con, have you signed up some dealers?
“We sure have John. We’ve gotten a remarkable reception here. We’ve been able to spend time with some great recumbent manufacturing partners and have signed up several dealers. We were confident about this trip as we knew that the Recumbent Dealers would be a great partner for us. Recumbent shops already are into adaptive cycling, they regularly work with disabled cyclists and they have the right mindset. They’re naturally “out of the box”, they are tinkerers and inquisitive problem solvers. We’ve found a great partnership here, one that will add value to and benefit the local consumer.”
Don’t you see this hurting Bike-On in the long run?
“No, not at all. The adaptive cycling market is very big. Bigger than we all recognize at this point. Building local partnerships will grow the market by making it more locally available. As I mentioned earlier, Bike-On is already experiencing good growth in our local market.”
What brands are you carrying now?
“We’re delighted to represent some great international and domestic brands. VanRaam is a Dutch company who has been building trikes for more than 100 years. They’re a true European manufacturer who take measured careful steps forward. Lynn and I visited their factory in 2015 and they visited us this summer before they committed to us. They were interested in seeing our operation, meeting our staff and understanding our passion. We’ve got a wonderful partner in VanRaam.”
I see you offer Greenspeed trikes too?
“We’ve been selling Greenspeed Trikes at Bike-On for nearly 20 years. I reached out to my friends Ian Simms, Founder of Greenspeed and Jerome Hediger. I pitched our plan and promised more doors for their product lineup.”
Tri-Vel has a strong presence for you too, why did you choose Tri-Vel?
“We like the Tri-Vel brand, we like the management philosophy. In the adaptive market we sometimes find ourselves competing with the manufacturer for sales. This is not the case with Tri-Vel. They are committed to our distribution channel in full support of dealers. They recognize the value of dealer support and the value of dealers demonstrating their trikes. Tri-Vel offers what we’ve coined as “2 bikes for life”. Their trikes are modular in design, so options like headrests, lateral supports, 5-point chest harness, and adaptive pedals can be added and taken off the trikes quite easily, depending on the child’s needs. In addition the trikes grow quite nicely with the child. The T250 model fits a child from 5-12 years old then they graduate to a T350 and ride into adulthood.”
I see you have training wheels too.
“Yes, we’re the USA distributor for EZ Trainer
Training wheels. This is a very robust, sturdy set with 12″ wheels and suspension, very nice. Sometimes it’s all that is need for an adult with balance issues to get out riding.”
Will you have mobility products that are not trikes?
We’ve proud to represent some up some great Recreational Mobility Products which are real exciting, and fun to use.
Sure, we’ve got Freedom Trax on board, it’s an exciting new product that allows a wheelchair user to get into and over rough terrain.
We’re also working with some very cool European Companies that are producing seats for Segways. We’re first-in, bringing these personal transporters to the USA market. Also in the e-bike market we’ve got some very affordable scooter attachments for wheelchairs. These are very popular, and we’ve searched out and are offering a very affordable option.
Finally, we’re offering Maddiline handcycles. Some of our dealers are looking for a high-end elite handcycle, something that can be offered to the veteran market.
So Scott, you’ve been such an advocate for Top End over the years. They’re not offered in the Spinov8 lineup?
“Well John, we would love to have Top End in our line up, believe me, I have pursued them and want them badly. I know we can build their business”
How does a manufacturer get involved with Spinov8
“We’ve been hearing from Manufacturers, and we’re reaching out too. We’re looking for segment leaders. We want to bring the best of the best to the local touch-points we’re establishing. An interested manufacturer should reach out to me. I want to share this concept with them, our plan resonates with them. They’ve found out long ago how hard it is to bring a niche product to the people who need and want it. Joining with other top manufactures on this platform will get their product in the hands of dealers who will demonstrate it to their local market – win, win, win!”
Will Spinov8 be making any fundamental changes to the current supply chain?
“We will John. Firstly, most of the products we carry will not be available through pure-play internet outlets. Some accessory items will be, but for most of our products we’ll require shops to have a showroom, repair and maintenance capabilities. It’s the only way to encourage that local touch point, and to give the consumer the best opportunity for trial, comparison, maintenance and repair. This will lead to a lifetime of cycling & recreational fun as well as referral business for the local dealer.”
Some potential dealers will be reading this, what should they know about working with Spinov8?
“We will support and guide our dealers John. As mentioned, we’re leveraging the knowledge we’ve amassed through our 20 years of Bike-On experience. We’ll support our product offering, we’ll help with special demo pricing and we’ll offer some unique dealer discounts. As well, we’ll show our dealers how to sell to the adaptive community. We’ll coach them on funding resources, financing plans and our Spinov8.net website will display all our dealers on a map so that consumers can find the nearest one. We’ll drive business to them.”
Anything else you’d like to share with our Bike-On supporter?
“It occurs to me that many of our Bike-On customers have relationships with their local bike shop. It could present an interesting partnership for them. Maybe their shop will become a Spinov8 dealer and they can become the local adaptive expert for them..food for thought”
Scott, I think those who read this interview will recognize a well thought out plan. I for one look forward to working with you to grow this partner company and know that it will have impact on our industry, like Bike-On has.
“Thanks John. I am excited for the future and feel we have a formula for success.”
For more info on Spinov8, please reach out to Scott at 401-996-5563 or by email at email@example.com