We love what we do here at Xtracycle. Transforming lives is our passion. Every employee here shares that passion and it makes for a great team. This week we want to share the story of our own Customer Happiness Advocate, Ashley. She is the first person you interact with when you call or email us and we couldn’t be more thrilled. She is rock star that takes your happiness seriously. She’d love to tell you her story of how she was introduced to cargo biking and how she became part of the Xtracycle family. We’ll let her tell you in her own words below:
- Tell us a little about yourself:
My name is Ashley I’m a 33 year lifelover living in Tallahassee, Florida (think hilly with pine trees Florida, not flat with beaches Florida). I can oftentimes be found exploring my local parks and trails by foot and by bike, bird watching, going on epic camping adventures through the American southwest, enjoying a good sci-fi novel or comic book with my kiddo, talking in my baby voice to one of my many rescued dogs or cats or hunting for fossils in sandy creek beds.
- How were you introduced to cargo bikes?
The first time I saw a cargo bike was when someone came to pick up a children’s rocking horse from my house using what I now know is an Xtracycle FreeRadical. I was amazed and immediately like “That’s cool but I will ne-ver be that person.” Talk about foreshadowing! A few years later, a friend of mine decided to replace her junker of a mini van with a cargo bike. At first, I thought she was so out there. How could you live in our city without a car? But the more and more I saw her around town biking with hr two kiddos, the more I started to think “That actually looks like fun. Maybe I could do that?”
- How did you learn about Xtracycle?
This friend of mine actually had an EdgeRunner 24D so it was my first introduction to the brand.
- What made you choose an Xtracycle for yourself?
When I first got into family biking, I really wanted to know this was not just one of my phases before I dropped some serious dough on a dedicated machine. So I go a purple thrift store road bike and a WeeHoo trailer and set out to bike to anywhere within 2 miles of my house. By the end of the first week, we were biking to places 7 miles out and I knew this wasn’t a fleeting fad but a new phase of my life. My friend let me test ride her Xtracycle and seeing how much easier and more efficient that bike set-up was over my bike and trailer, I started saving up for our very own EdgeRunner 24D.
- What do you love most about your Xtracycle EdgeRunner?
It’s so darn versatile! A big concern for me before getting my bike was “How many years of use do I have with this bike before I can’t use it anymore?” I didn’t find cargo bikes until my kiddo was 7 years old so I felt like I was coming to the game too late to get the most bang for my buck. It didn’t take me long to realize after getting my bike, that I was never going to outgrow this bike. While I initially got it to carry my kiddo, it became immediately obvious that this bike could be used for replacing most car trips. Sometimes my now 10 year old still rides with me, other times I’m carrying my dog, or doing service projects and hauling trash off local trails, or I’m carrying plants for the spring garden home from the nursery, or I’m loading up the kayak to paddle down by the river. I was initially concerned that my kid would “outgrow” our bike put the opposite has happened. Our family has “grown in” to this bike and it’s nearly endless possibilities.
- What is your role at Xtracycle?
My role here is the Xtracycle Customer Happiness Advocate. Wherever a person is on their cycling journey – be it they are a parent who doesn’t even own their own bike but they want to spend more time riding with their kiddos, a road cyclists looking for a stellar tour rig or kid hauler, or an experienced rider with bad knees looking to make their commute enjoyable again – I am here to offer support and encouragement in helping folks determine if an Xtracycle is the best bike for them. I also pitch in with various other things like blog posts, social media, and handling warranty claims, just to name a few.
- What’s your favorite part of interacting with Xtracycle clients?
Knowing that for many customers, that I was once in their shoes. “Am I doing the right thing? Can I really do this? Is it going to be as fun as I imagine it will be? Am I going to be able to use this bike for a while?” Being on the other side of that door and now able to encourage these folks and show them that, yes, you can make biking a part of your daily life, and yes, you can haul your kids / dogs / kayak / small business market cart / etc. Being on the inside looking out and able to tell these customer “You got this!” feels so good.
- What is the number 1 question you get from people about cargo bikes?
The same big question I had when I went to buy a cargo bike: “How long will I be able to use this bike?” In short: forever 😉
- Do you have any tricks and tips you can share from your own experience?
- Take the back roads. The Strava Heat Map is a great way to see what other back roads local cyclists use. https://www.strava.com/heatmap
- Pack plenty of snacks and water if riding with little ones.
- Consider getting a Bluetooth speaker so you can blast your favorite tunes or podcasts. I have an Outdoor Tech Turtle Shell 2.0 and use it with Spotify.
- Take the lane! Cycling Savvy has great tips on how to safely do this. https://cyclingsavvy.org/
- Challenge yourself – you’ll be so impressed to see what you are capable of!
- How has owning an Xtracycle EdgeRunner transformed your life?
I could write a novel in response to this question! I feel like my and my family’s life can now be measured in our “before we found bikes” time and our “after we found bikes” time. Before I got my bike and trailer, I didn’t even own a bike. I was using a car to go everywhere, including parks just a few miles from my house. I initially got into cargo biking as a way to bike with my kid places. It didn’t take long for me to really fall in love with cycling as a way to enrich my life. Taking the hidden backstreets with historic buildings and houses, stopping to eat ripe mulberries from a tree spotted on the way to the library, seeing a large flock of ibis fly overhead, spotting a hidden trail or pocket park. These are all little but priceless things I was missing when I relied on a car to get me from point A to point B. I also love knowing that I have disrupted the cycle of car dependency in my branch of our family tree. My parents were raised to rely on cars for transportation, I was raised to rely on cars for transportation, and then I was shown another way. My child is now being raised seeing that cars aren’t the only way to get places: our family now uses bikes and walking as our primary modes of transportation, with the option for our car when we need it. While my daughter still rides with me, she now has her own adult sized road bike and takes the lane with me on commutes often. Knowing that this is my child’s normal makes me feel really good as a parent!