Made By Hand in Eugene, Oregon
Two Generations of Passion for Personal Liberation in Our Modern World
It all began in the chilly plains of North Dakota where co-founder Alan Scholz started cycling to get a Boy Scout merit badge. He fell in love with cycling, the adventure, the personal freedom, the feel of his own human power to fly across the plains one pedal stroke after another. His passion led him to start his first bike shop at age 18 in his parents basement. Younger brother Hanz, showing early mechanical genius, was kept busy by helping work on bikes and teasing the dog.
Later moving to Eugene, Oregon, Alan started Burley Design Co-operative in 1977. Alan designed the, now world-famous, Burley Child Trailer to carry his two young daughters Hanna and Fraeda.
In 1985, Alan’s brother Hanz Scholz took a trip to Europe with an inexpensive (then state-of-the-art) folding bike. He came back “with a sore butt” and vowed to invent a high quality travel bicycle of his own. The two brothers joined forces and thus began Bike Friday.
Alan attributes Bike Friday’s resilience (still going strong after nearly 25 years) to the personal nature of the way we do business – forming a one-on-one relationship with each customer; the custom nature of the bikes; and intrepid nature of cycle tourists in general.
“We believe so strongly in matching a person to their very personal machine – their bike – that our whole organization runs backward from most manufacturing. Our design process starts at the customer instead of ending with the customer simply buying the results.”
The vision of the company isn’t just simply to build bikes, but to create a more sustainable and just planet with tools for a cycling lifestyle. Back in 1995 Bike Friday built the Family Tandem, the affordable, kid-friendly travel tandem that got big and little riders pedaling in unison all over the world. This bike initiated many programs for disabled children, including the Adapted Physical Education Project at Wayland Public School, MA., and the Tandem program at the L.A. Braille Institute.
So what about the future?
Hanna Scholz, Alan’s daughter, has assumed leadership of the company and is excited to boldly lead it forward, “As the second generation I am passionate about using the experience and wisdom from my father’s 25 years of customer focused bike innovation, to create what the next generation needs to live an active mobile lifestyle. Inspired by the unmatched efficiency and elegant impact that a human on a bike has for the world community, I want to make our world a more beautiful place one personalized, versatile, bike at a time.”
I just talked with a lady at our lake who was riding a 27 speed Bike Friday. That is what I want.
I like your idea of an electrical assist, with your assistance. Do you sell the 27 speed bike?
Hi Steve, thanks for reaching out! We definitely sell 27 speed bicycles and we’ve got some great options for e-assist as well. We’ll have one of our design experts get in touch with you to provide you with more details and to be a resource for any additional questions you have!
I am a senior looking for a tricycle I can use. Because of a car accident, I need a semi- recumbent sitting position where the pedals are not below the regular seated position, but more in the front so my knees don’t have to go above a certain level. I’m thinking this will have to be custom made. Do you make any tricycles like this or can you custom make them?
“Custom” means different things to different people, but for us, it does not mean we build anything imaginable. We like to think ourselves as a mass customizer, meaning that we provide a huge array of custom options for the basic frame models we already provide. If you look through our lineup, you will find we don’t provide any tricycles at all. I know WizWheels in Michigan has what I think you’re looking for. Might want to check with them. If they don’t have the right solution, I’m sure they can better point you at someone who does. Best of luck!