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EveryBODY eBikes is a very special bike shop that is dedicated to inclusive cycling.  The family-owned business is run by Andrea and Richard Herklots. They are based in Lutwyche, Brisbane, but the EveryBODY eBikes team regularly tours Australia with its range of e-bikes and trikes that can be customised for people with diverse mobility needs. 

Richard and Andrea Herklots testing adapted e-trikes from the EveryBODY eBikes range on the Northern Rivers Rail Trail (Image: EveryBODY eBikes)

Bicycle NSW was very keen to learn more about this innovative, world-leading Australian bike business making products that change people’s lives.

So our content writer, Monique Ewen, recently caught up with Andrea over Zoom. 

Quit your day job and do what you love

Andrea is working from home. The bike shop is shut on Mondays, so she sits on the veranda of her weatherboard house in bright funky spectacles and with a warm smile. There’s a gentle calmness about her that makes it easy to see why her customers give her such warm reviews online

We get talking and Andrea tells me the story of how she and her husband started EveryBODY eBikes. 

At the end of 2019, they both quit their jobs to buy a local bike shop. They were motivated to promote sustainable transport options to a greater variety of people. 

“Neither of us had worked in retail,” Andrea tells me. “Richard is an engineer and I was a spatial analyst for thirty years. He rides road bikes. He’s light, good at hills and loves riding fast - and I'm not any of those things. So we wondered, how do we get people like me to actually ride a bike? And we thought, e-bikes are the solution.”

Diversifying mobility options with a uniquely tailored bike

In the following months, the business faced the ups and downs of Covid-19 lockdowns. By chance, the shop was opposite the Cerebral Palsy Alliance. As people looked for alternative ways to get around during lockdown, CPA participants and therapists began to come into the shop, asking about options for people who couldn’t ride a standard bike. 

Richard and Andrea started exploring alternatives – with a focus on bikes with three wheels. Over the next five years, they went from selling around two percent trikes to seventy percent. 

They now have the biggest range of trikes in Australia 

A lot of different e-trikes! The display of stock in the EveryBODY eBikes Brisbane showroom
(Image: EveryBODY eBikes)

When I ask who her primary customer base is, Andrea laughs and says, “Not many hipsters come to our bike shop. Although we would love them to!” The business caters mostly to women, disabled and older riders.

“The best thing is getting older people riding again, coming back after thirty years of not riding,” says Andrea.  “Or getting people that can’t ride a standard bike to have the opportunity to have that freedom - the wind in your hair, that sensation of being able to get out in the community.”

It is evident that the business is underpinned by a calm but firm commitment to inclusion. “Over 70% of our customer base is female,” she says. “Because we don’t man-splain to them. Whether they are two-wheel or three-wheel riders, we don’t assume that they need everything explained. But if they do want an explanation of the benefits of different features, we do it in plain English and we don’t judge. A lot of older riders come to us who have been dismissed or ignored in other shops.”

Complex customisation to allow for truly inclusive cycling

There are many factors to consider when providing bikes for diverse riders. One that is easy for able-bodied riders to overlook is: ‘How is this person actually going to get on and stay on the bike?’ It can be complicated. 

“An able-bodied person can just step over the frame and sit down,” Andrea says. “But for somebody who doesn’t have that physicality, then you’ve got to look at the risks for the carer, moving someone on and off. We have got customers who use hoists, for example. But most of our customers can either sit down on a seat, swivel around, and be helped to lift their legs over the frame, or use something like a slide-board to move across from the wheelchair to the bike using their upper body.”

Providing a tailored service has many challenges

Andrea stresses the importance of a truly tailored approach: “We do a lot of work with people who have one-sided weakness,” she says. “It might be through Parkinsons or a stroke - so a neurological condition - or it might be through conditions such as cerebral palsy. They present in such different ways. You really need to see someone and see their hand function, see how their legs move and then adjust the solution to meet the needs of the individual.”

Unloading a collection of trikes from the van and trailer during a road trip to New South Wales (Image: EveryBODY eBikes)

Providing such an individual bike service is far from easy, but Andrea and Richard rise to the challenge. Last year they did 65,000km on the road with a van full of bikes, visiting customers all around Australia to get their set up just right. And they are gearing up to do it again this May and June. 

Keep an eye on Facebook for dates and locations! Or send an enquiry here to make an appointment in the Sydney area in the week starting 17th June. 

World-leading products, born in Queensland

With his engineering background, Richard has developed a number of world-first products, The amazing Lightning e-bike is for short-statured riders, specifically those with short-limbed Acondroplasia.

This is happy customer Jacob with his new Lightning. Could that smile be any broader?
(Image: EveryBODY eBikes)

“Richard is very innovative,” Andrea says in a matter-of-fact way. “He has a very agile brain, he can visualise the solutions and loves a challenge.” She laughs as she tells me how difficult it is to get him to say ‘no’ to a project. 

Independence, freedom, fun and lives filled with new promise

Andrea can tell countless heart-warming and inspiring stories about the people that she and Richard have helped. Some can’t walk much on their own but, with a modified bike, they can ride long distances independently. 

Merle, having lost both legs and most of her fingers to an infection, felt that she had lost her identity. “When we spoke to her about getting an electric tricycle, she felt that it filled her life with promise again,” Andrea recalls.

EveryBODY eBikes was the only business Merle could find in Australia that would build her a bike she could ride without experiencing pain. After her first ride – and a few tears – Merle said the freedom of movement it had given her had “blown her mind." (Image: ABC News/Dea Clark)

Meg, an allied health professional in New South Wales, has been living with MS for over twenty years and has always been obsessed with cycling. Her whole social network is about being active. But when her condition worsened three years ago, she switched from a standard bike to a small folding electric bike with a stabiliser system. But she hated it. So she phoned Andrea at the shop, saying, “I’ve got to give up something that’s been a fundamental part of my life.” 

Andrea told her, “We’re coming past in three weeks, just hold your horses, don’t write it off. We are going to bring something down for you to try.” They got her riding a semi-recumbent trike, customised to suit her particular needs. Now she is riding again nearly every day. Andrea says, “She’s regained all of the social interactions that she was starting to lose. She can do everything she used to do just with power assist and a different model.” 

Tanya lives in rural NSW. She has chronic back pain and, as her condition worsened, felt that she had to give up being active. She’d had a very athletic youth as a soccer player and then a soccer ref. She estimated that 60 to 70% of her social network were sporting people. When her condition changed, she lost three quarters of her friendship group. 

Tanya with her BF Trident semi-recumbent (or sit-down) electric tricycle with front hub-drive. “We got her a bike, we got her comfortable on the bike, and adapted it for her,” says Andrea. “She now can put her bowling balls in the back of the bike and ride to do bowls. She can ride to the golf course. She can ride to the shops. She can do all the things that she used to do.” (Image: EveryBODY eBikes)

Ethan, an eight-year-old in Queensland with spina bifida who normally mobilises in a wheelchair, told Andrea, “I’ve never won a race, I’ve never been able to beat my cousins in a race, I just want to keep up with everyone else.” 

EveryBODY eBIKES set him up with a folding two-wheel bike with stabilisers and power-assist. He rode about ten kilometres in the park when they delivered the bike, saying “I’m free, this is the best thing in my whole life!”

The power of bikes to bring community together

Andrea says, “We talk about freedom and independence and having fun.” But she stresses it’s also about connectedness: “The difference when you’re riding your bike in the community is that people talk to you, you feel part of the neighbourhood.” 

That is so different to sitting in a car or being stuck at home!

Before you go….

We hope you enjoyed this article. For more articles about inclusive bike riding, head here

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