This article was also a guest post on the Bicycles Create Change Blog, which is a very cool site detailing how bikes create positive social change. Check it out!
Bicycles have always been a major part of my life. As a youngster, my bike was a source of both fun and freedom. I’d spend hours jumping curbs and laying down big rubber scorching skids. It was only natural to go in search of fresh curbs to jump and streets to skid, so I began to explore well beyond my neighborhood, finding new friends and new adventure.
One of the great discoveries of early childhood was the three trail systems that I could pedal to. It inspired me to scratch and save for my first proper bike, a blue Schwinn Sidewinder. It stoked my passion for bikes and with it I also got my first taste of wrenching on a bike, learning basic maintenance and repair. As I neared driving age I remember telling my parents that I wanted to buy a Trek hardtail mountain bike, complete with a Rockshox fork no less! While they believed my interest in bikes would wane due to automobiles and girls, they reluctantly agreed to split the cost for my beloved anodized purple beauty. My Dad was interested in riding more so he began piloting the trusty blue Schwinn. He joined me often for dirt time in the woods. Those rides with my Dad are some of the best memories of my youth.
My Dad is a big inspiration for me and someone I’ve always looked up to. He was the best man when my wife and I were married. He is also one of the main reasons for pursuing my passion once again as I spin into mid-life. Angelo Chapman Harris III was a successful athlete and coach. Track and Field and Cross-Country running were his passion along with the students he taught for the 40+ years of his career, all spent at one high school! He was offered opportunities to advance his coaching career many times, offers for bigger programs and at the university level. I’m sure he pondered them all, but he always turned them down. I never understood why as a young man.
My Dad passed away three years ago this past September. Life can be a cruel lesson, but I finally figured out the “why”. My Dad knew where he wanted to be and what he wanted to do. He helped many people along the way. Passion is the fuel that drove him. As they say, you never work a day in your life when you do what you love. What a gift. I am trying to follow his lead. I want to always feel that satisfaction of being right where I’m supposed to be when I get ready for “work” in the mornings.
We fulfilled one of our family’s dreams when we moved to Maryville, Tennessee last Spring. As our lives became more bike-centric and we connected the greenways and neighborhood roads on our frequent excursions about town, the thoughts bouncing around in my head became too persistent to ignore any longer. I started doing some research and soon a plan was formed to fulfill another dream. We were going to open a bike shop. One that would be focused on family and fun and be the ultimate in convenience, a mobile bike shop, and Happy Bike Sales & Service, LLC was born.
Too many times traditional bike shops can be intimidating for those who just want to ride their bike and don't necessarily need or care for the latest and greatest. And frankly, sometimes it's just hard to find the time. I'm a father of two young girls and I know how hectic life can get for me and my wife. I value family time and many of our family’s best times involve bikes. I want that for my customer’s as well and I want to make it as easy as possible. Time is valuable, spend it riding bikes not figuring out the logistics of how to get to the bike shop. Let the shop come to you!
The shop glides along in a customized 1985 Chevy Step Van. Its former life was spent delivering Golden Flake potato chips, hence the name of the steed. Goldie! The irony of driving a diesel step van around while working on and selling man’s most efficient machine is not lost on me. Despite that, I think the end justifies the means. It helps me accomplish my mission; more people spending more time on bikes. I also do my best to minimize my impact on the environment. I recycle all possible materials, use eco-conscience cleaning and lubrication products, and run the super-efficient LED lights off a power-bank that will soon be set-up to recharge by solar panels.
Bikes have given me a lot in my lifetime. Not only fitness, transportation, clarity, and plenty of fun, but comfort and purpose. I am passionate about the positive impact that bikes have on people and community. I want to see more kids riding bikes and more families riding together. I want to be part of the movement. I want to be involved in my community and get my community involved.
I have some great partners that share my vision and passion for bikes, the outdoors, and sustainability. One such is Mountain Challenge, a group of like-minded, fit, green, and happy dudes and dudettes over at Maryville College, which has been named a “Best in the Southeast” college by The Princeton Review. Mountain Challenge continues to do great things for the college and the local community in a progressive and inviting manner and are an inspiration for impacting people in a positive way. Another is Brooklyn Bicycle Co., who have gone out of their way to help me along and are a great model for excellent customer service. Both were willing to take a chance on me and my business bringing bikes to the people and for that I am grateful.
Starting a business is a lot like a long climb and like any long climb, I’m seated and in it for the long haul, turning over the pedals. It’s been steep and at times I’ve felt like I’m spinning out on a low gear, only making incremental progress. But it’s progress and I’m building momentum and shifting up the gears!
Follow my journey on Instagram and Twitter @1happybike and Facebook/1happybike. It’s sure to be interesting and I have big plans for the Spring of 2017!
More miles, more smiles!
Rider or is it writer?
My name is Adam Harris. I'm a lifelong cyclist. I love bikes. All types of bikes. I hope I can relay the joy that cycling provides me through glimpses into my thoughts and some of my mini adventures.