This article is by Josh Reid, a journalist from the U.K. who recently toured several Oregon bike companies. This is the first in a series that’s being published in conjunction with BikeBiz.com.
What would become Burley grew from a bike shop founded in 1969 in Fargo, North Dakota, by 17-year-old touring cyclist Alan Scholz.
I’ve been using Burley’s bicycle products since I was a tot. Photographic proof of this was emailed to me when, earlier this year, I visited the company’s HQ in Eugene, Oregon. There I am, seated in a 1997-vintage Burley Lite trailer, pulled by my 1965-vintage dad, editor-at-large of BikeBiz. A few years later I progressed to a Burley Piccolo trailercycle. Today, I often ride my dad’s 2002-vintage Burley Runabout steel-framed commuter bike – he long ago added an Xtracycle attachment, creating a cargobike.
What would become Burley grew from a bike shop founded in 1969 in Fargo, North Dakota, by 17-year-old touring cyclist Alan Scholz. Al’s Bike Shop took over the basement and garage of his parents’ house. This was just before the start of the American “bike boom” of the early 1970s which took almost everybody by surprise, and most especially the bicycle industry, which couldn’t keep up with demand. Thanks to health concerns, cycling had been building in popularity throughout the 1960s, and when baby-boomer ecological concerns merged with a fitness kick the American market for bicycles doubled within a couple of years.