Joseph Needham wants more people on bicycles, and e-bikes might be the way to achieve that goal.
In January, Needham and his wife purchased Leeds Bicycle Solutions — an e-bike manufacturer based in Mountain Green, Utah. The company sells several different e-bike models largely marketed to buyers looking for an around-town commuter bike. But Needham says Leeds specializes in conversion kits, which include a geared motor hub wheel and a battery that can be attached to traditional bicycles.
Needham said one of his employees at another business tipped him off to Leeds when the business went up for sale. Having been following the e-bike business from afar and being a self-described bike “fanatic,” he made the decision to purchase the company.
“The opportunity fell in my lap,” Needham said. “It felt comfortable to say, ‘Let’s go for it.’”
Needham said the automotive industry burgeoned from bicycle design. For Needham, it’s interesting to see it all come full circle.
“The bike industry created spoked wheels, they created the air-pressured wheels, they created chains and gears,” he said. “The e-bike world today is basically just going back to where they already were but doing it with electric power.”
On Aug. 29, U.S. Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt signed an order allowing e-bikes to be used on all non-motorized trails managed by the U.S. Department of Interior, including National Parks. Controversy sparked over the order, and the question was asked: Can e-bikes and traditional bikes coexist? Needham said he believes they can and should.
“This is to help those who won’t go out unless they had a little extra help,” Needham said.
For Needham, Leeds is a bit of a passion project — an opportunity to be involved in an environmentally positive business encouraging new bicycle riders.
“If I can promote more people on bikes,” Needham said, “I’m excited about that.”
For more info about the Leeds Bicycle Solutions, visit leedsbikes.com.