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Meet Shelley Patterson of Buddy Bike in Chino

Today we’d like to introduce you to Shelley Patterson.

In the early 1990’s Robert “Bob” Gardner from Willits, California created what would eventually become the Buddy Bike. Bob, a bicycle enthusiast, was inspired to customize a bike to ride with his young son Isaac. He had the innovation of adding a seat and foot pegs in front of his seat. Isaac enjoyed riding in front but wanted his own pedals, so Bob welded two bicycle frames together. He called the unique tandem bicycle the Love Bike and began production in 1996.

In 2003, Barry Nelson, the father of a child with autism, began searching for a bicycle to use with his son Jesse. Barry enjoyed outdoor activities with his other children but had difficulty finding an activity that he could share with Jesse. Barry tried many options without success until he purchased a used Love Bike. Barry enjoyed the time that he spent with Jesse on the Love Bike and wanted other families to have the same experience. In 2005, Barry purchased the patent and remaining inventory of the Love Bike with a Trust benefiting Jesse and he changed the name of the bicycle to the Buddy Bike.

In 2005, Barry hired his long-time law firm Marketing Coordinator, Shelley, as the Director of Marketing and Business Development of Buddy Bike. She manages all aspects of the business including product development and provides excellent and timely service to customers and bicycle dealers. She takes pride in representing a company that provides a quality bicycle that changes the lives of many families. She strives to build a company that promotes cycling and brings the cycling experience to as many special needs families as possible, especially those who might not otherwise be able to ride a bicycle.

Buddy Bike, LLC is the manufacturer and distributor of The Buddy Bike, an alternative inline tandem bicycle. Buddy Bike, LLC operates from its office in North Miami Beach, Florida and its warehouse in Chino, California. Fairing Industries in Chino, California coordinates product development, manufacturing and shipping.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc. – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Buddy Bike was founded in 2005. In 12 years the business has seen minimal to no profit. Operating a small business with few resources can be challenging; but thankfully social media and online outlets have allowed us to reach more of our target audience – special needs families and the schools, organizations and camps that cater to them – at a reasonable cost. The Buddy Bike is a quality product that is built to last and its features are unique, providing the freedom that only a bicycle can offer for kids who might not otherwise be able to ride a bike. When we receive comments and photos from the families with special needs kids around the world who say the Buddy Bike has changed their lives, it makes the hard work all worthwhile and makes us feel rich, despite what the bank statements reflect.

Here is an example of the type of customer comments that we receive which fill our hearts, “The joy I have literally brings tears to mine and my wife’s eyes. I can’t even talk about how much it’s doing for my son without getting emotional!! All I wanted to see my entire life is to see my son enjoy/embrace the things like riding a bike that make for great memories as a child. Now has this opportunity, thanks to you all!!”

See more Customer Comments at

So, let’s switch gears a bit and go into the Buddy Bike story. Tell us more about the business.
Buddy Bike, LLC is the manufacturer of The Buddy Bike®, the alternative inline tandem bicycle (bicycle for two) that places the stoker (smaller rider) in the front seat while the rear rider controls the steering. The Buddy Bike has a lower front seat so both riders can safely enjoy the view. It is shorter in length than a typical tandem, making it easier to store and transport. The Buddy Bike is CPSC safety-rated for up to 380 pounds; making it the ultimate family bike that can be enjoyed by riders of most ages and abilities. The features of the Buddy Bike offer adaptive outdoor recreation and therapeutic activity to riders with cognitive or physical disabilities who may not be able to ride a bicycle safely on their own or who do not have the strength to pedal a bike alone. The Buddy Bike allows riders with autism, down syndrome, sight impairment or other disabilities to experience the thrill of riding a bicycle with the whole family. They are no longer left behind!

Buddy Bike is not only known for building a quality bicycle that provides the freedom of cycling to special needs kids, but we are known as an adaptive cycling resource. We have spent over a decade building relationships with other adaptive bicycle manufacturers and bicycle dealers who also believe in our goal to put more people on bicycles and in the idea that there is a bicycle for everyone regardless of their age, size or ability. We have participated in events that promote cycling for all and inclusion.

We take pride in providing the customer service that goes above and beyond selling products. We understand the financial strains that some special needs families endure; so, we have collected resources to help the families find funding options to obtain the Buddy Bike as therapeutic equipment. We participate with organizations that help the families as well. We want to put the Buddy Bike within the reach of all the families who need them.

One way that we help families obtain the Buddy Bike is by participating in the annual online event The Great Bike Giveaway by The Friendship Circle. In 6 years, this online event has raised over $1 million and awarded over 1,000 bicycles to children with special needs. The next Great Bike Giveaway will take place February 1 – March 7, 2018. To learn more visit

Since founding the business in 2005, nearly 900 Buddy Bikes and Love Bikes have been sold to individuals, schools and organizations worldwide.

Has luck played a meaningful role in your life and business?
I really don’t have good luck. Everything that myself and Buddy Bike have had been a product of hard work and relationship-building with positive, supportive and knowledgeable people. I try to live a good life and help as many people as I can in the hopes that good things will come back to me in return.

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Getting in touch: VoyageLA is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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