On this episode of the Shift Up podcast, Bike Shop Girl owner, and podcast host Arleigh Greenwald sits down with Rachel Varn to talk about building confident and safe cyclists. Rachel lives in Maryland and is the founder of PedalPower Kids, a for-profit company that is dedicated to teaching kids to be confident cyclists. Rachel is a certified trainer in the League of American Cyclists, has worked with several major bike brands, and has a background in franchising. In this conversation, Arleigh and Rachel talk about the business structure of PedalPower Kids, the missing ingredient in bike-industry training, and the impact that PedalPower Kids has had on the community.
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The story of PedalPower Kids starts with Rachel and her daughter biking to school. Rachel chose to bypass the drop off lines and bike with her daughter to school, which led to her reputation as the “bike whisperer” among the moms in her community. As time went on, she saw a huge need for biking training and realized she could best impact her community by starting a for-profit business to meet these needs. Thus, PedalPower Kids was born. As Rachel tells this story, she delves into the variety of business partnerships she has developed, describes the diverse clientele she works with, and delves into the various training method she uses depending on the age of the trainee. Next, Arleigh turns the conversation towards the lack of quality training in the bike industry and asks about how to improve and scale one’s training program. In response, Rachel talks about the missing ingredient in the bike industry customer experience: being heard. She emphasizes the need for bike industry professionals to listen, understand, and empathize with the customer’s story before prescribing a solution. Rachel believes that the lack of listening and personally connecting with clients is a fundamental weak spot in training programs throughout the industry that, if fixed, will have a huge ROI. As the conversation closes, Rachel talks more about how PedalPower Kids is impacting the community. She shares the number of kids she has trained to be confident cyclists in just five months of business. Additionally, she talks about a number of local partnerships that have taken place, and how exciting it is to see parents get back on their bikes as a result of their kids’ successful training. Finally, Rachel closes the conversation by sharing her plans to expand the business to new markets, create local bike-riding groups, and then invites listeners to join in upcoming events in the Maryland area.
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Links Mentioned in the Podcast
• Learn more about PedalPower Kids
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