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Little Big Customer Spotlight 2016-09-22T06:42:24+00:00

LittleBig Bikes

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Simon Evans is a round the world cyclist who founded LittleBig in Ireland in 2013. After completing a 30,000km tour by literally circumnavigating the globe by bicycle, he returned home and put his engineering skills to use by inventing the LittleBig adaptable children’s bike, which are available through their online shop that ships worldwide.

Simon chose Avada as his theme of choice for the LittleBig website. We caught up with him to learn more about his adventures, his bike and his love of Avada.

Let’s meet Simon!

Spohn Design

Introducing Simon Evans

Q: Your passion is clearly bicycles and sustainable engineering. Can you tell us a little bit about how these two themes first entered your life and began to shape who you are now?

Ever since I was a kid I’ve been passionate about bikes. With two older brothers urging me on, we used to race each other around the park or jump off makeshift ramps, trying to leap further and higher – often coming down with a bang!

Likewise, I’ve always loved playing with Lego and constantly tried to re-think the standard box sets; trying to make them work better or look cooler. This led to me becoming an engineer, spending three years in Cambridge in the UK working on the conservation of historic buildings and the design of new structures sympathetic to the city’s unique architecture.

Q: It’s incredible that you did a world tour and, along with your teammate, earned the title of being the first Irish person to circumnavigate the globe by bicycle. What inspired that trip, and what lessons did you take away from it?

The idea originated back when I was a teenager after cycling the length of Ireland. Despite being unprepared and unfit, I realised that the saddle of my bike was the best vantage point to see the world. Over the following years, my mate Fearghal and I flung about different ideas of countries we wanted to visit until it eventually evolved into doing a full lap of the earth.

The trip gave a fresh perspective both on the world and myself. It showed how people the world over are kind, despite what you often see on the news.

The hospitality that we received was incredible, with people going miles out of their way to bring us food and water or make sure we had a safe place to sleep.

People always ask me if it was painful and that surely my legs (and bum!) were sore. In truth, cycling around the world is not about physical strength or fitness; it’s about having the mental strength to keep going, even when faced with huge challenges. I learned how I could push myself further than I ever imagined and how with the right mind-set, I could achieve anything I dreamed of.

Q: Other than LittleBig, what is the most unique engineering project you’ve ever worked on?

I was lucky enough to work on the 16th century Tudor manor house Sawston Hall, near Cambridge. It had lots of unique features including a tiny secret room where priests could hide if under attack. In 1553, Queen Mary the First had stayed the night while fleeing imprisonment. Soldiers torched the building as she was chased off, causing major damage and, years later, making our engineering work pretty tricky.

LittleBig – The Bike That Grows With Your Child

The LittleBig is a bike that grows in stages with your child as they learn to ride a bike. It starts off as a balance bike, transforms into a taller balance bike, and then finally, you add pedals. The bike grows with the child for about five years, from ages 2–7.

Q: In your founding story, you talk about how you noticed kids in the bike shop naturally jumping onto balance bikes and zooming around the shops, but all too soon parents had to come back to buy a bigger bike. Is there a specific Aha! story that triggered this inspiration for the LittleBig?

After discovering the benefits of the balance bike, I was standing in the bike shop next to the selection of kids bikes which were all lined up in order of size.

I noticed how the only difference between the balance bike and the pedal bike is they are a bit smaller and have no pedals. My brain pinged, as I figured out how I could make a bike that could transform between all the bikes that were in front of me.

Q: What was the biggest design challenge you faced when constructing the LittleBig?

My biggest design challenge was to make the LittleBig easy to switch between its three modes, while also functioning properly as a balance bike and pedals bike. And to top it off, it has to look cool. Part of the reason I designed the LittleBig is because there are so many bikes out there that seem to be thrown together without any consideration.

Q: What are the benefits of a child using a balance bike versus a bike with training wheels?

Balance bikes enable the child to develop their balance and steering with the comfort of having their feet near the ground. Once kids have mastered their balance, they have a pretty seamless transition to pedaling. I know of kids who have progressed to the LittleBig’s pedal mode after only a couple of weeks on the balance bike!

By contrast, training wheels don’t teach a child how to balance, so the sudden transition from being supported to unsupported can cause crashes and loss of confidence. It’s like teaching a toddler to walk with crutches, then suddenly taking them away.

Most kids bikes with training wheels are also really heavy so are difficult to pedal along, lift and maneuver. On top of that, stabilizers are noisy, tip over on uneven surfaces, and as one wheel usually bends upwards, it causes the child to lean the wrong way when turning.

Q: LittleBig helps the world to be a little greener by reducing material waste and the number of times a child needs a bike replacement. When designing the bike, what else did you keep in mind to help ensure that the design itself was also environmentally friendly?

As the LittleBig is designed to last for five years, it needed high quality parts that would last as long as the 3-in-1 frame. These parts work better and last longer than the stuff you’ll find on normal kids bikes.

Everything is fully serviceable at a local bike shop or by a decent home mechanic, ensuring that the LittleBig will keep riding smoothly for many years. Even when the child finally grows out of the LittleBig, it should still be in good enough condition to be passed on to another lucky kid.

LittleBig – The Company

Q: What was the biggest challenge launching the LittleBig brand?

In April last year, only four months after we started, all our bikes were destroyed when the shared warehouse we were using caught fire. I was truly gutted. The resilience built during my round the world cycle gave me the confidence to continue, and with overwhelming support from customers, friends and family, I got back up and running a few months later.

Q: The reviews you’ve collected for LittleBig are impressive! What is your favorite customer story?

My favorite story is from a customer in Scotland who had bought the bike for her five year old daughter who couldn’t get the hang of training wheels. She only had the LittleBig balance bike for five weeks when they attached the pedals. The daughter hopped on, and while her mum was explaining what to do, she just whizzed off, pedaling by herself, not a bother.

She was then so excited she couldn’t sleep!

Q: Can you tell us more about the Red Dot Award 2015 and what it means for LittleBig in the future?

The Red Dot design award is the most distinguished in the world and recognizes the best products in the industry. Being showcased alongside such design powerhouses as Ferrari, Apple and Sony is something we’re really proud of – especially considering it’s only our first year! The Red Dot award shows that the LittleBig is innovative, durable, functional and sustainable, which gives customers confidence in choosing our bike.

Q: LittleBig seems like a pretty straightforward company, based on the revolutionary idea that a bike can grow with a child in their developing years. What are your plans for growing the LittleBig brand in the future?

The main plans for the foreseeable future are to bring the brand into more countries. We’ve already sent the LittleBig to customers in the four corners of the globe, but we hope to become known worldwide as the best and most adaptable kids bike on the market.

Avada and LittleBig

LittleBig Bikes runs on Avada at LittleBigBikes.com.

Q: Such impressive life feats and clever inventions call for a website to match. What drew you to choose Avada as your theme of choice?

I was drawn by the adjustability of the Avada theme and the fact that it came with so many different inbuilt features such as short-codes, fusion slider, gallery page, adjustable navigation bars and a responsive layout. Even when I had to code some styling items myself, the support from the Avada team made it really simple.

Q: When building your website, what elements did you feel offered the most value for your visitors? How did Avada help you build those?

The Avada theme offered a layout that was clean and simple while looking great. Having a crisp layout makes it easy for customers to navigate through the site, giving them a better online shopping experience. Avada has many subtle but useful features like the tooltip hover over social media icons and the ability to use high-resolution logos for retina displays, which means the website always looks its best.

Q: Your site has many extensive e-commerce features. What role did Avada play in helping you create a full-featured checkout process that was everything you wanted it to be?

I was drawn to the one-page checkout that was part of the Avada WooCommerce theme options. This means the customer has to navigate through fewer pages, making their checkout process really fast and convenient.

Q: Before we go, would you recommend Avada to other business owners, and if so, what in particular continues to make it so appealing for using with a business?

I love the fact that Avada is constantly being improved with more impressive features, making website changes even easier. I’d absolutely recommend Avada to other business owners, whether for a simple blog or for a full-on WooCommerce shop.

Conclusion

Simon is no stranger to standing out from the crowd with his personal achievements and inventions. It was important that he found a tool just as flexible and creative as himself to translate his vision into a successful website.

The LittleBig, while a simple and elegant solution to a worldwide problem, is a new invention that will spark many questions and a lot of interest. We are thrilled to be a part of Simon’s mission moving forward!

What do you think of the LittleBig and its representation online? Tell us your thoughts in the comments section below!

Nomadic Chick

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