When ideas for a new product strikes, some people are able to capitalize on the product and get it to market. Meet Darren Conway. Against all odds, through perseverance and dedication to his idea, Conway has harnessed his entrepreneurial spirit to bring his bikeboard product to market in Ocean Shores.
Located in the SeaRay Plaza on Ocean Shores Boulevard, a red flag banner marks the Conway BikeBoards location.
What is a bikeboard?
To the uninitiated, a bikeboard is a human powered vehicle – part bicycle and part skateboard.
Conway, his wife Tess and daughter, Willow, arrived in Ocean Shores and shortly afterwards opened Conway BikeBoards on July 1, 2016.
“I’ve been in Washington most of my life and we were looking for a Washington beach. We put about a day, day and a half of thought into Ocean Shores,” laughed Darren when asked about how the Conways found their way to the community.
“Hold on, you skipped a beat there,” Tess interjected.
She explained they had purchased a new travel trailer and were testing it out in Ocean Shores. A friend owned a lot in the area where they could hook up on the property.
“We came down for the weekend and that’s when we decided ‘Oh, look there’s an empty shop,” she recalled. With the encouragement of friends, they leased the store and set up their business selling and renting Conway BikeBoards, safety helmets and CBB brand items.
Darren conceived the idea out of his own experiences and enthusiasm for all-terrain action board sports, especially longboards. While working technology jobs for the US government, Darren traveled the world including Spain, Singapore, Serbia, New Zealand and Austria. He held a career that had him working from the White House executive office to assignments in a different country every week.
All along Darren had in mind a vehicle that was not being produced, a bikeboard design where a traditional longboard could be adapted to a full-size bicycle front wheel, frame, and handle bars with a hand brake system.
Designing a BikeBoard
What he eventually arrived at after a number of prototype attempts was an attention grabbing trick that people wanted to buy, too.
A team of technically skilled friends and fellow enthusiasts was brought together under Darren’s lead and the final model was constructed.
Conway BikeBoards, LLC was born, an international trademark secured and the CBB brand launched.
The final product is a modular design where a skater can transition from bikeboard to longboard and back again with a simple transaction.
The longboard is detached from the bike component by removing the board’s four joining bolts then attaching standard skateboard front trucks (wheels) to the board.
If the longboard breaks or one wants to swap-out for another board style, the universal skateboard 4-bolt mounting pattern allows for guaranteed adaptability.
“The first one we ever had of those we 3-D printed just to make sure they were all perfect and then we got the designs to our factory,” Darren said.
Riding a BikeBoard
It is the ease of learning to handle the Conway BikeBoards that makes it an enticing draw for the newbie of any age.
“They’re inherently stable and what we often hear people say when they first get on it is ‘wow that thing is reassuringly stable,’” Darren said. “The second you get on it you realize it doesn’t want to fall over. The learning curve is literally two or three seconds.”
Tess added, “There’s no skateboard experience necessary, maybe a small amount of bicycle experience and just the habit of pulling on the brake.”
Conway BikeBoards were recently touted at the 2016 Seattle Bike Show held last March with a news release stating, “The Conway BikeBoards ‘is a bit soul skater, a bit beach cruiser and a whole lot of fun!’ It is a unique mix of the best parts of skateboards and bikes that make the BikeBoard incredibly easy to learn to ride!”
Looking forward with Conway BikeBoards
What are the future goals for the Conway’s and their business?
“I think what would be most exciting is to see what other people would do with the product – just get it into the hands of fun, creative people and see what they do with the design,” Darren concluded.
Conway BikeBoards are available in the standard design for purchase and custom crafting is also an option.
In Ocean Shores, visitors can stop by the shop and try out the vehicle while engaging with a family with positive energy and an eagerness to share their story. Then rent a “cool” ride for $10 per hour or $25 for the day.