KETCHUM - Many people in the Wood River Valley live on their bikes. It's a lifestyle choice, but one that has it's challenges. One of those challenges inspired the idea for Club Ride.
"I remember the exact moment," Club Ride founder Mike Herlinger said. "It was in 2008. I was going for a bike ride. It was a hot day and my wife asked me if I wanted to grab some food and hang out with the kids when I was done with my bike ride. I was wearing a traditional cycling jersey and I was like, 'Oh, I don't want to show up in this Lycra piece and reveal everything to everybody.'"
But Herlinger said there weren't many options back then so he got the idea to create one. The idea: clothing that allows you to go from bike to lunch, or work, or the grocery store without looking like you're wearing your underwear. The only problem? Timing. Herlinger had his entrepreneurial epiphany in 2008.
"If Mike had it to do all over again I think (he) wouldn't have wanted to started in the worst recession in our generation," friend Scott Montgomery said.
But lucky for Herlinger, Ketchum is an extremely friendly environment for making things happen.
"It's a great breeding ground for new ideas and the energy to get things off the ground and going," he said.
That energy in the form of people with money and know how. People like his friend Scott Montgomery.
"When I was 11 years old my dad started Cannondale bicycles," Montgomery said. "He started me at a dollar an hour."
Years later and with an extensive and impressive resume in the bicycle business world, Montgomery knew a winner when he saw one.
"He would drop shirts off to my house," Montgomery said. "I thought 'What a great guy that would be so excited that he would actually drive a shirt over to my house! That's customer service.'"
And a darn good idea to boot.
"We'll probably do $1.7 million (to) $1.9 million this year," said Herlinger.
He thinks even better things are ahead. "What we see emerging over the next 10 years (is) everyday people using bikes to commute to go down the greenway to get their exercise, (and) use it as transportation and a way to save money. We fit that bill very nicely."
Now, the idea is spreading far beyond the Wood River Valley - and even Idaho.
"I go down to New Mexico or down to Texas and it's still a little bit interesting when I'm riding my bicycle and I see someone coming towards me with a Club Ride shirt on I'm like 'Whoa that's cool, that's great!,'" he said. "I'm sort of a proud papa, if you will."