AP NEWS

Wheel Wranglers ready to roll

May 8, 2019

Bill and Katie McNamara would like to see as many people as possible fit bike riding into their Jackson Hole visit.

To make that easy the Idaho couple are launching Wheel Wranglers, a mobile bike rental delivery service. The new business will bring rides, helmets and other accessories to the doorsteps of customers on both ides of the Tetons.

“The idea is to get more people riding than otherwise would,” Bill McNamara said.

It might not occur to some visitors to take a bike ride while in the area, and others might figure they can’t squeeze cycling into a busy schedule.

“We want to change that and make sure that riding is a must-do activity and make it easy,” he said.

The McNamaras have built their business around sustainability and see Wheel Wranglers as a way to get cars off the road by making bikes easily accessible to guests.

Though Wheel Wranglers has a truck that can carry 18 bikes, the business will use pedal power for deliveries whenever it can. On each side of Teton Pass the company has an e-bike with a carrier that can fit five rides.

In other efforts to be a green operation the McNamaras solar-charge their e-bikes, and they are part the RRR (reduce reuse recycle) Business Leaders program.

“We believe in happy bikes and happy people and a happy planet,” Katie McNamara said. “There’s something really special about seeing a place from the seat of a bicycle and making special memories with friends and family.”

The Wheel Wranglers fleet includes hybrids, cruisers, gravel bikes, road bikes, full-suspension mountain bikes, electric bikes and kids’ bikes, along with trailers and seats. There are 40 bikes in all and four brands: Guerrilla Gravity, Kona, Marin and Felt.

Rentals include a helmet, a lock, a flat kit, delivery and pickup at no extra cost. For customers who want to explore the greater Wydaho area, Wheel Wranglers will rent car racks, installation included.

With bike rentals come customized electronic route maps (paper versions, too.) As an affiliate of Places for Bikes, Wheel Wranglers uses the Ride Spot app. The bikes have phone mounts on their handlebars so turn-by-turn directions are at riders’ fingertips.

More than supplying gear, the McNamaras are excited about building Jackson Hole experiences around bike riding. They envision customers riding around town, for example, on a hybrid or cruiser, toting a picnic basket or fishing gear.

“It really comes back to making it easy to just go ride,” Bill McNamara said. “If the bikes are made more easily available and the routes are customized, we feel more people will be inclined to go for a ride.”

Wheel Wranglers will work with other business to create “local experience packages” for customers.

“We’re bring adventure to them,” Katie McNamara said of potential customers.

Wheel Wranglers has already partnered with Roadhouse Brewing — a business the McNamaras say shares their devotion to sustainability — to provide a safe cycling route to its taproom on Gregory Lane. The idea is that customers can sample brews and then bike away with their purchase in a six-pack holder.

Bill McNamara worked at Hoback Sports for eight years and is the more avid cyclist of the two. Katie McNamara, who describes herself as a casual cyclist, is executive director of Teton Valley Aquatics, a nonprofit looking to create an aquatics center in Teton Valley, Idaho.

In connection with that organization she went through the Start Up Intensive, a Central Wyoming College and Silicon Couloir course for entrepreneurs. Her husband took a “Business 101: Why, What, How” course through Central Wyoming College. The education gave wings to their business. The principles covered in the Start Up Intensive apply to nonprofit and for-profit entities, Katie McNamara said.

“We are a purpose-driven business focused on sustainable value,” she said. “We are adding value to the community and to our guests.”

Though both McNamaras are in on the new business — working at side-by-side desks at their home in Victor — Bill McNamara will handle the daily operations.

“It’s not been a 9-to-5 thing,” he said. “It’s been more of a 6 a.m. to midnight type of work schedule. It’s been really incredible.”

On Friday you might spot the couple and their friends cycling the pathways wearing bright yellow rental helmets, with Wheel Wranglers flags flying from their bikes. Its their way of officially launching the business.

You can also meet the McNamaras at the EcoFair. They’ll be with the team at Creative Energies, powering some of their bikes with solar chargers.

WheelWranglers.com has information and a booking platform. The phone number is 690-2799.