Claire Attkisson is looking to offer the joy of cycling Durango to tourists who aren’t confident enough to handle 6,512 feet in elevation and the foothills of the San Juan Mountains using only muscles.
About three weeks ago, Attkisson and her partner, Mike Burns, opened ROLL, a door-to-door e-bike business.
“Mainly, it’s about the pure joy you get when you’re on a bicycle,” Attkisson said. “It’s a chance to get unplugged from your cellphone and get back to nature. For people coming from sea level to altitude, it’s a huge help, and it helps them see Durango like a local does.”
ROLL will deliver its electronic-assisted bicycles anywhere within 10 miles of Durango. For people outside that zone, deliveries are made to Memorial Park, 2901 East Second Ave.
“We don’t just drop the bikes off,” Attkisson said. “We give lessons on their use, explain safety rules for riding bicycles in bike lanes, on the road and the Animas River Trail.”
The business does make one exception to its delivery parameters – offering deliveries to Mesa Verde National Park – and Attkisson is looking to develop e-bike tours to Trimble Hot Springs, Lake Nighthorse, Purgatory Resort, Durango brewpubs and Fort Lewis College.
ROLL is a family operation, with Burns serving as finance and operations director, and the family’s children – Dillon Burns, 11; Emma Burns, 13; Maya Bradshaw, 19; and Lola Bradshaw, 12 – washing e-bikes and checking tires.
Jack Llewellyn, executive director of the Durango Chamber of Commerce, said the business will build on Durango’s existing reputation as an outdoor haven and the town’s history with cycling – everything from the Iron Horse Bicycle Tour to hosting the inaugural World Mountain Bike Championships in 1990.
“If you are coming from a lower elevation, it can help you enjoy the outdoors. It’s a good addition for the town,” he said.
ROLL has eight e-bikes available, including two tandem e-bikes, two pedal-assisted e-bikes and four e-bikes that are electronic throttle only.
Rates range from $65 to $90 a day, with discounts offered for adding additional rental days and for weekly rentals.
“Some people have said they will only be using the bikes for the River Trail, and they come back saying they went downtown for an ice cream, they went to Trimble Hot Springs. It takes them less time than they think with the electronic assist,” Attkisson said.
Attkisson has set up a club for locals, the eROLLer Club, which allows residents to rent the ebikes for $25 a day if they are available. Each Sunday after 5 p.m., ROLL will email club members with the days e-bikes are available for the coming week.
“I’ve been an entrepreneur wherever I’ve been. I like to build programs. I like to create – to take an idea and develop it out,” Attkisson said.
Eventually, she’d like expand ROLL regionally; she’s examining opportunities in Pagosa Springs, Moab and Santa Fe.
The business uses solar panels to charge ROLL’s e-bikes, an extension of her college days: Her master’s in business administration was in sustainable businesses.
“I thought, people, planet, profit – this could be it. It’s a way to put your beliefs and heart into a business.”