Meet The Owner: JRABS

Monday, November 2, 2020
Meet the Owner
Travis Evans – Owner, Just Riding Along Bicycle Shop (JRABS)
 
Tell us a little about yourself.
Bikes have been my life. My family lived in Pittsburgh in the 70’s. My dad bought his first real bike, a Schwinn Paramount, then. He was hooked on bicycling. His job moved us to Manassas in ‘78, and that’s when the BMX boom hit. My brother and I lived on our bikes – he did freestyle, and I raced. I got my first job at A-1 Manassas Schwinn (now A-1 cycling) at the age of 15 in ‘86, where I learned the basics of bicycle mechanics and the bicycle business from Bill Baker and Keith Gates. After graduation from high school in ‘90, I attended Barnetts Bicycle Institute to further my bicycle education. I then joined The Bicycle Exchange, which is how I got to Maryland.

I took a break from the bicycle business from ‘95 - ‘05 and got my class A commercial driver’s license and drove a tractor trailer for Moyer and Son’s moving and storage. During that time, I got to see the country, ride pretty much everywhere in the U.S., and was featured in “Adventure Cyclist” magazine.
 
What would you say makes JRABS unique?
At many larger bike shops, the staff is usually friendly, but inexperienced. At many smaller shops, the staff is experienced, but snobby. At JRABS, we are experienced and friendly! Whether you're a first-time bike rider or a seasoned pro, you'll always feel like you're at home with us.
 
What made you want to start a store in Laytonsville? 
I chose Laytonsville for a few reasons. Many bicyclists (not just PPTC) start their rides here, as we are at the end of the suburbs, with beautiful country roads all around us. Laytonsville also has the small town feel that I’ve always loved. It’s also an ideal place for customers to take great test rides beyond just a parking lot.
 
What's the riding like by the shop, and how does it influence your business?
The riding is what I think is the best place in the D.C. Metro area. There is plenty of parking, a 7-11, an ice cream/coffee shop, and beautiful roads. Cyclists are welcome to use our bathroom, fill up their bottles, or even use our shower.
 
How did you choose your bike manufacturers?
I have always had a thing for the smaller brands. They are usually the most innovative and can adapt to change very quickly. Also, I have close relationships with their representatives. I also chose my brands because they have a passion for the bicycle, and don’t have a passion for just “pushing units.” The larger brands dictate how much of each brand you can have on your sales floor – none of the brands that I work with do.
 
How have you adjusted to meet customer needs during the pandemic?
We offer curbside service for those who would rather not come in. We also just launched our home delivery service: https://www.jrabs.com/articles/home-delivery-available-pg152.htm. We are constantly cleaning, and I’ve hired a professional cleaning crew. Of course, we can also ship any products.
 
How else do you connect to the community?
We used to have parties and events, but of course that’s been put on hold. We participate in Ride Allegheny, a charity ride to raise funds for Operation Second Chance. Ride Allegheny is a 300-mile ride from Pittsburgh to Gaithersburg, and this year we helped raise over $650,000 for wounded soldiers and their families. 
 
How is your relationship with the Potomac Pedalers?
Great! My father, David Evans, was chairman in ‘91 & ‘92 (I think) and Pedal Patter editor. We joined PPTC when we first moved to Manassas in ‘78. The century used to leave from Manassas every year and was usually on my and my dad’s birthday weekend. We would pre-ride the route and then volunteer for the ride, also when it was in Nokesville. I have been somewhat involved in the club for over 40 years and it will always be a part of me!
 
 

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