Tour And Explore With Outrider USA
MRV: The Buzz, Your RV Lifestyle Insider. Written By: Olivia Richman
Touring The City: Outrider USA
Founded In 2009 By Tommy Ausherman And Daniel Rhyne And Was Created To Give Tourists An Easy Way To Tour A City Or Town
Arguably one of the best parts about vacationing is exploring a town or city; Not just the museums and high-rated restaraunts, but finding the place's heart and soul, the streets where locals flock, the little shops and spots that make it unique and make it what it is. There is one vehicle that's perfect for exactly that kind of thing: The Alpha, an electric adventure vehicle by Outrider USA. With the wind whipping through the driver's hair as they cruise down the side streets, there's no other experience quite like it.
More interested in staying off the grid? Outrider USA has that covered too, with the Horizon, an off-road machine made for skillfully manuvering through trails in the woods, forest or mountains. Both adventure vehicles have been a huge hit with RVers and other people looking for an exciting vacation and it's easy to see why.
With a lithium battery that allows riders to travel over 100 miles on a single charge and a top speed of over 45 miles per hour, the Alpha is a nice alternative to a car or motorcycle, easier to tow behind an RV than the former.
“If you're parked out in a campsite outside of town and have an RV set up, you can take the Alpha and ride it into town almost as quick as a car, but a lot more fun,” noted Co-Founder Tommy Ausherman. “It's a great way to tour a city. It's like touring a city on a bike, but covering more ground. You can pedal at a low speed and check out the streets and see what's happening, without having to deal with parking.”
There are not any other vehicles on the market right now like the Alpha. It's more than a bicycle, more than a motorcycle. Often compared to a motorcycle, Ausherman is quick to point out the key differences: “With the Alpha, you can truly check out the downtown area of a town or city. You can get on smaller side paths, mix and mingle. You can pedal around, avoiding traffic. You can also crank up the power and get somewhere really fast, getting groceries for the campground. It's the best of both worlds.”
For people looking to explore the
wilderness, the Horizon is another vehicle like no other. It allows the
rider to go on an off-road adventure for hours and hours in comfort.
It's also easier to transport than a motorcycle or RV: The Horizon can
be carried on the hitch rack of an RV.
It may sound like the Alpha and Horizon are simple, recreational vehicles. The price point ($9,900 to almost $13,000) may seem a bit steep, but both adventure vehicles are engineering marvels. The Alpha is the fastest sub-100 pound vehicle in history, setting a record with 85.9 miles per hour without aerodynamic fairing. It's also on record as having the longest range, 150-plus miles at 20 miles per hour with 4 kWh battery. The Alpha also traveled the furthest distance in 12 hours, a whopping 225 miles. It's also the Pike's Peak Hill Climb Champion, going over 31 miles per hour on average with a seven percent average grade.
While this is all truly astounding, these records were actually the reason Ausherman and co-founder Daniel Rhyne almost left the company after it was founded in 2009.
For the first few years the two were focused on the vehicles' performance. There was a stigma in the market in the early 2000s, labeling electric vehicles as “slow, wimpy and boring.” They chased record after record, proving to themselves and the world that electric vehicles could have power, endurance and excitement. They “pushed the limits of performance.” But Ausherman felt they were still lacking a purpose.
“We started off selling them mostly to folks who would use them once in a while, another toy in the toy box for them,” he continued. “I had always really imagined a more purpose driven thing. I want to feel what I'm doing is making a difference. I was getting burned out on it. I felt maybe we'd sell the company. We went to sell the company but our advisor said it could be a few years. We felt chained to the thing. We went back to the drawing board and thought about how we can make it have a purpose while being financially stable. I was exhausted. In winter 2013 I said a prayer, 'If you want to me to stay here, have to change it.'”
That prayer was answered in the form of a simple phone call just three days later. It was from a man named Chris. At the age of 18, Chris has broken his neck diving in the Pacific. Before the accident he had been a big mountain biker and climber. Paralyzed for over the last 22 years, Chris had kept dreaming of having a bike he could ride.
“The idea sounded awesome to me,” said Ausherman. “It was the exact purpose we were looking for. We re-designed our platform, making them very adaptable. Someone with no arms could still make the bikes work. These bikes are for everyone.”
Now, half of the Outrider USA's customers
have a physical disability: Cyclists, rock climbers and adventurers who
have broken their necks or backs. For those people, the Alpha and
Horizon have become their wings. Now, they can go on hikes again. They
can go hunting. They can climb mountains.
“For someone who has not been able to bike in 20 years, they feel their wings have been clipped,” said Ausherman. “To be able to give them the gift of getting out again and riding is amazing.”
Every year, Outrider USA does the No Barriers Summit. This past year in Colorado over 100 different people test drove their vehicles. For the two founders it was amazing seeing people's reactions over and over again, that moment where they realize a part of their life that they thought was completely lost is now possible again. It's been highly rewarding for Ausherman.
But even able-bodied riders can't get enough of the adventure vehicles. Many people use them for their commute to work. Some people ride them cross-country. Others bring them on camping trips and vacations. It doesn't matter who uses it, said Ausherman, they all become “die-hard advocates.” Some people have even told him they became addicted.
“It combines the fun and exercise of a bike with the speed and convenience of a motorcycle or car,” said Ausherman about the vehicles, which can be manually pedaled or run on electric power. “There's not really any other vehicle that can do that. You're not boxed up. You are going 45 miles per hour, wind rushing through your hair, having a blast, legs turning...”
For people like Ausherman, the vehicle is a dream come true. From North Carolina, he had been a mountain biker for many years. He was always looking for a way to commute to school, something that would keep up with the flow of traffic. He also loved visiting parks, camping in the mountains. With a background in engineering and design, he hoped to create something that would benefit both scenarios, inspired by nature's design.
“I have a lot of memories with the Outriders,” said Ausherman. “Every year we go out to the beach on the coast with our friends. We get a big group together. It's a 450 mile trip or so. So we planned a three-day trip. In the middle of the state one of our customers decided he would meet us and he rode with us for like 100 miles. We stayed at this absolutely beautiful park. It was so fun at night to be riding the bikes out in the country. They sort of look like spaceships at night. We pulled up to the campsite and set up a tent. It was such a unique experience.”
A graduate of East Connecticut State University in Journalism, Olivia
has written for Stonebridge Press & Antiques Marketplace among
others. She enjoys writing, running and video games.
Make Sure To Check Out:
Outrider USA, building the world's highest performance and most versatile ultralight electric vehicles. With a mission to provide hope through independence, exercise, and everyday adventure.