Handup started 6 years ago in November of 2014, as a side-gig by a husband and wife with 4 boxes of their own designed gloves in their spare bedroom. They took turns shipping out orders and holding pizza & beer parties with their friends when new shipments would come in, to sort through the new inventory, all while going to their normal nine to five jobs each morning.
Their idea was to offer a unique product that hadn’t been seen in the cycling industry with fun designed gloves and sayings across the palms, while using this product to connect people and build a community. The thought that two people riding bikes separately, could meet through the recognition of this unique product, and exchange a few words that could lead to a friendship was the excitement that the co-owners dreamt of.
This idea stemmed from the co-founders riding bikes with many different groups of people and realizing that although they all rode bikes, the connection didn’t seem to be strong enough to bring the different people among these groups together. Maybe these gloves would be the talking point people needed to get out of their comfort zone and strike up a conversation with a like-minded stranger who could potentially become a new friend.
The gloves may have been a long shot to build a community, so the co-founders decided to hold their own local events. Not just bike rides, but organized events to bring people together for fun and competition alike. The first of many of these free and unsanctioned (by any laws) events, was a quarter mile hill climb straight up a steep hill in front of a local bar in their hometown of Chattanooga, TN.
Maybe only 20 people came out for this first event, but Handup paid to shut the street down from normal traffic so that participants could watch each other in the head to head hill climb competition while also enjoying a beverage.
From this original hill climb event, the word spread and there were monthly events held various places around town, all organized around a new community that was forming. A community of mountain and road bikers, but also of anyone that would show up on a beach cruiser or even a rented city bike. There wasn’t a class for each but a class for all, with prizes for each person’s uniqueness or abilities. The competitions weren’t focused on the fastest being the winners but focused more on facilitating different groups to be able to interact with each other, who otherwise never would have.
From these events and the unique products Handup has offered, we have seen a community form out of nothing other than the great people who were generous enough to offer out their Handup-clad hand to a stranger, looking for a fist bump and some kind conversation. We knew you – the people – were already there, we just all needed a reason to party together.
Thank you again for reading along with the HANDUP story and being a part of the community.
It’s truly your community, so let’s foster it how we would all want to be taken care of, and we should be just fine.
If you’re still interested in more of the Handup Story, check out the people that make up our small team in our Stories, or listen to a couple of the interviews we have done with MTB Radio, Bike Rumor, and the Gravel Lot.