The Bike Farm: Childhood Memories & New Heights - TribPapers

The Bike Farm: Childhood Memories & New Heights

The Bike Farm challenges people of all ages and all skill levels to overcome perceived limits.

Asheville – The Bike Farm sounded like a happy place to visit. The web page is filled with photos of smiling children outdoors.

Cashion Smith, who owns the business with his wife, Eva Surls, had a very uplifting spirit as he spoke. He was asked how he got the name for the business. Did he raise crops nearby, or was he growing children?

He began with how the business started. “I was in medical devices, and she was and is in the high-art world. I was a lifelong mountain biker, and she was a lifelong pursuer of education. We both had interests in health and the athletic space, so we decided to combine our passions,” even if it meant settling for less money.

Their idea was to start an outdoor business that offered glamping, camping, and private trails. The name of the company came from Cashion wanting to recreate the feelings he enjoyed as a child on his family’s farm.

Cashion was able to quit his day job, and he now handles business development, marketing and sales, and bookings. He has a team that serves as trail guides and coaches.

The farm has land that is used like the training course for driver’s education, and the business is permitted to conduct tours of Pisgah National Forest and DuPont State Recreational Forest. That’s where they operate, even though their customer base is global. For children, they offer camps and private instruction. All-age tours are custom-designed and private, and they can last half a day or multiple days.

Cashion said the Bike Farm offers training for all levels and ages. The coaches help push people from 8 to 80 years old to the next level. Through Recovery Rides, they offer biking as therapy through programs and events.

When asked, skeptically, if he had something to offer the guys who speed past automobiles in their Lance Armstrong suits, he said, “We’re able to coach at a high level. There are a lot of great riders in Asheville. The pro- or expert-level is a very slender slice of the riding population.” Consistent with his philosophy of life, he added, “There’s always room for growth.”

As for beginners, they don’t even need their own bikes, as the Bike Farm maintains a fleet of bikes. Their website says, “We have the nicest rental bikes on the planet.” They carry five models of Yeti 12-speeds with hydraulic disk brakes and Fox suspension systems. The bikes may be rented with guided tours or instruction, or they may be rented outright with a surcharge. Customers can still bring their own bike or a less elegant bike rented for less somewhere else.

Some people come to the farm to test-drive different Yetis, and bike shops will even send customers to them. Cashion and Eva work hard to help anybody who wants to get to enjoy a good mountain biking outing.

This is the third location for the Bike Farm. Cashion said they started on property owned with Oskar Blues, and they had a partnership with Red Bull for a big bike park. Cashion said he really loved the place. It was where he and Eva got married. But they found themselves drifting from their mission and vision, so they opted for a change of scenery.

The next place was rented, and the owner sold it during the pandemic. So, they landed where they are now. With each move, he said, the business had to “physically whittle and hone and revise.” Glamping, for example, is no longer offered. Cashion said there was more uncertainty and challenge with the moves than with the pandemic.

It was worth it, though. “In our line of business, we get daily triumphs,” Cashion shared. “Every time we see a biker break through a perceived barrier and progress, that sense of confidence and accomplishment that comes from working at something is a triumph.”

Another triumph is just living the mission and vision of the business: to connect individuals to themselves and the natural world via the bicycle. “Getting to work with and ride in the natural world with complete strangers is a privilege only a small percentage of the world’s population gets to enjoy,” he said.

Cashion also feels good about the way the biking community has grown in the area. He and others worked hard and saw the Transylvania Bike Club grow from a handful of people on weekly rides up to 40. He is grateful to have “had a front-row seat.”