Company Mission and Philosophy
“Provide visitors the opportunity to experience the natural wonders of Grand Canyon in an active and educational manner while promoting a sense of stewardship that extends beyond the visitors time in the park.”
Bright Angel Bicycles is Grand Canyon’s first “in-park” bike rental facility. We are passionate about the Grand Canyon and sharing it with visitors in a manner that is both fun and meaningful. Bicycles provide an environmentally preferable way to explore the park and allow visitors to take an active role in their visit. Bright Angel Bicycles is committed to providing excellence in service and operating an environmentally and socially responsible business.
Bright Angel Bicycles introduced bicycle rentals and tours to the South Rim of Grand Canyon National Park in May of 2010. The initial bicycle program was operated under a one year contract issued by the National Park Service as a feasibility study to determine if the bicycles would be a sustainable offering for visitors. The original “Bike Shop” was a 28 sq. ft. kiosk built and staffed by owners Wes Neal and Kyle George. After a slow start the business picked up steam and rented over 6,000 bicycles that first year. The NPS granted Bright Angel Bicycles a second year to refine the bicycle program and prepare for a bid on a 10 year contract that would begin in 2012. Against the odds, the small business formed by two river guides competed against much larger companies at the national level and was awarded the first bicycle rental and cafe concession contract to operate in Grand Canyon until 2022. In June of 2012 Bright Angel Bicycles moved out of the tiny kiosk and into the newly constructed 1,200 sq. ft. building located at the Grand Canyon Visitor Center.In addition to bicycles the new building hosts a coffee shop and grab-and-go cafe. Bright Angel Bicycles and Mather Pt. Cafe now employs over 30 individuals and hopes to serve over 75,000 visitors in 2012.
The Guys Behind the Bikes
Wes Neal started Around the Bend Adventures, a day tour and hiking business at Grand Canyon, after eight years as a whitewater rafting guide. As his family grew, Wes found it increasingly difficult to balance life on the river with life at home. Hesitant to sever his ties with Grand Canyon he founded Around the Bend Adventures to continue sharing his knowledge of the area with visitors from around the world. For two years prior to the formation of Bright Angel Bicycles Wes led day trips and hikes at the South Rim of Grand Canyon. This time on the rim allowed Wes to see the groundwork being laid for a bicycle service on the South Rim. It was logical that a bicycle tour service would be well received; it presented a unique, affordable, and environmentally friendly way for people to experience the canyon. Bringing bicycles to Grand Canyon became a driving passion for Wes. Along with his wife Sarah who had a decade of graphic design and branding experience they began the process of proposing the idea to the Park and were successful. If Wes isn’t busy managing the business (or starting a new one), you’ll find him mountain biking, hiking, fishing or just enjoying God and nature with the kids.
Kyle George joined Wes as a managing partner early in the process. As a fellow river guide, parent, and small business owner Kyle and Wes had often discussed the balance of work and family framed against the landscape of Grand Canyon. Their friendship had given them a deep understanding of each other’s strengths and weaknesses and the partnership was a logical and effective choice. A longtime cyclist, Kyle’s passion and knowledge of bicycles was complemented by his business experience and years of guiding visitors through Grand Canyon. Over Kyle’s dining room table, Wes and he gave shape to the fledgling idea of the bicycle program and set to work. Kyle also continues to pursue his passion of outdoor and lifestyle photography (check out his awesome work!) . He is an avid fly fisherman and back country skier. Oh… and world’s greatest Dad. Can’t forget that one.