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Meet Shelley Patterson of Buddy Bike in North Miami Beach

Today we’d like to introduce you to Shelley Patterson.

In the early 1990’s Robert “Bob” Gardner from Willits, California created what would eventually become the Buddy Bike. Bob, a bicycle enthusiast, was inspired to customize a bike to ride with his young son Isaac. He had the innovation of adding a seat and foot pegs in front of his seat. Isaac enjoyed riding in front but wanted his own pedals so Bob welded two bicycle frames together. He called the unique tandem bicycle the Love Bike and began production in 1996.

In 2003, Barry Nelson, the father of a child with autism, began searching for a bicycle to use with his son Jesse. Barry enjoyed outdoor activities with his other children but had difficulty finding an activity that he could share with Jesse. Barry tried many options without success until he purchased a used Love Bike. Barry enjoyed the time that he spent with Jesse on the Love Bike and wanted other families to have the same experience. In 2005, Barry purchased the patent and remaining inventory of the Love Bike with a Trust benefiting Jesse and he changed the name of the bicycle to the Buddy Bike.

In 2005, Barry hired his long-time law firm Marketing Coordinator, Shelley as the Director of Marketing and Business Development of Buddy Bike. She manages all aspects of the business including product development and provides excellent and timely service to customers and bicycle dealers. She takes pride in representing a company that provides a quality bicycle that changes the lives of many families. She strives to build a company that promotes cycling and brings the cycling experience to as many special needs families as possible, especially those who might not otherwise be able to ride a bicycle.

Buddy Bike, LLC is the manufacturer and distributor of The Buddy Bike, an alternative inline tandem bicycle. Buddy Bike, LLC operates from its office in North Miami Beach, Florida. Fairing Industries in Chino, California coordinates product development, manufacturing and shipping. The Buddy Bike is currently manufactured in China. Since founding the business in 2005, nearly 900 Buddy Bikes and Love Bikes have been sold worldwide.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
Buddy Bike was founded in 2005. In 12 years the business has seen minimal to no profit. Operating a small business with few resources can be challenging; but thankfully social media and online outlets have allowed us to reach more of our target audience – special needs families and the schools, organizations and camps that cater to them – at a reasonable cost. The Buddy Bike is a quality product that is built to last and its features are fairly unique, providing the freedom that only a bicycle can offer for kids who might not otherwise be able to ride a bike. When we receive comments and photos from the families with special needs kids around the world who say the Buddy Bike has changed their lives, it makes the hard work all worthwhile and makes us feel rich, despite what the bank statements reflect.

Here is an example of the type of customer comments that we receive which fill our hearts, “The joy I have literally brings tears to mine and my wife’s eyes. I can’t even talk about how much it’s doing for my son without getting emotional!! All I wanted to see my entire life is to see my son enjoy/embrace the things like riding a bike that make for great memories as a child. Now has this opportunity, thanks to you all!!”

See more Customer Comments at

Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Buddy Bike – what should we know?
Buddy Bike, LLC is the manufacturer of The Buddy Bike®, the alternative inline tandem bicycle (bicycle for two) that places the stoker (smaller rider) in the front seat while the rear rider controls the steering. The Buddy Bike has a lower front seat so both riders can safely enjoy the view. It is shorter in length than a typical tandem, making it easier to store and transport. The Buddy Bike is CPSC safety-rated for up to 380 pounds; making it the ultimate family bike that can be enjoyed by riders of most ages and abilities. The features of the Buddy Bike offer adaptive outdoor recreation and therapeutic activity to riders with cognitive or physical disabilities who may not be able to ride a bicycle safely on their own or who do not have the strength to pedal a bike alone. The Buddy Bike allows riders with autism, down syndrome, sight impairment or other disabilities to experience the thrill of riding a bicycle with the whole family. They are no longer left behind!

Buddy Bike is not only known for building a quality bicycle that provides the freedom of cycling to special needs kids, but we are known as an adaptive cycling resource. We have spent over a decade building relationships with other adaptive bicycle manufacturers and bicycle dealers who also believe in our goal to put more people on bicycles and in the idea that there is a bicycle for everyone regardless of their age, size or ability. We have participated in events that promote cycling for all and inclusion.

We take pride in providing the customer service that goes above and beyond selling products. We understand the financial strains that some special needs families endure; so we have collected resources to help the families find funding options to obtain the Buddy Bike as therapeutic equipment. We participate with organizations that help the families as well. We want to put the Buddy Bike within the reach of all the families who need them.

Any shoutouts? Who else deserves credit in this story – who has played a meaningful role?
The Buddy Bike has been able to help nearly 900 families, schools and organizations around the world thanks to the creativity, dedication and hard work of several people. Bob Gardner from Willits, California is the brilliant bicycle man who invented the Love Bike, which is now called the Buddy Bike. Barry and Judi Nelson are the Founders of Buddy Bike. They recognized the importance and benefits of the bike for special needs riders and wanted other families to experience the same joy that they had when riding with their son, Jesse Nelson, who has autism. Jesse is the true inspiration, as without Jesse, the Buddy Bike would not exist as it is today, nor would it have changed the lives of so many other families with special needs kids. Shelley L. Patterson, Director of Marketing & Business Development, has developed the Buddy Bike business into what it is today – a company with heart that sees each customer as part of an extended family. Buddy Bike is also grateful to Fairing Industries in Chino, California, whose knowledgeable staff have provided priceless support since 2005.

Contact Info:

Getting in touch: VoyageMIA is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.


  1. Shelley at Buddy Bike

    October 19, 2017 at 3:43 pm

    Thank you VoyageMIA for sharing my story and helping to spread the word about the Buddy Bike!

  2. David Cohen

    October 19, 2017 at 9:49 pm

    Awesome bike, awesome company. Changing lives! Go Shelley!

    • Jeanette Jordan

      October 20, 2017 at 9:46 pm

      Awesome! This brought tears to my eyes……..

  3. Malcolm Chen

    October 19, 2017 at 11:38 pm

    Shelly’s passionate caring work really shined through the hearts of community especially the special needs and caregivers. She is an Angelic person. KUDOS!

  4. Jeanette Jordan

    October 20, 2017 at 9:47 pm

    What an incredible, wonderful story.

  5. Pam Patterson

    October 22, 2017 at 2:27 am

    Good story! Good People, Great Product. Changing Lives!!!

  6. Beulah

    October 22, 2017 at 10:28 am

    I am so proud of you Shelly! You are truly a devoted, dedicated and caring person.

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