Every great product has a great story and the Honey Badger Wheel game carrier by Leed Bicycle Solutions is no exception. I've been an outdoor enthusiast since I can remember. My first memories are hunting with my dad.
When I was six years old I remember a hunting trip in the mountains East of Salt Lake City. We spent the morning hiking on the mountain tops of Red Butte Canyon glassing the valleys below. We took a break from hunting around lunch time to regain our energy with Kipper Snacks. While my dad took a short nap in the sun I spent my time building a deer trap with sticks that I carved into sharp spears thinking I'd "catch" a deer while my dad slept.
Were the sticks sharp enough to spear a deer? Probably, not. Did I build my "trap" on a deer path? Probably, not. Did we "catch" a deer? Definitely, not. But as a six year-old, my imagination and desire to participate in the hunt proved worthy of a hunting partner.
Dad shot a big buck later that afternoon. That was the first hunting trip that I can remember dragging a deer out of the mountains. It took several long hours for my old man to drag the big buck from the bottom of the valley back to the vehicle. We didn't make it back to the truck until long after dark.
Thinking back on the trip, I imagine the hide and meat were in bad shape. Dad had to drag the buck over rocks, dirt, and across the stream a few times. The meat was exposed to everything in between the place we field dressed the deer and the truck.
Almost twenty years later, I too have taken deer out of the field the same way dozens of times. I've quartered many elk and packed them out on horses. I've deboned moose and made many trips in and out carrying it on my back. I've also had to drag moose and load it into a boat. It has never been easy, always part of the hunt, but I've known there could be better ways after the kill.
Many years later I look back on exciting hunts like this and appreciate those times spent with my dad together in the wild enjoying the great outdoors.Over the years, I've used different types of game carts and sleds in the snow. Each method of removing the animal has had its drawbacks. The sled has really only been useful in the snow and was never easy to drag up hill. The two-man game carts I've used are difficult to balance, required two people, and were incredibly large and heavy. I've spent years trying to find a better solution.
So after a few years in the military I decided to start my own bicycle company. I had an injury that prevented me from continuing with a military career. After the Army, I wanted to continue an active lifestyle as before and decided to build a business that would help others facing similar physical limitations.
I traveled to China looking for products and began a business building electric bike kits that converted any bicycle into an electric bike. This kit makes it possible for injured veterans, baby boomers, or bicycle commuters to commute quicker to work or merely ride a bicycle like they used to when they were younger or before a serious injury.
A couple years later, I decided to take advantage of my business contacts overseas to begin developing a new type of game cart. Still, nothing I could find on the market even overseas provided a solution, and the challenge of innovation through overseas engineers proved to be an obstacle.
Finally, in 2014 we decided to build our own game carrier from scratch using 3D CAD / CAM software tools. The resulting design allows the user to remove full-sized mule deer from the field with our deer carrier accessory. It also allows the user to operate the Honey Badger Wheel with a fat bike wheel on our design even in heavy snow. This same design also allows for quartered or deboned big game like moose, elk, and caribou to removed from the field with ease.
As our engineering firm and product development team worked the new design for our wheel frame, we sought the applicability of the product to other areas such as a trail stroller for kids, a dual cooler mounted wheel, a beach capable cart, a back country packing system, and more. Our engineering team began working designs and my kids became the product testers. I've wanted to build an all-terrain stroller since I had my first kid and couldn't take them on long hikes. That has all changed.
We took the kid-ready system into the mountains and tested every possible scenario with the wheel. We took the Honey Badger Wheel to the beach and explored the capabilities of our cooler platform and free swiveling arms. We even began using the wheel at the local soccer fields. The feedback we received everywhere was incredible.
We realized we had something much greater than we originally imagined and have been running full steam to launch the product in the first quarter of 2016. We now have a fully operable Honey Badger Wheel and look forward to seeing how it improves time spent with the kids and ending the challenge of dragging big game back to the vehicle following a successful hunt. The possibilities are endless and we look forward to seeing how it improves your experience outdoors.