If you were hanging from the edge of a cliff, a new business venture would probably not be at the top of your mind. But for Craig Payne—founder of Hustle Bike Labs and creator of the REM Pedal—it was a relevant thought. The mountain biker was enjoying a ride when he hit a boulder patch too hard and couldn’t unclip his shoes from his pedals fast enough. He was sent careening over the edge of a cliff. Luckily, he survived to tell the tale, but all it took was that moment for him to realize there was a problem that needed solving.

Payne shared his story and pitched his startup on Monday during the inaugural Catapult Outdoor Recreation Accelerator. Outdoor Retailer, Outdoor Industry Association, Moosejaw Mountaineering, and Active Interest Media (AIM, parent of SNEWS) teamed up with ICELab@Western to present a revolutionary 12-week program for entrepreneurs in the outdoor industry. This program gave three startups—Gearo, Hustle Bike Labs, and Geyser Systems—the opportunity to grow their company from inside the industry with specialists, mentors, and resources at their disposal.

After presenting their products, the founders were questioned by a group of panelists—Bruce Dotterrer of The NPD Group, Molly LaBonte of The North Face, and Nathan Fey at Colorado Outdoor Recreation Industry Office—about manufacturing processes, sustainability concerns, company goals, and more.

These innovators are paving the way for the future of the outdoor industry, pushing boundaries and offering up creative solutions in their respective niches.


Gearo founder Justine Barone saw a need for an outdoor gear rental booking service when, upon searching for paddle-board rentals in Denver, was met with a mountainous list of options. Her mission is to “simplify the rental gear discovery and booking process” by connecting users to local mom and pop rental shops, streamlining the process both for customers and retailers. Gearo is unique in that it is the sole rental booking service that encompasses all interests in the outdoor industry, from mountain biking to skiing and beyond.

Hustle Bike Labs

Of the $1.4 billion in mountain bike sales during 2018, over $50 million of that was spent on pedals. Craig Payne, founder of Hustle Bike Labs and an avid mountain biker, wants to settle the biggest debate in the mountain biking universe: flat or clipless? For any mountain bike enthusiast, the decision can often be difficult because there are pros and cons to each. But neither option provides both the performance-driven and safe send craved by all. So Payne created the REM Pedal, a revolutionary magnetic pedal system that he says will change the way you bike.

 Geyser Systems

What do five days in the Australian outback with no shower, one single bottle of water, and fifteen minutes to get ready for a blind date add up to? A stinky problem. Jonathan Ballesteros of Geyser Systems was faced with this very problem while spending a year living out of a van in Australia. Frantically scrubbing away at the layer of grime covering his body with only a washcloth, he wished for a water pump system that had an attachment to make showering outdoors more efficient. To solve this problem, he came up with Geyser Systems—“the world’s best hot portable shower.” Using one gallon of water that weighs only 11 pounds when full, it’s no wonder they are up for Outside Magazine’s 2020 Gear of the Year Award.

Find out more about the Catapult Outdoor Recreation Accelerator Program here.



The rental booking platform the outdoor industry needs

Justine Barone started Gearo after a failed attempt to find a place for her and her husband to rent paddleboards for a day-trip. Having faced this problem several times, she dug a little deeper and discovered that while many specialty shops offer rental programs, they struggle ...read more


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