E-Motion Rollers are a unique product on the market. Their story, and the story of their inventor (Larry Papadopoulos) are just as unique and intriguing! We're presenting a two-part Q&A series with Larry to share the story with you.
Part 1: Let's meet the man, Larry Papadopoulos.
- Larry, Where did you grow up?
I grew up in Corvallis, Oregon. My dad taught mathematics at OSU. There were 5 kids in our family and all of us knocked around on bikes in our rural neighborhood. If we wanted to go somewhere we either walked or biked. In the summer I would often spend the entire day on my own and never hear from my parents. Bikes gave us real freedom.
- When did you become interested in cycling? Who got you into riding; was cycling an interest of other family members?
My older brother Jim, who is a bike geek and professor of mechanical engineering, got me interested in bikeswhen I was still a kid, but I didn't get into the sporting aspect until after high school. That was when the first commercial mountain bikes became available and I got hooked.
- What is your favorite genre of riding? Has this changed over time?
I was ridingoffroad way before it was a thing and was I alwaystrashing my regular bikes. Mountain bikes came along at just the right time in my life because they combined my athletic interest with the fun of offroad riding. You also had to be mechanically self sufficient to fix things trailside. I felt like the sport was designed just for me. Although I ride plenty of road now, I never owned a proper road bike untilwas over 40 and mountain bikes are still my natural sport. My personal motto is "the road to hell is paved..."
- Have you raced bikes? How did you do?
Yes I raced mountain bikes back in the day and did well enough to compete at a respectable level, but I knew my limitations and also that the sport's best riders are incredible... superhuman.
- Have you traveled for cycling? What is your favorite place to ride and where is your dream destination?
Back then there were no local races so yes I did have to travel out of state to compete, but I never traveled for recreational riding. We had agreat local trail system in Corvallis and I never got tired of riding there.
- Is there a race, a favorite ride or a particular cycling incident that you will never forget?
Yeah. It was the first time I raced against pro mountain bikers. I had missed my expert race due to logistical issues which involved a problem with a rental car and having to ride a Greyhound bus all night to get to the race. I was allowed to line up behind the pros and just ride my own race, and for that I was thankful and figured I should stay back and not trip any pros up during the start. It was a dusty and chaotic race at first, so I didn't know where I was in the pack, but the leaders were steadily pulling away and I settled in. I never noticed anyone behind me so I figured I was going to be bringing up the rear. Towards the end of what seemed like a very lonely race, I was feeling pretty well hammered but did catch on to one of the pro guys on a straight stretch of dirt road and just tucked in behind him. When he said I should take a pull, I knew he was hurting and I just took off. It turns out I was not too far behind the main group and I ended up in the top ten with half the field still behind me. Needless to say, I was pumped.