Inside Felt: Meet Alan Foster, BMX Legend
Alan Foster is a legend in the sport of BMX, and a veteran of the bicycle industry. A former Lifestyle Product Manager at Felt Bicycles, Alan now utilizes his decades of experience racing, wrenching, and designing bikes by heading up the company's customer service team. Alan now offers a little insight into his day-to-day life, what inspires him, and, of course, his key to success.
How did you get into bikes?
As a kid I loved riding my BMX bike in the woods all day and tinkering around with them at night. By age 15, I was working in a local bike shop. Now in my mid-40s, I turn into a grumpy old guy if I’m off the bike for too long.
How did you arrive at Felt?
About 11 years ago, I was at the tail-end of a BMX racing career and I got a phone call from a friend at the perfect time. “Would you be interested in helping kick-start a BMX program for a company bringing bikes to the USA next year?” It was the dream phone call and perfect gig for me at the time. My position has rolled from BMX Team Manager to BMX Brand Manager to Lifestyle Product Manager to Customer Service.
Can you explain what you do in 100 words or fewer?
The Felt brand managers, engineering team, and creative department all give me the ingredients to put together a puzzle. I take the puzzle and work with parts makers and our factories to create bike gems that the marketing and sales departments hopefully sell to ecstatic riders. If it is a Felt and it has a Schrader valve, then most likely that puzzle falls under me.
What’s your favorite bike to ride?
It’s impossible to pick just one. Older Felt BMX bikes on smooth trails and track, Felt Compulsion at any MTB park, older cruisers for hitting the beach, the Z3 to stay fit on road rides, or the older X-City model for exploring the streets and popping wheelies.
What’s the craziest thing you’ve seen on the road or trail?
Scotty Cranmer’s skills on a BMX bike, just playing around in a parking lot.
What was the last thing that inspired you, and where do you look to for inspiration?
Hard-working, humble people inspire me, along with the results from their hard work.
What superpower would you have and why?
The ability to function without sleep. I need more hours in the day.
Name three people who recently inspired you:
1. My older kid’s soccer coach and the amount of volunteer hours he puts in to help the kids.
2. [Felt's Vice President of Operations] Michael Forte for his ability to break down any tough situation into simple terms for a decision.
3. My Aunt BJ for her resourcefulness.
What’s the one thing you can’t live without?
My wife and two children.
What has been your favorite Felt bike to work on and why?
Wow, that is a tough one. There have been so many over the years. I liked the challenge of making the Café 7 mens all black bike, and some of the old tank cruisers have been cool projects. But, my favorite project was probably a 2012 Pyre BMX bike. That bike has a ton of cool hidden features.
Where’s your favorite place that your job has taken you?
Ft. Collins, Colorado. The first time I visited New Belgium Brewery was an awesome trip.
Coffee or Tea?
Not too often for either, but I’ll go with coffee.
Paved or Dirt?
I enjoy both, but dirt is my first choice, with a few jumps added in.
High-tech or low-tech?
Simple and clean.
What’s in your garage?
A crap load of bikes! Each family member needs a BMX bike, a beach cruiser, and a mountain bike at minimum. Throw in a road bike, a city bike, a tandem, a three-wheeler for grandma, and it is a lot.
What's your advice for success?
Be honest, be a hard worker, and be real, all while being clean and organized.