27 Mar Who made Your Bike?Reading Time: 4 minutes
Do you know where your bike was made? Or who made it? Does it matter to you?
We are living in a time when consumers are concerned less and less about this. They have grown up in a country that no longer manufactures things. It’s just the way it is.
But does it have to be this way? ALLIED was born because we asked ourselves this same question. How did we get to this point? Are we better off than we used to be? And most importantly, can we bring bicycle manufacturing back to the United States and be successful? I committed to this project because I believe the answer is unequivocally yes. After working on the front lines of the cycling industry standard for 10 years I grew tired of the status quo and was sure that there was a better way. I knew we could provide superior bikes with superior quality if we controlled all of the pieces – from design, to branding, to manufacturing. I knew that I could continue to do what I loved – design bicycles of unparalleled quality and performance – without having to travel to the other side of the world to get them made. We could just do it ourselves. What I didn’t realize was what a profound change it would have on my view of what “MADE HERE” means.
Chances are, if you’re reading this, that your bike is probably the third, second, or for some, the most expensive thing you own. Not only that, but if you’re like me, it is the thing that you’re most emotionally connected to because it is the tool that facilitates something you love – bike riding.
I’m going to make an assumption that you care about bikes as much as I do. Don’t you think you should expect transparency into how it was made? And who made it? Were they given a fair wage? Were they given health care? Was their work environment safe? Did they have to comply with environmental standards? Were they treated fairly? We care about these things in all other aspects of our lives – food, clothing, service industries, technology. Why wouldn’t we care about it with a product that we spend so much time and money on, and that we care deeply about?
I can’t speak for every bicycle company, and I am not here to claim that they turn a blind eye to their manufacturing. However, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that in most of the countries where bicycles are made, these standards aren’t exactly transparent in nature. As a consumer, you should be able to ask and find out the answers to these questions. And you should hold the companies you support accountable by asking them.
I would argue the value of MADE HERE goes even further. Manufacturing is a unique industry. In what other work environment do you get the mixing of folks from all walks of life and all socioeconomic backgrounds? That diversity is critical to understanding our neighbor and stepping outside of our comfort zone. And that perspective, that care, results in higher quality products. There was once a time in this country when the question “where was this made?” was an easy one to answer because if you sold something, you made it. As globalization has taken hold, that question is now met with a variety of answers, and most of the time it’s a place where you’ve never been and know little about. This new normal has created a vacuum that has stripped many people in this country of a fair shot at the American dream.
When we decided to start this company, there was no question where we would make our bikes. Yes, we believe by doing this that we can provide a superior product, superior quality, superior service, and unparalleled transparency. But we also believe we can do some good. We can have a positive effect on our communities, our neighbors, and bring back just a little of what once made America the gold standard of innovation and quality. I challenge you to ask the hard questions when you are buying a product, and attempt to seek out the companies that are trying to do it HERE.
Sam Pickman, CEO and Employee #3, ALLIED CycleWorks