Not even the most blindly optimistic of the city’s supporters would suggest that the cycling industry could step up and fill the multi-billion dollar void left by the car makers. however, this is a manufacturing city and it certainly seems that Detroit and bicycle manufacturers are in a position to help each other.
“This town has a lot of advantages,” says Marc Bay, co-founder of the Detroit Cargo Company, which makes leather bike bags. “There is really a culture of cycling growing in the city and outstanding stuff is happening in the bicycle industry here.”
It’s clear that the auto industry’s legacy of skilled workers, tooling manufacturers and raw material suppliers can be of great value to the cycle industry.
“it’s all the things connected to the auto industry,” says Steven Bock of the Detroit Bicycle Company. “here we have access to any type of machining, painting and plating. it’s all here.”
“There’s all the tooling here and it isn’t hard to find a steel supplier,” Zak Pashak of Detroit Bikes continues. “For manufacturing, Detroit is one of the best bets. also people are talking about Detroit, there are eyes on Detroit, and that got a big boost from Chrysler’s ‘imported From Detroit’ TV ad. People want to know how the city will come out of this.
While Bay’s Detroit Cargo Company was entirely homegrown, along with Detroit Bicycle Company, which makes custom hand-crafted frames in Detroit, some companies are looking to Detroit for the innovative spirit that the city still offers.
Maybe the bike industry alone isn’t enough to turn Detroit around but perhaps Pashak, Bay and Bock can help to deliver some happiness. We think everyone involved would settle for that.
Adapted from Urban Cyclist, “Riding Out of the Ashes” by Peter Suciu and Jamie Wilkins (1MB file)