|Woodinville company is a superstar of innovative bicycle products|
|Written by Deborah Stone|
When you’ve lived in a community a long time, you might think you’re pretty clued in on the businesses that exist in the area. It’s always a surprise then to discover a company that has been around for a few decades and yet somehow has escaped your radar. Take Sportworks Northwest, for example, a business that has called Woodinville home since 1990. The company, which is known for designing and manufacturing innovative bicycle products, was founded by Woodinville residents and avid cyclists, Michael and Sandi Reeves.
Back when it began, Sportworks was a contract manufacturing facility working primarily with SCOTT USA Bikes to make handlebars, forks and suspension forks for road and mountain bikes.
Then in 1993, the company went off on its own after being awarded a contract by King County Metro to design and manufacture transit bike racks.
“This was the first product of its kind for buses,” explains Derek Sanden, V.P. of Sales and Marketing for Sportworks. “And King County Metro was the first transit system in the U.S. to have them on their fleet.”
The company started growing little by little and as bike ridership increased, more municipalities across the country needed the special racks for their buses.
Today, Sportworks owns 95 percent of the market for this product.
“Sportworks transit racks are used by 500 municipalities throughout North America and carry over one million bicycles per month,” says Sanden.
“The bike rack has become an essential piece of equipment for buses and we make ten different styles, which we market and sell to transit agencies and municipalities.” This month, the company is getting ready to launch a line of bike parking products featuring the new No Scratch Bike Rack. Blending a durable protective bumper, modern design and high quality materials, this revolutionary bike rack is ideal for colleges, universities, small businesses, office and residential buildings, sports arenas and other urban settings where bicycles are utilized.
“We have two styles of the rack,” comments Sanden. “There’s the standard-sized Tofino and then there’s a smaller version, the Westport. And they can be customized with a sign plate for a logo, name or image.”
He adds, “What’s great is that the rack has a fully-integrated bumper. It’s durable and non-abrasive and will protect bikes from scratches and other damage.”
Sanden notes that the line took about a year to develop and was designed to meet the Association of Pedestrian and Bicycle Professionals’ Bicycle Parking Guidelines. He also points out that all of Sportworks’ bike racks are “Red List” compliant, meeting the material sourcing criteria of the Living Building Challenge and Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification programs for new and existing buildings.
The company’s products are produced using post-industrial recycled materials and non-toxic finishes. “We design and manufacture everything right here in our 25,000-square-foot facility in Woodinville,” says Sanden.
“And every product has been tested and proven to last.” Sportworks currently has 70 employees. Its growth, according to Sanden, has been steady. “We’ve been fortunate that the economic pull-backs have had minimal impact on us,” he adds. “We’ve managed to remain relatively stable. What’s helped us is the federal assistance money that has been available for transit authorities to buy bike racks. And then the rising fuel prices have caused some people to look for alternative modes of transportation to get to work.” Sanden believes that as bikes increase in usage, the racks will be in major demand.
For more information about Sportworks Northwest and its products: www.sportworks.com.