Car Less Ohio

Promoting the bicycling lifestyle in The Buckeye State

Tag Archives: postaweek2011

Specialized Bicycles Groveport Open House

Ohio was once home to the factories that produced some of the most recognized names in bicycles: Murray, Huffy, and others. With the exception of a few small custom frame-builders, there aren’t that many bicycles being manufactured in these parts any more. However, the bicycle industry is thriving here in Ohio.

Ohio and other parts of the Midwest enjoy a position in geography that makes us not more than a couple day’s drive from every population center in the eastern United States. That makes Ohio a good choice as a base for warehousing and distributing products made elsewhere around the world. Many of the most well-known names in today’s bike industry take advantage of this by having distribution centers located in Ohio. These include Raleigh USA (in Pataskala), Bianchi USA, Seattle Bike Supply (in Reynoldsburg, distributors of the Redline, Torker, and Lapierre bike brands), and Specialized.

Specialized is based in Morgan Hill, California. They operate a warehouse serving the western US from Salt Lake City, Utah. In December of 2010, Specialized moved its eastern distribution center from Grove City to Groveport, Ohio (both on the outskirts of Columbus), in order to expand their warehouse space and implement other features to make their distribution process more efficient. The company held a grand opening and open house reception on February 11, 2011, and I was among those from the local bike industry and media who were invited to attend.

I drove to the Groveport facility past row after row of mostly featureless buildings, I presumed most of which were in the same business of storing and distributing products. The Specialized building was at the end of the drive on which they are located; fortunately, they had signs and flags posted outside to let everyone know that we were in the right place. I walked in and was greeted by some of the staff, one of whom handed me a bag of schwag, which contained a Specialized Riders Club jersey, a water bottle, a book commemorating the 25th anniversary of the Stumpjumper mountain bike, a sticker, and copies of the Specialized 2011 road and mountain bike catalogs. The bag itself was a re-usable grocery bag (in Specialized red, of course).

I was immediately able to join one of the tours of the warehouse, which was led for my small group of three by Jared, one of the warehouse staff. Jared walked us through the stacks of bicycles, clothing, components, and accessories that were stored in rows of shelving units at least three, sometimes more, rows high. Jared explained that about one-half of the available space is used for bicycles, about one-quarter for what they call “equipment” (anything not a bike), and about one-quarter is currently unused.

The bicycles arrive on one side of the building, and are also shipped to bike stores back out from that same side, using either FedEx Freight or FedEx Ground. The equipment arrives on the other side, and is shipped back out on that side using FedEx Ground. Here’s the equipment side, where orders going to bike shops are packed up and prepared to be shipped out:

The warehouse area was about 63 degrees, but Jared explained that was for our benefit; it’s usually kept colder to save energy. The overhead lighting is controlled by motion sensors, so that lights are only activated when needed in an area of activity. Another energy-saving measure is the use of large industrial ceiling fans, which help to keep the warm and cool air circulating, cutting down on the amount of re-heating that needs to be done to the air (or re-cooling in the summer).

I asked Jared about the employees’ bike commuting habits; he explained that there were quite a few that went to work by bike in the old Grove City location, but now many of them live further away, plus with the cold weather and snow this time of year, there were not many people riding their bikes in. The access road to the industrial park is not very bike-friendly either, with a 55mph speed limit and little to no shoulder, much less any bike lane or trail. Once they get more settled in the new location and the weather improves, they hope to take steps to more actively promote bike commuting. I did notice that they had showers in the restrooms.

Back in the reception area (the staff break room), I enjoyed some refreshments and talked to some of the other guests. I spoke to Lynette Carpiet, a journalist with Bicycle Retailer and Industry News, the bike industry trade publication. She flew to Ohio just to cover this event; being based in southern California, she marveled at how anyone could think of riding in our winter weather!

I sidled up to a group of a few guys, and noticed that one of them was none other than Ned Overend, the mountain biking legend. I asked if it was okay to get a photo with him, and he obliged; he was quite friendly and down-to-earth. We chatted a bit, surprisingly not about his illustrious racing career, but about cycling advocacy. We said he was really impressed with all of the work various groups do all around the country to improve bike access and awareness.

The formal part of the event started after everyone had their chance to take the warehouse tour. Kim Peterson, Specialized’s National Director of Distribution, introduced Jesse Rogers, the manager of the Groveport distribution center in which we were sitting. Jesse is the oldest employee at Specialized, having run the Ohio distribution center from its various different locations since it was first established 29 years ago. He described how the process was run at the very beginning, and how it has evolved and become larger and yet more efficient over the years.

Other speakers included the eastern regional sales manager for Specialized, a representative from the Greater Columbus Chamber of Commerce, a representative from the business development office of Groveport, and Ned Overend, who talked about how the feedback from professional racers sponsored by Specialized goes directly into the product design and development process. Finally, a drawing was held to give away a Specialized Roubaix road bike, and the winner was Matt Ford, an employee of one of the Bike Source stores.

For the final event, the group assembled outside the front door of the building for an official ribbon-cutting ceremony.

Thank you to Specialized for their invitation to this event. You can see more photos in this slide show:

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Cleveland Heights and Riverside work to complete bike facilities

Two stories in this week’s news highlight the efforts of two Ohio communities to improve their bicycle-friendliness.

Cleveland Heights is working to obtain two grants to improve bicycle and public transportation access to neighboring University Heights and the rest of Cleveland. More details can be found in this article in the Sun Press.

The city of Riverside is working to complete a 3.6 mile section of bike trail through the city, completing connections to existing adjacent trails and communities. Funding is in place, but construction cannot begin until easements from several property owners are obtained, along with approval from the city council. A public input meeting is scheduled for February 7. Full details are in the Dayton Daily News.

Winter Cross-Training

In years past, I’ve done a fair amount of winter riding. This year, however, I can’t seem to get the motivation to bundle up and get out on two wheels, so I’ve not been very good at promoting going by “car less.”

Not that I have any shortage of bikes to ride, but another thing distracting me from my off-season riding is this year’s round of winter bike projects. Each winter, I seem to go through a set of changes to the configurations of my various bikes; not that any of these changes are really necessary, but it’s just something to do to keep things interesting. The problem is, the bike projects are inter-connected, e.g. I can’t finish Bike A because it needs the handlebar from Bike B, which needs the wheels from Bike C, which needs the old crankset from Bike A, etc. I feel like I need a project manager to keep track of it all, but on the positive side, there are worse problems to have.

I’ve been pretty good about putting in some time on the indoor trainer to stay in shape, but yesterday I got out to do some of my favorite cross-training activity, cross-country skiing.

The temperature was about 31 degrees when I left home; I figured that would be perfect, as it was still cold enough that the show would not be wet and sticky, but a relief from the bone-chilling cold in the teens and single-digit temperature ranges that we had over the past weekend.

I drove up to Punderson State Park, in Newbury in Geauga County, Ohio. I skied the Huron Trail (1.3 miles), the Cayuga Trail (2.2 miles), and the unofficial unmarked loop around the perimeter of the golf course (I’m guessing about 2 miles). The snow was in good condition as I had hoped. There were some tracks from previous skiers, although it looked like the last traffic had been before the latest dusting of new snow that had fallen. The only other person I came across was a guy on a snowmobile, which helped in a few cases, as his track packed down the snow in a few spots where the ski track was not well established.

There’s a Sports Center building on the left side of the park access road, but the trails mentioned above (and most of the other trails) are on the right side near the golf course. The Sports Center has a sledding hill, and I’m guessing they probably have snacks, restrooms, and a warm place to hang out and change if you need it, but the web site doesn’t list their hours or services. If you don’t need any of that, then it’s easiest to just park at the golf course (follow the signes) and hop right onto the trails from there.

Public input sought for Towpath Trail route in Tuscarawas County

The Akron Beacon-Journal reports that the Akron-based Ohio & Erie Canalway Coalition is holding two public meetings on January 24, 2011 to solicit public feedback on proposed routes for the segment of the Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail between Zoarville and New Philadelphia. The first meeting is at 6:00pm in the pavilion at Tuscora Park, 161 Tuscora Ave, New Philadelphia. The second meeting is at 7:30pm in Memorial Hall, 410 N. Wooster Ave, Dover.

Two of my favorite Christmas gifts

I have not been motivated to do much outdoor riding this winter, but I received two Christmas gifts that may help get me motivated. Here I am giving them a quick driveway-length test ride:

A company called Bar Mitts makes a product like the hand warmers shown; they come in versions specific for road drop handlebars with Shimano or Campagnolo brake/shift levers, as well as for flat handlebars. Mine actually came from Cabela’s, and are intended for the Quad ATV set, but when you’re using then on a mountain/hybrid handlebar, they’re essentially the same thing as the Bar Mitts version. The only drawback to either is that they won’t play nice if you have bar-end extensions.

As for the wheel light, it will complement the multiple headlights and taillights that I’m already using, but when commuting in the dark, you can never have too many lights.

On a side note, this is my first post in the Post a Week 2011 campaign being promoted by (which is the service on which this blog is hosted).