We’re 40 and we’re thrilled!
Our 40th year in business has started off with a BANG! Here it is, only February 7th, and we already have 15 sold tandems in progress! That’s a tandem every 1.7 days for every day that we’ve been open in 2013. This is a record number of tandems to have on order this early in the year. Amongst this record tandem trend, we have huge number of touring, sport and race bikes in progress as well. If that weren’t enough, we are also on track for a record Rohloff year. Yes indeed, we’re off to a very busy 40th anniversary year!
Make it a Double
As 2013 marks 4 decades of business here in Seattle for our company, it also marks a major anniversary for me as well. 2013 is my 20th year as owner of the company. It’s hard to believe that it’s been 20 years, but I checked my watch and it’s true. Time flies when you get to work with great people I suppose. I really believe that we have the best staff in this industry, and the best staff that has ever been at R+E Cycles. I wish that everyone had the chance to work with the people that I work with on a daily basis. I’m not just talking about the staff though.
I would also like to take just a moment here to thank all of you who’ve given us the opportunity to be your bicycle company. Unlike other manufacturers, we don’t buy expensive advertising in magazines, and word of mouth is really our main form of attracting new customers. All these years you’ve been telling your friends and family about us, and that’s really what keeps us going. Each day here in the shop is like a family reunion as we recognize most customers by name. Year after year we see the same faces. I don’t want to forget about the new members of the Rodriguez family either….the long distance members. Over the last 5 years the internet has really brought a lot of new folks to the team. About 50% of our bikes are now shipped out across the U.S. or even to other countries. Even though you guys can’t make it to the shop, we still value your patronage and hope that we have been able to serve you as well as those who visit us in person.
40th Rodriguez anniversary, my 20th anniversary as owner…….I figure that’s really a double cause for some major upgrades around the shop as we venture into our 5th decade of serving our customers. Even though we are busier than we could have anticipated this winter, we’ve still cooked up some incredible projects around the shop to celebrate. Here are just a few things that we’ve been up to:
- Historical Rodriguez Display is in place
For 20 years I’ve wanted to put up a historical Rodriguez bike display. We have several Rodriguez bikes that people have donated over the years, and I’ve been storing them until I had the time to put together the display. Well, I didn’t have the time, but this winter I committed to it anyway and we got it done!
- Rodriguez tandem review in 2013’s first issue of Recumbent & Tandem Rider Magazine
Recumbent & Tandem Rider Magazine wanted to review a Rodriguez tandem. I told them that the big difference in tandems is the manufacturer’s relationship with their customer. To highlight that relationship, I wanted them to review the whole process of creating a custom Rodriguez tandem. From Fit to Finish, they took me up on it, and we built a custom tandem for their reviewer. The review is very thorough and covers the fitting process, the paint selection and everything that our customers experience when they order a Rodriguez custom tandem.
- Angel Rodriguez and Glenn Erickson both attending our open house celebration
There are not many custom shops that last 40 years. The legacy of R+E Cycles is a long one here in Seattle. For our Bike and Pike celebration this year, we wanted to have both R+E founders here to mark the occasion. I contacted both Angel (my old boss) and Glenn, and they’re both up for the event. Join us on Saturday, March 2nd and you’ll get to meet them as well as many other Seattle bike legends.
- In-store slideshow image displays
We have thousands of photos from the past and present that now live on a photo server here at R+E Cycles. We have three monitors mounted around the shop that are continuously displaying the images in a slide show fashion. It’s truly amazing the memorabilia a trip to the crawl space can produce when you’ve been around for 4 decades! I actually found boxes of photos and magazine articles hidden under the floor boards since the 1970’s. I’ve caught myself almost hypnotized watching the photos roll by, so be careful.
- New R+E Cycles T-shirts
I almost took this one off the list for 2013, but then out of the blue, our T-shirt screening company called and asked if we wanted to run T-shirts this winter. When I explained that I was too busy to go out there and put together the order, Darla offered to meet us here at the shop. Well, just this morning the first new R+E t-shirt design in over 15 years was delivered in the form of t-shirts! Lots of ’em and they look great! They’ll be on sale at the shop for $19.99. Act now, and get one at a special retro price of just $14.99 until our open house on March 2nd.
- A huge collection of Rodriguez bike photograph galleries on the website
Beau has been snapping photos like a wild man over the last few years. With about 1,000 photos of the Rodriguez bikes we’ve built just over the last 2 years, it was getting difficult to sort through them on the website. Jeremy put together a sortable database of the image galleries that you can now access on our website. It should make looking through pictures of Rodriguez bike models more fun than ever!
- The Rodriguez on-line customer scrap book is now sortable and easier to view
Since the website went up in December of 1994, the on-line customer scrap book has been growing and growing. This winter, Jeremy put together a database of the scrap book entries, and made it searchable. Now you can view the adventures of Rodriguez owners in a more ordered way that relates to the topics that you want to see. It was a trip down memory lane to format the letters and photos for the scrap book, and lots of fun times were churned up in my mind. You’ll have the same experience I’m sure, so you should check it out.
- 40th Anniversary coffee mugs and pint glasses
We had some special coffee mugs and pint glasses made for our 40th anniversary as well. They will be on sale in the shop for $6 each or $20 for a set of 4. All proceeds up until and during our March 2nd open house will be donated to Food Lifeline.
- Last and least
We’ve given the shop some needed deferred maintenance. Along with all of the other goodies, we’ve refinished the floors, painted the frame shop, and had a new sign made to mount above the entry door.
So there you have it. We’ve been very busy this winter and we hope that you enjoy some of the improvements that we’ve made to the shop and the website. Really though, it’s all about bicycles here at R+E Cycles, and now I’ve got to get back to the business of designing bikes so we can get them built. I do enjoy writing a bit, and I’ve enjoyed this time out to tell you about what we’ve been up to, but the CAD program beckons me to continue yet a few more tandem designs (one for a California customer and one for an Oregonian). Now let’s get that 5th decade underway, shall we?
Thanks for reading