A quick business trip to Chicago landed me with 5 hours to burn in the Windy City. A quick pass through the Rolodex and my first thought was to connect with SRAM’s Eric Schutt, who manages PR for the mountain bike division. A few emails and a couple of days later and a tour of the headquarters was arranged.
After a nice lunch chat about the industry and business in general, we hopped right into the tour of the offices. In the basement, there’s a small warehouse that’s used to quick-ship items for warranty, media or other quick needs. As expected, a full bike storage and shower facility makes this a bike-friendly office.
Hopping onto the 4th floor, we dropped right into the line of fire with a small test track to see just how new parts perform. Making a quick lap around the building, I was able to see where all the magic happens–engineers doing what they do best–designing cutting-edge bike components. I was even able to see some prototype drawings and other stuff that I was asked not to photograph (hmmm… wouldn’t you like to know?).
Other cool stops included the prototype lab–a full machine shop with the ability to build full-scale mockups of various materials. These guys are definitely dedicated to rigorous testing and putting out quality products. It was great to see these guys heads-down working on bettering their products.
Thanks again for the tour, Eric!
Here are a few shots inside SRAM HQ:
A Note About World Bicycle Relief
One of the best highlights of the tour was a stop in with Chris Strout, Communication Manager for World Bicycle Relief, which also calls SRAM HQ home. This program is absolutely amazing as it raises awareness and money to provide quality bicycles and maintenance of those bicycles to developing communities throughout the world. We are lucky enough to use bikes for pleasure, but in many 3rd-world countries, a bicycle means the difference between education or not or income or not.
Here’s one of the frames used by World Bicycle Relief:
Look for more details on World Bicycle Relief in the future, but I was impressed with what they are accomplishing and how they are bettering the lives of thousands of people worldwide.
More Info: Visit WorldBicycleRelief.org
Not the greatest images… my Blackberry is no replacement for a real camera! 🙂