US-based Trek Bicycle Corporation is one of the largest bicycle manufactures in the country. The Wisconsin manufacturer plays a leading role in the $1.5 billion generated by the state’s cycling industry. It’s also is one of a select few large bicycle companies that maintains some US based manufacturing.
Trek’s sales and marketing headquarters are in the city of Waterloo, Wisconsin. Furthermore, it has distribution and manufacturing centres in nearby cities. The company accounts for nearly half the 3,500 jobs in the state’s cycling industry, with Planet Bike, Saris Cycling Group and Pacific Cycles accounting for most of the rest.
Trek has helped promote the growth of cycling in Wisconsin by working closely with cycling advocacy groups, education youth and providing sponsorship for sporting events and local teams.
“It’s been interesting to watch people here get excited and interested in cycling in Wisconsin,” said Krista Rettig, Trek’s director of advocacy and government affairs. “People in this state are recognizing the value of having a healthy sport with low impact, low cost and it’s good for the entire family. Between tourists and events, this sport is valuable to everyone participating.
“Our biggest event is the Ironman Wisconsin. But we also have events like the Chequamegon Fat Tire Festival, a mass start mountain bike ride with 3,500 people. We have a lot of charity rides with anywhere between two and five thousand people. Wisconsin Off Road Series sponsored by our Gary Fisher brand, Trek 100 and there is a ride every weekend of some sort.”
Of the $1.5 billion dollars generated through the cycling industry, estimates credit between $208 million and $278 million to tourism and recreation. Rettig says that cycling is continuing to grow in Wisconsin because of the well-maintained roads. Furthermore, the variable terrain across the state attracts cyclists from around the world.
“I think that we have fabulous roads due to the dairy industry,” Rettig said. “It is flat in the East [and] glacial and hilly in the West, which is our secret. Not many people know that some areas of Wisconsin are so hilly. Then, in the north we have beautiful forests for mountain biking.”
Wisconsin has earned a gold status member of the League of American Bicyclist’s Bike Friendly States (BFS), a nation-wide awards program aimed to recognize states that actively support bicycling. It also provides other states with a model on how to be more bike friendly. States are awarded with platinum, gold, silver and bronze status whereby they are encouraged to improve upon existing bike friendliness. Trek plays an active role in the state’s BFS achievements.
“It is our objective to grow the sport in the state and we would love to be the number one platinum level state,” Rettig said. “We have been working closely with the Bicycle Federation of Wisconsin and we have mapped out a ten-year plan to convert it from a 3.6 percent load share to a 20 percent load share. We want to see how we can improve people’s quality of living and hope that it translates into other cities in Wisconsin.”