Thursday, March 29, 2012

Cane Creek visit 2011

I've (we've) been going to North Carolina, specifically the area around Asheville every year (minus 2009 when The Peanut was born) for the past six year for a week's worth of riding.  It is something I (we) look forward to every year and the proverbial carrot at the end of the stick that keeps me motivated over the winter.  If you've never been you really need to go.  I would consider it a cycling Mecca.  Every year is an adventure - we find new & betterer trails, meet new people, eat at new restaurants (and return to our favourites), and have been lucky enough to meet people/companies directly involved in the global cycling scene.

Global?  Is that too strong of a word?  I don't think so.  Two years ago we visited Industry Nine and toured their facility.  You have to be living under a log if you haven't heard of them.  It's a fantastic company making amazing uber terrific product staffed by the friendliest folks around.

Cycling midget, magazine article writer and industry insider Dicky hooked us up with Industry Nine and with a bribe of Canadian maple syrup, fresh water and free medicare he was able to connect us with Eric at Cane Creek last year for a visit and tour. 
Cane Creek world headquarters.

Anyone who has ever ridden or owned a mountain bike probably had a Cane Creek headset at one point in time or another. 

They also make some schweeet rear suspension shocks like this DBAir (which is in mid production in this photo)

I was asked to step away from the secret R&D room (notice how the windows are all covered over - no shit!).  Rumour had it that they were building Cane Creek cyborbs.  We saw all sorts of cool products, testing practices, new developements, etc that I can't post up out of respect for their research and development of their industry leading products. 

Future headsets.

Like the AngleSet - this will change the way you ride your bike.

With AngleSet the head angle of a mountain bike can be transformed with ease, as the low-stack-height AngleSet offers up to six offset angle adjustments. With steeper or slacker adjustments from 0.5 to 1.5 degrees, dialing in the perfect geometry to attack the trail is a breeze. The design of AngleSet is head-tube length independent and fits most popular head-tube standards. A self-aligning feature between the bearings and the steerer-tube ensures a perfect fit and makes fork installation a snap.

I don't think I've ever been to a business where people were so friendly and eager to talk to us (though I9 were equally cool).  Maybe it was because we were Canadians packing fresh water and unlimited medicare.  Above is Judy - she's been working at Cane Creek before it was even called Cane Creek.  You wouldn't think that someone like Judy influenced the cycling industry, but she has.  She was working on the Thudbuster seatpost when we spoke to her.  She had more knowledge of suspension in her itty bitty finger than I have in my whole head.  Every staff member that we saw (they keep the means one locked away on tours) were uber friendly, happy and appeared to be very content with their jobs.

There were more machines and tools that I've never seen before.  I think they were secretly making homemade wine - looks like a corking machine if you ask me.  No one 'appeared' to be drunk during our tour - they were, however, all very super friendly.  I guess Cane Creek employees are happy drunks.  If they weren't they might have been called Surly

Eric used a lot of technical mumbo-jumbo to describe what was taking place.  My elevator doesn't always go to the top floor and I am not very good with number and technical stuff . . . all I could figure out was that big chunks of metal go in here. . . .

And come out here. . . .

And look like this.  Headset cups magically appeared before my eyes!

This is the extent of my testing products.  It smelled good.  They didn't ask me to submit a resume.

Cane Creek even had a well stocked gym for employees to work out in while at work.  In fact if you didn't work out you were beaten with a pillow case full of door knobs.  To prove the point Eric bench pressed me while in the gym.  Lunch time work group road rides are common place as world headquarters are surrounded by country roads.  Plus they had a pump track built behind the warehouse for employees to play on during breaks, lunch and after work.

 Judy took full advantage of her break times to shred on the pump track. 
 We were at Cane Creek for almost two and a half hours being given the grand tour, talking to employees and just having a good time behind the scenes of a major player in the cycling industry.  And it didn't end there.  Eric invited us out to a spirited group ride that evening at Bent Creek which some of the other Cane Creek staff took part in, along with their friends and spouses - it was one of the more fun rides we had last year as we got to see some of Bent Creek we don't normally ride, but more importantly for the comradely and tomfoolery.  The ride ended with drinks and eats at the pub. 

Huge thanks to Eric Smith and the Cane Creek staff for allowing us to visit, for their hospitality and generosity!

**Almost a year later and I finally get a semi-useful blog post up about our visit.  My apologies to Eric and Cane Creek for dropping the ball - they never asked me to write a thing - but after their kindness and southern hospitality I wanted to put something up.  Last year got busy for me and over the fall/winter I was in a state of blog-writer's block-depression.  Better late than never.


pv said...

Epic report man. Cane Creek is great to do biz with.

Every time I look at Dicky's bike I hear that song from the Wizard of Oz...."we represent the Lolipop Guild, the Lolipop Guild..."

Anonymous said...

Judy is a Pump Track Queen n my new HERO!
Go Judy

Anonymous said...

Best Working Dear friend keep working get more success in the name of LORD

used bicycles in london
used bicycles in uk
used bikes in london
used bicycles in london
secondhand bicycles in london
used bikes in uk