RKP isn’t what I’d call a news site. It wasn’t founded on the idea of being the first word on anything; indeed, I’d rather be the last word on something, as in the definitive word. Every now and then, however, I do think it’s worth mentioning something that is especially present tense.
A recurring news story regards the many shortages that abound. Like many of you, despite all the news stories talking about supply chain issues and production shortfalls due to a sick workforce, I still struggle to understand why some items (natural peanut butter?) are in short supply. I haven’t seen a container of Clorox wipes since wint—er, the rainy season.
It would be easy to think that many of the problems plaguing our current situation, like the scarcity of personal protective equipment, fall outside of the bike industry’s expertise. As it turns out, a number of bike industry manufacturers have shifted metaphoric gears to help out.
In a first-among-equals nod, Yeti Cycles deserves a round of applause for working with Smith Optics and Black Diamond to produce face shields for healthcare workers. The message from Yeti is so simple as to be poetic:
“You’ve always had our backs. It’s time we had yours.”
Yeti is producing the shield portion of the face shield, while Black Diamond and Smith are supplying band material used in goggles.
While Yeti is producing their masks in-house, Specialized is working with their Asian suppliers to produce masks on a large scale and has brought in more than 40,000 three-ply and KN-95 masks.
Specialized has yet another initiative that is worth noting. Recognizing that essential workers need reliable transportation, the big, red S has created a program for essential workers to apply to receive a free bike; alternatively, if you know an essential worker, you can refer someone to the program.
Closer to home (my home, anyway), Santa Cruz is making face shields in-house. They may be producing some of the more sophisticated face shields out there as they are using a CNC machine ordinarily dedicated to cutting carbon fiber and a 3D printer to produce some of the small parts. They report that they are producing 1000 shields per day.
Our advertiser, Primal, is producing face masks for all of us who live in states where we’ve been ordered to do so, or if not ordered to do so, are just operating with good sense. And if you’ve got an idea for something cool to put on a face mask, you can place a custom order with them (minimum of 25 pieces). They are also producing a variety of Maskas (also known as buffs), and are offering 50 percent off to members of the military, first responders and medical professionals.
Similarly, Champion System and Eliel are also producing masks. I especially like that one of Eliel’s masks is emblazoned with the words, “Inside, I’m smiling at you.” Not being able to see faces and ascertain whether someone is smiling or frowning has been unsettling.
Park Tool, which is based in Minnesota, contacted the Minnesota Department of Health emergency services and offered to donate 35,000 pairs of nitrile gloves. They reported that someone was on scene within an hour to pick them up. And yes, the gloves were blue.
And because so many health care workers are logging overtime, Clif Bar has committed to donating 6.6 million Clif, Luna and Clif Kid bars to health care workers as well as others in need. They’ve already delivered 3 million to first responders, food banks and other nonprofits.
We’re living through a time about which books will be written, college courses taught, a time that will spur any number of future college students to study everything from microbiology and virology to emergency planning and economics. So until the next generation figures out how to prevent this from happening again, I am reminded that we all have a role to play right now. Good luck out there.