Archives for the month of: June, 2010

So Michael Engleman is a friend, and he runs the US Women’s Cycling Development Program, and that seems like a great project to me, so I dig that Hüdz can support them. And, because Michael is such a good guy, I like doing anything I can, personally, to help him out. That means that when Michael emailed to ask if I knew anyone who had a ‘team car’ that he could borrow for a few weeks to do Nature Valley and Elite Nationals that I was happy to offer up my Hüdz-Subaru Outback.

The only catch is that I have to run out to our new molder, pick up a 3-year old from school, and do a lot of other things that some times require a car. Since my wife is driving back and forth to Leadville on a regular basis for the RMBFestival that means I’m not able to count on stealing her car. “No problem,” said Mike. “I can leave my truck for you if you need it…”

That’ll work…

And then the truck showed up.

Michael had said it was a ‘farm truck’ (a disclaimer that I was familiar with having grown up with an olive/pea-green Ford F250 from 1970 that was our ‘farm truck’ – my dad was a lawyer, but he grew up on a farm so we had a farm truck and cows on our 5 acres just for good measure). There was no way that I was prepared for this.

It wasn’t a ‘farm truck’ in mid-western standards, it was a Rocky Mountain Ranch Truck. The hood on this beast is taller than a Honda Civic. When I put the child seat in the back (it’s a four-door), my son’s head is higher than mine when he’s all buckled in and I’m standing on the ground.

If my calculations are right, then I’m getting about 8 mpg in this thing also. Plus it’s so big that I can’t even begin to think about parallel parking it, so I have to use parking garages and lots all the time, and that’s getting expensive too. And for the coup de grace, a SmartCar dropped me like a bad habit pulling away from a stop light. If only I had some horses to haul, then this would all make sense…

My friends are loving this. Because I’m typically very environmentally-conscious, low-impact, etc. they think it’s hilarious that I’m driving this thing. Nathan (who runs our grass-roots cross team) wants a picture of me driving it to prove that it happened. Lisa from team VBF asked for a copy if Nathan gets the picture.

At least I’m contributing to a good cause, and commuting on my bike more…

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The other night my wife was hankering for Chinese food and so we ordered out and got some of the best sesame chicken I’ve ever had. At the end of dinner we all (Carol, Riis and I) opened our fortune cookies. Carol and Riis had very fitting, but typical fortunes. I opened mine last and started to laugh.

“If you want something…Take it.”

Never seen that one before. Not sure how far I could take it. The ladies at the bank were pretty sure that it didn’t extend to their vault though. I had to at least ask…

I have a new rule: Never take a business meeting on April 1. I did, hence the new rule.

For the last couple years Hüdz have been produced in Denver, CO. We like doing things locally because this is our community and rather than absolutely maximizing our profits, we like to concentrate on running a company that makes great products and does so in the most socially-responsible way possible. Part of that is keeping shipping (thus fuel usage) to a minimum and keeping our business local.

At my April 1 meeting our (now former) manufacturer basically told us that they wanted to make more money and eliminate all their business risk in working with us because other sides of their business were not doing well and the banks were all over them. They were going to put the screws to us and didn’t really care about how that effected our business.

On April 2 I began looking for a new manufacturer.

Last Friday we moved all of our inventory, molds, and raw materials to the new – still Front-Range-based – company. Our new molders are still ISO-9001 certified, medical-grade injection molders. The quality of our parts will be just as good as with the old company, but we will have a better partner for product development and prototyping which will help us as the Hüdz range grows.

The last two months have been fairly tumultuous here, but I have no doubt that they were worth it to be working with a company like the one we just moved to. As an added bonus, I don’t have to drive to Denver anymore and get caught in traffic jams on I-25…

It will take about a week to be running on all cylinders again, but we are shipping orders and working through everything efficiently to ensure the least disruption possible. In fact, it seems that even in this change-over period that we have been able to work with our new partner more efficiently than the old one even when things were in full swing for them. Again, I’m really excited about this move…

Bicycle Retailer posted this morning a release that James Douglas at Zipp had been killed in a car accident over the weekend.

The world will never be the same without him.

Jim has been a friend for more than a decade. Every time I called him and asked, “How are things and tricks?” he’d respond, “Just livin’ the dream.” It was partially banter, predominantly how he looked at everything. Sure he could get frustrated, but he had a virtually unflappable enthusiasm.

It’s particularly sad to know that he has a 9-month-old daughter who will probably never fully understand just how great a guy her dad was. Sad to think of his girlfriend going through the rest of her life without such a singularly fantastic guy to share the laughs and the load.

Everyone who knew you will miss you Jim. I definitely will.