It’s hard to know how to thank someone like Richard Grimm.
For years, Richard, a retired mechanic, has been an integral part of our Bike Safety Education program — from modifying his truck to transport bicycles to riding along with our classes. He can make just about anything out of metal and can give just about any student the confidence and time they need to learn to ride a bike for the first time.
So how do you thank a guy who could build anything he could ever want?
I decided getting him a tour of Chris King Precision Components, the manufacturer of high-end headsets, hubs, and bottom brackets, would be right up his alley.
When Richard first saw the inside of Chris King’s factory in NW Portlad, he concluded, “This is the real deal!” and once he saw a Bridgeport milling machine like his own, he felt right at home. Questions about heat-treating, bearing adjustment, materials sourcing, and stuff I don’t understand started to fly between Richard and King’s staff.
We saw the production facilities for Cielo, Chris King’s handmade bicycle brand. Richard enjoyed seeing the facilities, but concluded the bikes looked like they’d be uncomfortable for his back. He and his wife rode cross-country on custom Portland-built Merz touring bikes in the 70s but in recent years, he’s switched to the more upright and cushy ride of a full-suspension mountain bike.
We were impressed to see how carefully Chris King chooses materials (all US-sourced), how sustainable their production practices are (recycling and reuse wherever possible), and how well their employees are treated (they get paid to bike to work!).
My favorite part, though, was seeing one of our favorite volunteers in his element, delighting in the way things are made.
Big thanks to Kyle von Hoetzendorff at Chris King and, of course, big thanks to Richard for being a volunteer all-star.
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