Factory Bike Blog

Pump Tracks for Peace

For the last 17 years, retired professional bike racer, Red Bull sports announcer, and longtime friend of the shop Claudio Caluori has been building super smooth asphalt pump tracks around the world.  In his travels with VeloSolutions, he’s been continually moved by how the simple joy of riding bikes has a truly universal appeal.  ““No matter where you are, whether that’s in a rich country, or in a poor one, [pump tracks] always have the same effect”, he says. “People of all ages, of all backgrounds, of all beliefs, whatever skin color, they get together, and they have fun.”  This philosophy led Claudio and his friends to create Pumps for Peace, a program that brings fresh pump tracks to divided communities, helping to create fun and accessible activities for everyone.

Read more, and watch how a recent Red Bull event held at their track in Roma, Lesotho bridged the gaps between locals of all cultures. 

What’s in a name?

Our longtime customers may already know that we only just recently changed the name of our store, from the original Factory Bike to Squaw Bikes. The intention was to use a name that was more associated with the place, to help better identify the shop, and make it easier for new customers to find us and, well…it’s been working.

But recent events and discussions have helped to inform and educate us about the origins of the word “squaw”, which has been used as a landmark namesake here for 160 years, most famously at the iconic ski area that inspired so much of our current community to make this their home. The conversation between the ski area management and the local Washoe Tribe has revealed, to many of us for the first time, the racist and derogatory nature of the word and the insult it still carries to the Native Americans it was used to describe. For those of us who thought of our current use as honoring or endearing, it turns out that we were misled, or mistaken, or both.

Alterra Mountain Group and our own Public Service District (now the Olympic Valley PSD and Fire Dept) have both announced that they will no longer be using the name, and we think that it’s a step in the right direction.  However “traditional” the use of the word squaw may have been to some of the area’s settlers, we think that it’s inappropriate to continue that use ourselves, and we hope to encourage our friends and neighbors in their consideration of how we view race and racial discrimination.

So we’re changing our name again! We like the new one even better, and we think you’ll still find us. For a history of the name “Truckee”, click here! For an interesting and informative discussion about the Squaw Valley name change, read the proposal by the OVPSD here.

Outdoor Children

For many adults today, bicycles gave us a sense of freedom and self-reliance that shaped who we are. They gave us the the ability to explore our surroundings in a way that still motivates many of us even now. Is our society shifting towards more protected and secure surroundings for our kids, and could that be denying them that feeling of adventure? Over the last 50 years, the percentage of kids even riding their bikes or walking to school has dropped from 50% to 15%, and that could be a worrisome trend.

This post from the John Adams Institute explores the idea of a “child-friendly city”, and the important of offering kids the ability to safely connect with their environment and independently explore the world around them.

NYC's push for bikes

New York City had already won us over with their expansion of dedicated bike lanes and their municipally regulated, dockable bike share program.  In a city filled with high-rise buildings, 8 million people moving between them every day and, like any other city, way too many cars, it just makes sense to promote more efficient transportation.  Read about the city council's new "Streets Master Plan", a $1.7bn infrastructure program that includes the development of 250 more miles of protected bike lanes over the next 10 years.

The 4000 mile bike trail

Rails to Trails is a well proven concept already, but can they really link up a system that crosses the entire country?  The folks at The Great American Rail Trail say yes, and maybe even soon.  The proposed trail would add to several existing trail systems, offering "the experience of exploring America’s heritage, its potential, its beauty and bounty, its people and places" to more than 50 million people who already live within 50 miles of the proposed route.