by Molly Hurford
When visiting Portland during the cyclocross season, it was a whirlwind of races, bike shop events and cyclocross-oriented gatherings. The Northwest truly is a hotbed of cyclocross culture, in every aspect. It’s also home to brands like Redline (Seattle), Planet-X (Portland) and Chris King (Portland). So it felt like an invitation to visit Santa’s Workshop when, casually, my friend asked, “Would you be interested in a tour of Chris King while you’re around?”
And so, on a rainy morning (is there any other kind in Portland?), I headed into Chris King’s workshop for a factory tour. With the bright anondized colors on their signature hubs, headsets and components, the walls lined with product call to mind Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, with Chris King as Willy Wonka. Perhaps the most impressive part about the factory, though, is the environmental awareness that came in during the redesign a couple of years ago. The waste has been virtually eliminated, from how they procure machines to how they make products. Machines are often bought used, refurbished, and occasionally re-purposed. Metal is sent through a machine to catch all oil drippings, so almost all of the oil that they use in production is re-used, over and over. The air vents (see the canvas vents in the photo below?) are made of fabric, and when the quote for how much making them would cost came in, the factory simply ordered an industrial sewing machine and DIY-ed the vents.
With incentives to bike to work (including time off and free food at the cafeteria) and full locker rooms and a bike room in the factory, even the staff does their part to be environmentally conscious, and as you can see in the photo below, they have a good time while they’re doing it.
Check out the photos from our behind-the-scenes tour of the factory!