SPONSOR VISIT: CHRIS KING PRECISION COMPONENTS
We go behind the scenes to see what makes this Portland OR manufacturer a great place to work.
My grandmother died from breast cancer, and after beating colon cancer, my father was diagnosed with it as well. I guess you could say it runs in the family. It’s very rare in men, but it happens, and it happened to my dad. Around that time I was getting in to cycling as a way to fight cancer when I first heard about Chris King Precision Components. They made a line of pink anodized products where a portion of the proceeds went to help fight breast cancer. I bought the simplest piece, but also the one that I would see the most on the bike. A pink headset cap that would serve as a powerful motivator for many thousands of miles.
That simple stem cap cemented my perception of this company that I knew relatively little about at the time: they were passionate enough to make their products symbols for the things they cared about, and I respected that. And I went on to buy more of their products over the years, always respecting their values and the quality of their products. So when it came time to organize this ride in my father’s honor, Chris King was one of the first sponsors I approached, and thankfully they said yes.
A few weeks ago when I went to pick up they components they generously donated, I was given a tour of their Portland headquarters. I got to meet some of the people who are helping to support our cause, and see where and how the components were made. I found a company with beliefs not only in quality of product, but in improving quality of life for its employees, its partners in business, as well as the environment.
Inside the bike room. Employees earn credits for commuting to work by bicycle. Those credits can be used towards the in house restaurant, which is run by a top notch chef. Food + cycling go hand in hand here, as evidenced by the annual Chris King Gourmet Century which sold out in just a few minutes.
Many of the machines are reclaimed from other manufacturing shops and retrofitted to do new jobs. They do not make them like this anymore.
The relationship with materials suppliers is an important one. By working closely with each supplier, they’re able to create new processes for manufacturing and recycling that not only improve quality of life at Chris King, but for the employees of the suppliers as well.
Innovations that typically go unseen include processes to recycle aluminum chips, the oils that lubricate the machines, and even the steam that is created in the hardening process. The entire manufacturing process has been evaluated and streamlined to maximize efficiency and reduce environmental waste and impact.
At the end of the visit I picked up the components that will carry us across the country. Can’t wait to get these on the Speedvagen!