Last week I was contacted by Specialized to come to their headquarters in Morgan Hill to come chat and take a tour of their facilities. I wasn’t too sure what to expect honestly. In the email conversations all they specified was that we would be chatting and taking a tour of their facility. I had not stepped foot in their HQ since 2009, so I was obviously excited.
When I arrived I signed in and waited in the lobby with a larger-than-life Michał Kwiatkowski, and his world championship winning S-Works Tarmac. It wasn’t long until I was greeted by my tour guides for the afternoon and the fun got started. We started in the lobby where they have a museum of sorts of all their past winning bikes, along with the original bike Mike Sinyard used to lug around Cinelli parts he was selling to bike shops. Next, we went upstairs to look at their concept designs by Robert Egger. One bike that caught my eye was a Fatboy with a classic Cobra paint job with a hitch that has a BBQ and room for a 6 pack.
Next we went down stairs to their “Feed Zone” the Specialized lunch room, to chat about my bike situation. I retold the events of that day that led up to the theft. I talked about how it made getting to and from Gilroy and San Francisco a lot harder. I talked about growing up with bikes, and falling back in love with them after taking a break from bikes to focus on soccer.
After our time in the “Feed Zone” we headed over to their new wind tunnel or “Win Tunnel” to talk about its construction and how testing the aerodynamics of riders was performed. I was told to hop on the bike they had set up to get a feel for how the pros did things. This was cool as I was able to see, via live projection on the ground in front of me, just how much or how little drag my position on the bike was creating. I’m not sure that my Dr. Martens and unbuttoned pea coat were the most aerodynamic apparel to have on, but still cool nonetheless. After the hum of the fans quieted down everyone reentered the tunnel and I hopped off the bike. I was asked how it felt and didn’t know how to respond. It felt nice, but about a minute on the rollers wasn’t much to go by. Also, I was a little tongue-tied by the experience thus far. Then, the said “That’s your bike.” and I was just floored! I honestly was not expecting that at all and had pretty much ruled out getting a new bike in 2014.
A bike is more than just a toy. It’s a mode of transportation. It’s an outlet for stress. It’s a vehicle for adventure. It’s all those things, and more, wrapped into one amazing package. The people at Specialized know this, and I can’t say thank you enough for the great experience I had and their generosity. I’d also like to say a special thank you to my friend Matt in Australia, without him I don’t think any of this would have been possible.