Sure, we all know Arizona is home to some pretty classic rides, routes, trails and tours. And if you're looking for a good local bike shop, the Valley has plenty of good ones to go around.
But that doesn't mean that everything you're riding, eating or wearing is coming from lands afar, or at least outside of our great state's borders. From bike manufacturers to energy food creators, many businesses that call Arizona home are creating jobs and products to fuel our two-wheeled needs.
Pivot Cycles - Once upon a time, a little company in Tempe started turning out custom mountain bike frames made from titanium that littered the trails named National, Mormon, Javalina and Desert Classic. Beginning in 1991, Titus Cycles was synonymous with Arizona desert dirt and rock riding, but company founder Chris Cocalis sold the company in 2006 and the glory of Titus quickly disappeared.
Quickly following his former company's demise (actually they still exist and still use the Arizona flag for its headbadge, but they're now based in Portland), Cocalis started up Pivot Cycles, another Tempe-based manufacturer known globally for innovative frame designs. Pivot is one of those "constantly innovating" entities, meaning models rarely remain static in design, with each one created to manage a specific style of ride with a goal of "making your mountain biking experience better in every way." With a Phoenix as the company emblem and models named Firebird and Phoenix, there is no questioning the home town pride.
Athlete Octane - Cyclists are incredibly picky about just about everything when it comes to their in the saddle experience. Trek v. Specialized. Roadie v. Fat Knobbies. Shimano v. SRAM. But perhaps nothing can be as particular as the type of energy supplement one uses (of the non-EPO variety, of course). Phoenix-based Athlete Octane brings a new product to market that makes the case for endurance athletes to quit choking down micro-nutrient pills by the handful and go to a single, all-inclusive nutrient liquid.
This nutrient-rich liquid can now be found at local bike shops across the state as well as select health food stores and even the occasional Costco. Athlete Octance claims that because their product is a liquid, the body will absorb the needed nutrients quicker than other pill-based products, thereby increasing recovery, endurance and fitness more quickly.
State Bike Co. - Born as an entrepreneurial idea by three ASU buddies in 2009, the Tempe-based business quickly exploded by establishing an easy to order fixie/single-speed online bike boutique that has established fans all over the globe. State doesn't actually manufacture anything originally, which is part of the company's genius.
Instead, State sources solid fames with basic parts spec dressed in a variety of unique color schemes that move in and out of "retirement" to keep demand for a certain color or style combination high. State has also become a leading supporter of local fixed rides and races and now sponsors some of the top one-gear racers across the country including a recent fixed gear fest in Puerto Rico.
Cherry Bombin' - Anyone who's owned a bike for more than a year here in the desert knows the trials and tribulations that our bike's rolling rubber endures. Between the goatheads, broken glass and other puncture culprits that are strewn across the roads, paths and trails, more than a fair share of inner tubes are discarded around these parts.
One Central Phoenix company has devised a concept to deal with some of this rubber rubbish. Cherry Bombin' is turning those old tubes into brand new bags, wallets, belts and other even more risqué items to keep all you bike fetishists more than content, even when you're off the bike (god forbid!).
LAVAfuel - When Phoenix resident Lou Vergne experienced a heart attack in 2009 (near the edge of the fabled Arenberg forest, home to one of the most famous sectors of cobbles in the Paris-Roubaix race), Vergne knew he had to make some lifestyle changes. Among the first was to dedicate more time on the bike. With the added cycling came a need to add better fuel while out on rides.
With a newfound focus on nutrition, Vergne began experimenting with various ingredients and created his first "puck," a vegan, gluten-free circular bar of seeds, nuts, dried fruits and agave nectar. These energy pucks are one of the few energy foods out there that really seems like food, and now they come in a variety of flavors including coconut and espresso.
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- If you have repaired mid-ride flat, chances are you've used a Genuine Innovations product to re-inflate and get home. Based in Tucson, Genuine Innovations has become the industry leader for controlled carbon dioxide (CO2) inflators. You know CO2, those silvery bullet-shaped capsules that screw into a small inflator nozzle to attach onto the valve stem.
Early use of Genuine Innovations' controlled CO2 inflators included the Reebok Pump shoes, but now they are a staple for nearly every bike's saddle bag because of their compact size and ease of use. The company has even adapted their product line to include a ball inflator, keyboard duster and beer keg charger. But nothing beats the cold chill of that CO2 filling tire on the side of a baking road.