Posts Tagged ‘Zak Pashak’

Detroit Bikes: Making bikes in the Motor City

Wednesday, August 8th, 2012

Zak Pashak and his new Detroit Bikes company has been getting some well-deserved media coverage of late.

On Monday, the Windsor Star published this article:

After two years, Pashak and his current stable of 10 employees have settled on a prototype.

Detroit Bikes will make one model, a commuter bicycle with three speeds and a coaster back brake, that only comes in black. It has a curved top tube to give it an ‘old school’ look and will sell for around $500.

Pashak plans to have bikes available by spring 2013 and hopes to eventually produce 100 a day.

He will start selling bikes in Detroit, with plans to quickly spread out. He’s also eyeing Windsor and other Canadian cities.

Just black? That reminds us of the quote from Henry Ford’s autobiography, “Any customer can have a [Model T] painted any color that he wants so long as it is black.”

Creating Jobs

Detroit Bike’s 10 employees is significant. Given the high unemployment in the city, the question of whether something creates jobs is often asked. As a part of Detroit’s burgeoning bicycle culture, this is something advocates can point to.

No, this isn’t a huge number of jobs compared with Detroit’s auto industry, but it’s better the jobs are here rather than other cities or countries.

New Live, Work, Play bike racks on Detroit’s Broadway

And, these ten jobs are not the thousands that Dan Gilbert and friends are bringing to Downtown. However, those jobs are also related to Detroit’s bicycle culture.

Young adults want to live in urban environments with transportation options. They’re willing to embrace biking as transportation rather than something that just happens at a Metropark. According to one study, Gen Y was taking 24% more bike trips as of 2009.

This is not a subtle trend. It’s an “automakers beware” trend according to the Detroit Free Press.

More than 30% of American 19-year-olds in 2010 (30.5% to be precise) did not have a driver’s license, according to the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute.

That’s the highest percentage ever, and a sharp increase from the 24.5% in 2008 and only 12.7% in 1983, based on data from the Federal Highway Administration and the U.S. Census Bureau. The unlicensed population is almost certainly larger today.

Detroit has become a magnet for ambitious young people” and many?Metro Detroit employers have taken note and moved to the city. Some are starting to contribute to Detroit’s bike infrastructure and planning.

It certainly will be interesting to see the results all these trends produce over the next couple year.

The Huffington Post also covered Pashak and Detroit Bikes.