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Dero Through the Years: Bike Parking Nerds

What does a mix of bike racer and bicycle parking nerd look like? He would look something like Dero’s VP and General Manager Andy Lageson. In this installment of Dero’s 20th anniversary series, Andy tells us about his favorite parts of designing quality, secure bike parking and about that one time he got the Dero van stuck in a parking garage.

How long have you been at Dero?

Eight years.

Where is your favorite place ride?

The National Sports Center Velodrome in Blaine, MN.

What is your favorite bike to ride?

My custom Clockwork track bike, hand built by Dero’s head engineer Joel Greenblatt.

What sets us apart from other bike rack manufacturers?

We are actually cyclists building cycling infrastructure for other cyclists. We are nerds about our bike parking designs and take great pride in them.

Do you have any funny stories from working at Dero?

My favorite story is when Nick Ross and I got the Dero van stuck in the Willis Tower parking garage (formerly the Sears Tower) in Chicago after an installation. We were exiting the garage and the top of the van got wedged into the ceiling of the garage. Since we got stuck right at the exit, the security arm continued to move up and down while hitting the passenger side door of the van. Everyone was ok, but we messed up the brand new door decals and scratched up the top of the van. Rolf thought it was funny, but Hans wasn’t too happy with us.

Favorite rack, and why you like it?

Probably the Dero Decker and Fixit station. We spent a couple of years working really hard on the Dero Decker and worked through many prototypes. I learned a lot from that process and cherished the time that we spent with Rolf and Hans working through it. It was a blast developing the outdoor grade Fixit repair stand and bike pump back in 2008 when this concept didn’t exist anywhere in the world as a legitimate marketed product. Looking at our new Fixit world map and seeing how widespread they’ve become is pretty cool.

Why do people love Dero racks?

Because they are really easy to use with a U-lock, they are everywhere and they are very pleasing to the eye.
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Dero Through the Years: Boxes and Bullwinkles

If you walked away from a fruitless job interview in college, would you expect to be working at that company as their Director of Marketing a decade later? Bri probably didn’t think so. In this installment of Dero history, she tells us about her custom touring bike and what it was like to interview with Dero during the company’s infancy.

How long have you been at Dero?

Since June 2013…just over two years now.

Do you ride bikes?

Yes!

Where is your favorite place ride?

I’m falling back in love with the Gateway Trail. Earlier this spring I was exploring with a friend and we found the connector trail to Stillwater. It was so great to ride 99% trails from my home in South Minneapolis all the way to Stillwater.

What is your favorite bike to ride?

My favorite bike was my blue Dawes commuter/touring bike that I had built in Australia and shipped back home, but it was stolen last fall. We had so many adventures together – touring solo in Tasmania, Bicycle Film Festival in Sydney, 30 Days of Biking in Minneapolis. But our engineer Joel made me a new, custom steel bike (via Clockwork Bikes), it’s my new favorite! It was designed for commuting and touring, so it has stable handling and comfortable geometry for long rides, as well as all the necessary braze-ons for racks and fenders. The color I chose is inspired by my trip to Thailand earlier this year. I’ve only taken it on a few long rides so far, and I can’t wait to take it on a multi-day adventure.

What sets us apart from other bike rack manufacturers?

The majority of Dero folks are avid bicyclists, so we make sure our products provide solutions for people on bikes. We only make products that we would like to use. Also, Dero has a strong history of advocacy and continues to support organizations all around the country. It’s great to work for a company that gives back.

Favorite rack, and why you like it?

Currently, the Cycle Dock is my favorite. It looks amazing – sleek and refined.

Do you have any funny stories from working at Dero?

During my interview I had a moment of déjà vu when Andy mentioned that Dero used to be located above Bullwinkle’s. Back in college, I had an interview for an admin position for a bike rack company above a bar. I remember climbing the steep stairs to the office. It had tons of boxes everywhere, and not much else. I honestly thought it was a front for laundering money or something, but that was Dero! (I did not get the job.)

Why do people love Dero racks?

People love the quality of our products and our customer service. Our goal is to make our customers and their bikers happy.    
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Dero Through the Years: If You Build It, They Will Come

Travis, our National Accounts Coordinator, is a man of many talents. On top of being a bike parking expert, did you know he also plays in local psych-folk band Lovely Dark? Today we take another look back at Dero’s history, this time through Travis’ words.

How long have you been at Dero?

Six years this July.

Where is your favorite place ride?

Next to friends.

What is your favorite bike to ride?

Surly Crosscheck.

What sets us apart from other bike rack manufacturers?

Our racks are designed by riders for riders and our main engineer is also a frame builder. With many avid bike riders on staff, we try to design our products to help cyclists. We’re a business but we believe in the “Field of Dreams” approach where good infrastructure is what leads to more cyclists and more work.

Do you have any funny stories from working at Dero?

In the old space, we would have to shut down occasionally from squirrels chewing through our exterior wires. Our old owner Rolf owned a few model ship websites and we used to field the occasional random call regarding the specifics of model ships. This was not divulged at the beginning but quickly we figured it out. The ships are long since gone but I still have the infamous Swedish ship, the Vasa, perched in my living room.

Favorite rack, and why you like it?

Ultra Space Saver. I have a set in my garage and they protected my bikes when it was broken into.

Why do people love Dero racks?

We’ve been around for a long time. We’re not going anywhere and there’s a lot of quality and history that goes into our racks. We can also help people realize almost any bike rack and they can be comfortable knowing that it’s going to work.
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Dero Bike Month Round-up

National Bike Month 2015 is coming to a close, but we’ve made the most of it at Dero. Based on our Dero ZAP commuter tracking and wellness program, the staff logged a collective 1,711 miles biked, reduced 1,185 pounds of CO2, and burned over 53,000 calories. Our rides have taken us everywhere, from overnight camping at Afton State Park to cruising around town using the Nice Ride bike share system. See some of our favorite Bike Month memories below.      
Ben

Marketing Coordinator Ben H. rode to Afton State Park and camped overnight with his sweetheart. They enjoyed sweeping views of the St. Croix River valley from the bluff tops.

Senior Accountant Helen, who is seven months pregnant, cruised slowly and carefully around Minneapolis on a Nice Ride bike.

Senior Accountant Helen, who is seven months pregnant, cruised slowly and carefully around Minneapolis on a Nice Ride bike. Photo courtesy Flickr user m01229 via CC BY 2.0 license.

Inside Sales Rep Siri spent an entire day exploring Minneapolis, eating at her favorite restaurants and soaking up the warmer weather.

Inside Sales Rep Siri spent an entire day exploring Minneapolis, eating at her favorite restaurants and soaking up the warmer weather.

Greg

LA Sales Rep Greg rode over 320 miles down the California coast on the 2015 Climate Ride. His ride helped raise funds for the LA County Bicycle Coalition.

Natalia

Inside Sales Rep Natalia’s favorite memory from Bike Month was riding her fat bike through the Minnesota River Bottoms with friends. The bottoms offer a bit of wilderness just south of the main Minneapolis metro area and is a favorite escape for local bike riders.

Andy

General Manager Andy spent a gorgeous weekend “shredding the red” at the Cuyuna mountain bike trail system in northern Minnesota. The tag line takes its name from the red dirt trails, and it’s considered a badge of honor among riders for the red dirt to linger for weeks on your bike.

Bri

Director of Marketing Bri’s favorite Bike Month memory was getting to explore a new city by bike. Thanks for the loaner bike, Atlanta Bicycle Coalition!

Joel

Head Engineer Joel got to test out his new mountain bike on the local trails at Theodore Wirth Park. The best part? He built the frame himself! Joel is not only a skilled bike parking designer, he’s a talented framebuilder, too, and owner of Clockwork Bikes.

Ted

Inside Sales Rep Ted and his wife Annie (pictured) picked up starters for their garden from a local store.