Rivendell Bicycle Works

Rivendell A. Homer Hilsen

We’re pleased and honored to welcome our latest sponsor, Rivendell Bicycle Works. Most of you are already familiar with Rivendell, but for those who aren’t, here’s a brief history written by company founder/president, Grant Petersen:

From late ’84 to late ’94 I (Grant) designed and spec’d bicycles and worked on catalogues for the U.S. division of Bridgestone Cycle, Japan’s largest bike maker. Bridgestone closed the U.S. office after ten years of no profit, when the dollar-to-yen exchange rate plummeted to the point where it became impossible to even break even. I was 40, and started Rivendell with $89,000, a mix of retirement money, savings, loans, and money raised by selling stock to friends.

True to the cliche, Rivendell was in my garage for two years. Now we have 5,000 square feet at about $0.90 per square foot, one of the cheaper rents in town. We like it here a lot. It’s easy to get to, close to good food and riding, and it feels like home, except that summertime temperatures average 90F and are often over 100F, and winter days rarely get above 57F. We drive home this point before we hire you. We’ve been profitable two of the past twelve years, but cash flow is neutral. Sales are about $2.2 million dollars per year. We’re just breaking even, there are no top-heavy salaries, and we fret a lot during slow weeks (and months). I do, at least.

Our mission is to make things that wouldn’t be made if we weren’t here, to offer an alternative to racing-centric bikes and parts, and to espouse a different approach to riding. And to resurrect and keep healthy many of the better ideas, designs, and styles of bicycles, clothing, and accessories that we personally like to use or wear. If you’d like to know more, just ask. It’s not a secret business we have here. —Grant

Rivendell is primarily known for their beautiful, intelligently designed, lugged-steel bicycles. They’re also credited for helping to revive and keep alive traditional items such as wool clothing, leather saddles, canvas bags, and platform pedals. If you haven’t done so before, take a gander at their website — you won’t be disappointed. There you’ll find a wonderful selection of useful and unique bikes, parts, accessories, clothing, and many other items. The site also includes an eclectic collection of how-to articles and essays on everything from frame materials to the benefits of pine tar soap.

Rivendell Bicycle Works

4 Responses to “Rivendell Bicycle Works”

  • William says:

    Glad to see Riv on the sidebar. Right up at the top!

  • Kyle says:

    I’ve only been to Rivendell Bicycle Works a few times and they were very helpful. It’s not a fancy place like REI or some other mega sports store. But when you walk through the roll up door you know you’re in bicycle church. Everything in there is beautiful. Everywhere you look you see something that needs a closer look.

  • Mohjho says:

    Their bikes are too pricy for me, but I have their components and other stuff on all three of my bikes. You just can’t find some of their good stuff at LBSs. Also, any problems I have had in ordering were taken care of quickly with a phone call. Not everyone buys into Grants philosophy, but I appreciate his mature approach to biking in general.

  • EcoVelo » Blog Archive » Over Arching Concerns says:

    […] Grant Petersen. If you’re not familiar with Mr. Petersen, you can read a little background at this link. Among all of the other things that must be involved with running a successful bike company, Grant […]

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