THE WISCONSIN-HEADQUARTERED COMPANY HAS LOCAL VALUES AND A GLOBAL IMPACT.
Trek’s founding story is out of a Hollywood director’s mind and a non-fiction writer’s wish list: In 1976, Bevill Hogg and Dick Burke drank beers at the Pine Knoll Supper Club in Lake Mills, Wisconsin, and debated over the name of their would-be cycling company. They settled on Trek and soon went to work in a barn between Madison and Milwaukee, where a total of five employees built the companies first bikes out of steel. That founding is still at the company’s core today, as its modern headquarters are in Waterloo, WI, near the barn that facilitated its first years.
“We’re a uniquely American success story from Small Town [sic] USA,” Brand Manager Eric Bjorling said in an email. “So many of the values that have led to Trek’s success—hard work, craftsmanship, responsibility, commitment to our customers—are Wisconsin values.”
Its values may be hyper-local and American, but it’s now a company at the center of a globalized cycling market that has made industry-leading technological advances.
Trek’s earliest models were fully manufactured in the U.S., and although that’s no longer the case, it does still perform some hands-on work stateside. A lot of that American labor comes from the Trek’s Project One, which is a program for customers to choose what frame, components, paint, and graphics they want to combine for their next bike. Those bikes are then painted and assembled in Waterloo and then sent to the buyer’s local Trek retailer.
But, if you have the money and interest, you can take that personal experience a step further with two different options. Both options involve traveling to Trek’s headquarters in Waterloo, a tour of Trek’s factory, meeting the Trek development team, a lunch ride, and lunch in Trek’s on-site café. The two options diverge after these similarities.
Option 1 lets you pick up your bike at the headquarters, and Option 2 allows you to be professionally fitted and then design your bike at the headquarters. These options are available through Trek Travel, the company’s international travel business that offers a range of trips and experiences.