I finally got together with Advocate Cycles founder Tim Krueger last week at the company’s headquarters in south Minneapolis (photo by Advocate’s general manager Adam Blake).
I first heard about Tim last year in a MORC Board meeting when there was a discussion about him taking over the MN Rusty Ride, given his history running the Chequamegon 100 for several years with 100% of the registration fees donated to CAMBA. At a subsequent board meeting, I think there was some mention about him starting a new company called Advocate Cycling Productions and adding more races but that was about it.
In February I read an article in the StarTribune titled Public benefit corporations: A new option for Minnesota companies that do good and when I searched further, I found a press release on the MN Secretary of State’s website titled: Secretary Ritchie Registers Minnesota’s First Public Benefit Corporations. There, at the top of the list of Minnesota’s First Public Benefit Corporations, was Advocacy Cycling Productions.
And then a few weeks later I stumbled on a blog post Tim had published on Fat-Bike.com titled Duluth Winter Enduro Gets Rad At Spirit Mountain in which he crashed and tore up his knee:
I emailed him:
Hey Tim, I was going to say something like “sorry to hear about your knee” but then as a blogger who takes photos of the bloody knees of fellow mountain bikers, I realized I’m more sorry that I wasn’t there to chronicle the event. 😉 Your ER photo made for an excellent wrap on your Fat-Bike.com post!
We attempted to meet but our schedules proved challenging. When my daughter Gilly encouraged me to attend Bike Night at the Minnesota Science Museum in June , I discovered that Tim’s new venture was also in the bike business and that they were were going to have a booth at the event showing some prototypes among the dinosaurs:
Alas, I didn’t get to meet Tim there as he was traveling, which continued through much of the summer. So I was glad to finally catch up with him over lunch at Marla’s Caribbean Cuisine near his office.
Advocate Cycles has an About page with a detailed summary of how this is a different kind of company with a different kind of mission. While your eyes might glaze over when it comes to About pages and Mission statements, should you end up pulling the trigger and ordering one of their bikes (either from a dealer or direct), it will hit home when you register your purchase. You’re prompted to select one or more of five bike-related non-profits as your preferred Advocacy Partner(s). That means 50% of the profit (IRS-capped) on the bike goes to the non-profit you choose. The company says the other 50% will be put towards running their own advocacy programs.
Not surprisingly, the bicycling media has found Advocate Cycles to be a compelling story. Three substantive articles/interviews:
- Bicycling, September: Advocate Cycles Makes Buying a Bike a Charitable Act, by Molly Hurford.
- BikeRumor, July: Interview: Advocate Cycles founder Tim Krueger talks advocacy, business model, and bikes, plus hands on with Hayduke 27.5+ frame, by Zach Overholt.
- Singletracks.com, July: How Advocate Cycles Will Change the Bike Industry, by Walter Rhein.
The latter two articles have interesting discussion threads attached to them.
The company currently offers three bikes: the Hayduke (hardtail), the Watchman (fat bike), and the Lorax (gravel), all due to ship in the next month. Are others in the works?
The Advocate Cycling Productions events arm of the company (currently at The Green Tunnel) put on four races in the Upper Midwest this year. In addition to the aforementioned Minnesota Rusty Ride (August) and Chequamegon 100 (June), it put on the Hungry Bear 100 (May), and the Gitchee Gumee Traverse (September). These events raised an estimated $40,000 for CAMBA, Cuyuna (CLMTB) , COGGS, and MORC, as well as to help the new NICA high school mountain biking league get launched in Wisconsin.
It’s safe to say that I’ll be posting more about Tim’s bike adventures in the weeks to come. In the meantime, follow the Advocate Cycles blog, Facebook page, Twitter feed, and Instagram feed.