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Industry keeping a wary eye on California wildfires

Published October 28, 2019

PETALUMA, Calif. (BRAIN) — While 16 wildfires have burned more than 94,000 acres across California this fall, bicycle manufacturing structures have escaped harm so far. But some industry and retail employees have been affected as of Monday.

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White Industries, a component manufacturer in Petaluma, posted on its Instagram account on Sunday it would be closed Monday because of the impact evacuations had on staff.

At Incycle, a retail chain with a location in Santa Clarita, California, four employees couldn't come to work over the weekend and into Monday because of the fires. Manager Lala Mijares said the employees had to evacuate their homes and were sleeping in trailers, with friends and even parking lots. The employees were forced out of their homes over the weekend.

"This fire is worse than last year," Mijares said of the wildfires that engulfed the state almost exactly a year ago. "This one's closer to home. One employee is five miles away and was evacuated. We have high winds a lot in the winter, that's what triggers them. It's mother nature at that point."

Marin Bikes in Petaluma has an evacuated colleague living out of her camper behind the offices, which still had power. All told, Marin had 10 employees who had no power and two who had to evacuate, said Chris Holmes, Marin's brand director.

"It's been a bit of a hardship for the employees over the last week or so," Holmes said. "Power was being cut preemptively to try and prevent something like this."

At Santa Cruz Bicycles in Santa Cruz the factory is operating normally, even though a lot of the neighborhoods nearby have lost power, said Katie Zaffke, brand manager for Santa Cruz's Juliana Bicycles.

"Fingers crossed," she said.

Bell/Giro in Scotts Valley, not far from Santa Cruz, hasn't had any disruptions in service or sales, a spokesman there said.

Bicycle Technologies International shipments going to Northern and Southern California are on schedule, according to Preston Martin, president of the New Mexico-based distributor. "We're not getting reports of carriers getting delayed," he said. "No reports from dealers having any issues. Usually when someone asks me a question like this, five minutes later, I hear about it."

KHS Bicycles' vice president, Wayne D. Gray, said all is well at his headquarters located in Rancho Dominguez, California. He said there is a fire north that he drove past on the 405 Freeway early Monday morning.

Giant Bicycles' Newbury Park location was in danger a year ago, but this year has been in the clear. "So far, all the fires have been much farther away than last year, when they were scorching the hillside just past our parking lot," said Sean O'Brien, Giant's marketing communications manager.

Austen Czapla, wholesale sales manager for Pure Cycles, said even though his store is close to the mountains in Burbank the fires haven't threatened.

A Marin Bikes employee camps out in the office parking lot.
Topics associated with this article: Distributor news

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