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Specialized, Santa Cruz and Saris contribute to the COVID-19 fight

Published April 10, 2020
A look at the programs as a few more bike companies join the battle.

Specialized, Santa Cruz and Saris have each revealed some details of their efforts to help the fight against COVID-19. They join brands including SRAM, Kitsbow, Osprey, Vermarc, De Soto, Santini, 3T, Industry Nine and others who are manufacturing or sourcing personal protective gear and other items for health care workers. 

Specialized hopes to source a million masks

MORGAN HILL, Calif. (BRAIN) —Like a growing number of bike companies, when the COVID-19 pandemic broke out, Specialized looked into using its resources to manufacture face masks for health care workers.

"We were prototyping masks using our helmet retention system," said company founder and CEO Mike Sinyard. "It worked pretty well."

But then Sinyard and others began to think bigger, as demand for masks grew.

"We were all stunned by the magnitude of the whole thing and we have a lot of colleagues in Asia and in Italy who were affected by it. And we thought, making these masks makes us feel good, but what is really needed is a massive amount of supplies in a week, not a month," he told BRAIN on Friday.

So Specialized decided to use its connections in Asia to source thousands of masks. To date, the company has brought in 40,000 masks, both three-ply and KN-95, that have been donated to area hospitals and bike shops nationally.

Sinyard said the project turned out to be more difficult than he expected. The company first looked to Taiwan for masks, but that country wasn't allowing them to be exported. Then the found a source in China, but U.S. Customs at first would not allow them into the country. 

"Customs was blocking the big shipments, so we arranged for smaller volume shipments that were sent to peoples' houses," he said. He said Customs has now lifted the ban on imports and Specialized now has a goal of importing a million masks. In addition to the donations to hospitals and shops, Specialized is talking to state officials about selling them — at cost — to the state. 

"I thought this would be simple, but it's turned out to be a lot more complicated than I thought. It's been a pretty exhausting couple of weeks," said Sinyard, who said Specialized's executive vice president Bob Margevicious "did all the work" on the project. 

Sinyard said it was worth it when he saw how grateful health care workers were to receive the masks. "Finally being able to bring them in and give them to the hospital was very rewarding," he said.

A local television station did a feature on the program that included a video of health care workers thanking Specialized for the masks. 

Santa Cruz uses its manufacturing facility to make face shields

SANTA CRUZ, Calif. (BRAIN) — Santa Cruz Bicycles’ R&D team is at work producing face shields for local medical staff using sheets of plastic cut using CNC machinery typically used for cutting carbon fiber. The company also using 3D printers, normally used to prototype bike products, for the face shield project.  

Photo courtesy of Santa Cruz Bicycles. The equipment allows the company to make up to 20 face shield lenses every 9 minutes, yielding about 1,000 shields per day. 

The company spent 10 days evaluating designs, developing multiple prototypes and getting feedback from local healthcare professionals to ensure the end product suited their needs.  3D printers are used to make reusable and sterilizable support frames using open-source CAD designs.

The company has procured enough material to produce 8,000 face shields in two different designs in the next week. 75 face shields from the pilot run were delivered to the Santa Cruz County Donation Center on Thursday.

The company is working with volunteers, medical professionals and other local companies to coordinate efforts to address anticipated needs in healthcare.  

"With a little help from everyone, we’ll get through this together and come out as an even tighter community on the other side," the company said.

You can donate and learn more at

Saris delivers food to families and kids in need

MADISON, Wis. (BRAIN) — Saris and its staff are contributing to their community by using electric cargo bikes to deliver donated meals to families and kids in need. 

Photo courtesy of Saris"What’s happening right now is biblical and historic. We have not seen anything like this in our lifetime and we are going to do our part to address the challenges head on," said Chris Fortune, Saris' CEO. "Right now, it’s really important to give to the people that need it most and make sure our community gets fed as the highest priority. My wife Sara and I are personally contributing where we can and Saris is also doing their part to serve the community."

On Tuesday, Fortune helped his team deliver more than 1,000 pounds of food, which helped feed over 200 families. 

"We're doing this with electric cargo bikes a couple times a week now and partnering with several organizations.  United Way matched us with the Community Action Coalition, Canteen Vending, Metcalfe’s, Whole Foods, Pick ‘n Save, the Catholic Multicultural Center, McKee Senior Apartments, St. Vinny’s Food Pantry and many others. I’m grateful to the many dedicated organizations and volunteers that are working tirelessly to provide food to those in need and proud to be a part of this effort," Fortune said. 

Chris Fortune pilots the e-delivery bike.
Topics associated with this article: Coronavirus

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