Outdoor co-op switches up a gear with a new bike brand

America’s largest outdoor co-op has relaunched its bicycle brand – and created one of the world’s most sustainable distribution centres.

Outdoor recreation retailer REI has unveiled Co-op Cycles, a new brand of bikes built from the ground up with input from member cyclists.

Bikes, apparel, nutrition and adventure-ready camping gear will be on offer for riders who enjoy trail, mixed surface and longer touring adventures.

Co-op Cycles, which replaces the Novara line, combines a new product line with premier brands and is the foundation of the co-op’s ‘trail-first’ approach.

coop cycles“We are committed to making bikes and gear for those who love the fun and freedom that comes with exploring the world on two wheels,” said Paul Calandrella, director of cycle strategy.

“We started this complete overhaul of our bike brand by engaging with our most passionate co-op designers and members who ride together to guide development of the Co-op Cycles line. Through our co-operative design process, they’ve guided this entire project.”

Ben Johns, general merchandising manager for REI’s cycling business, said the company is listening to its members and systematically addressing the “brutal truths” for the cycling business.

He added: “We’re working across the co-op to invest in bike staff expertise and deepen our community impact through educational and experiential riding events, as well as partnerships with local non-profits.”

REI is a specialty outdoor retailer, headquartered near Seattle, USA, with more than 6 million active members and 146 stores in 35 states. It has distribution centres in Washington and Pennsylvania, and is currently building a third in the Arizona desert, which is being designed entirely with sustainability in mind.

REI Storefront Eugene, ORREI and its partners have designed the industry’s first omni-channel one-touch fulfilment system, enabling eight times faster processing than the typical distribution centre – and is making the design information of this facility available to the public, “so that others can advance the parameters of sustainable design”.

A solar system will produce enough renewable renewable energy on-site to power the entire facility annually, and will also power a non-evaporative cooling system to keep employees cool while saving millions of gallons of water every year. It is expected to double the co-op’s current solar production, provide it with 20 years of free energy and pay for itself in five years.

The facility will support more than 40% of the co-op’s sales, reaching approximately 36% of customers.

“We are choosing to open-source the design of this distribution centre because we believe it is a stake in the ground for green building and can change how companies think about the impact that operations have on the environment,” said Rick Bingle, REI’s vice president of supply chain.

“We believe that investing in sustainability is not only good for people, places and the planet, but it’s also a smart business decision that creates measurable value.”

REI is headquartered near Seattle, USA, with more than 6 million active members and 146 stores in 35 states. Last year, its technicians serviced 180,000 bikes and instructors educated nearly 37,000 people through a range of beginner to advanced cycling classes.