Boise bike parts company makes mark on cycling
BOISE -- As the best cyclists in the world prepare for the final week of the Tour De France, a Boise company is keeping a close eye on the race.
Boise-based bicycle accessories company K-EDGE makes parts that are used around the globe by elite cyclists.
K-EDGE brand manager Tim Kelley says that includes some of the top athletes in the Tour De France.
"They are sold in over 40 countries around the world and all the top teams in the Tour De France literally called up and asked, can we get the K-EDGE computer mounts," said Kelley.
So far during the Tour, K-EDGE has been featured on bikes crossing the finish lines fast.
"The other day, the first three riders that finished in the race the top three teams in the race all finished with K-EDGE products on their handlebars," said Kelley.
That's something Kelley says they take great pride in.
"We are always pointing at it saying 'hey we made that,'" he said. "So often our neighbors don't even know what we do for a living, and it's neat to be able to show them that and say, 'hey, that's what I do.'"
So while they keep a close eye on the action in France, this week K-EDGE is also focused on a race right here in Boise.
The Twilight Criterium in downtown Boise is a highlight on the USA cycling racing calendar for many. Thousands of people line the streets of downtown watching athletes vie for the top spots.
K-EDGE gets to reward the elite cyclists by creating the medals for the winners.
"This year's medals are made out of 60/61 t-6 aluminum, it's what we make every K-EDGE product out of," said Kelley.
The prize that will soon be synonymous with champions is first designed digitally by the owner of K-EDGE, Eric Jensen. After Jensen perfects the look on his computer, the idea heads downstairs to be turned into reality
"We can make almost anything out of metal and so medals are something we've made for a long time," said Kelley.
Before it becomes a medal, it starts as a big piece of (you guessed it) metal.
The metal is shaped and shined by hand, then sent off for engraving.The design that used to live on Jensen's computer quickly jumps to life as lasers carve out the image.
Only the top three finishers in the men's and women's elite races will get to say they own one.
Anyone in the building will tell you that the same drive to create world class bike components goes into every project.
"Downstairs, everyone takes great pride in what they do because you never know what K-EDGE part is going to go to win the Tour De France, and you never know which medal will be on the front page of the newspaper the next day," said Jensen.
So whether it's the local race here in Boise, or on the international stage in France, this local company has made their mark on cycling around the world.