by Ron Burkitt, PCI #488
Hilliard (OH) Police Department
The economy stinks and we are all trying to do the best with what we have, both personally and professionally. As bike officers we are tasked with keeping our units running by using taxpayer money in the most sensible way possible. Keeping that money in the local economy is important, so supporting your local bike shop makes sense. However, local bike shops often do not carry certain important specialty items, and some aren’t interested in getting them for us. Some departments don’t have a local shop and the nearest one is hours away.
That’s where IPMBA helps to fill a gap by working with bike patrol suppliers that understand our special needs and circumstances. These suppliers are dedicated to helping us spend our taxpayer money wisely and still meet our bike unit’s needs. I contacted these companies and asked them to complete a survey. I received replies from 4Bike-Police.com, Madison Bike Shop, Patrol Bike Systems, and Police Bike Store. The information they provided may help you make more informed purchasing decisions.
Contact: Mark Leonard
What products do you offer? Bikes (BMX, Comfort Cruisers, Mountain, Police, Road), camping gear and outdoor supplies, Police/EMS/Security duty gear and accessories, tactical and safety products.
How long have you been in business? Six and a half years
How many years have you been affiliated with IPMBA? Four years
What conferences have you attended? Dayton ’06, Baton Rouge ’07, Indianapolis ’08, Albuquerque ’09
What type of bike, if any, do you own? Fuji Absolute 2.0
What type of riding, if any, do you do? Road and Trail
What is your favorite biking story? For the past three years we have sponsored The Wounded Warrior Project Soldier Ride Honky Tonk Challenge, a bicycling event which takes severely injured veterans from rehab on adaptive cycles. We ride over 80 miles in Little Rock, Memphis and Nashville. Riding along with these soldiers is inspirational and very motivational. My favorite part is watching them as they overcome a hill and push themselves to complete the ride for the first time.
Name one thing you’d like to know about public safety cycling. Is there a balance between safety and stealth? I understand that being on the road with vehicles requires high-visibility. However, stealthy operation of a bike in low visibility areas where surprise is needed must be challenging at times.
What is one thing we should know about you or your business? As a retired law enforcement officer, I truly have the deepest respect for my brothers in arms and work hard to earn their business by offering the finest products available for their duties, and customer service second to none.
What products do you offer? We carry bikes and equipment for everyone from professionals to toddlers. We outfit numerous local and sometimes not-so-local police departments and security teams. We carry Gary Fisher, Mirraco, Cannondale, Schwinn, Mongoose, GT, Torker, Redline, Kettler, and Fuji. We also carry a full line of cycling clothing and accessories, all the safety equipment and maintenance supplies you’ll ever need, automobile racks, literature and maps, StarTrac, Lamar, and Ignite Fitness equipment. We even have a section of our store dedicated to skateboarding.
How long have you been in business? Our store opened in 1965. I’ve been working here since 1987, when I was in the eighth grade. I purchased the business in 2001.
How many years have you been affiliated with IPMBA? Three years
What conferences have you attended? I haven’t been able to attend any conferences but I run clinics with many Police Bike Squads and regularly hold seminars at the Police Academy, where I receive a great deal of feedback from officers regarding their specific needs.
What type of bike, if any, do you own? I’ve bought and subsequently sold all of the bikes I’ve owned over the years from BMX rigs to road bikes to full suspension cross country mountain bikes. My personal stable has a very high turnaround rate. Right now I literally only own one bike, a green GT Peace 9R, a single speed with a rigid fork.
What type of riding, if any, do you do? I was a BMX maniac when I was a little kid but working at the shop turned me into mainly a road biker. I’ve only dabbled in mountain biking, but these days all the biking I get in is when I’m pedaling around town on my GT doing errands. Unfortunately, I have to spend too much time in my office!
What is your favorite biking story? All my favorite biking memories involve being surrounded by lots of other bikers, like the charity rides I had time to partake in when I was younger and the HUGE group ride at TrekWorld—the national Trek dealers convention out in Wisconsin. My most recent group ride was probably my favorite. My staff and I developed and delivered an assembly at our local Junior School entitled “Fit Kids Smile More”, during which we discuss the alarming statistics about global warming, childhood obesity, and traffic congestion, and how riding bicycles can help alleviate all three of these problems. We also announced a contest where the children purchase cycling computers from us at cost and then use them to track their own mileage over the course of the school year.
The boy and girl who log the most miles come spring will each be rewarded with a brand new Gary Fisher bicycle. To kick off the program this year, with the help of school administrators and our local Police Department, I organized an early morning group ride from the center of our town to their school. It was pretty dark, cold, and rainy, but there was a smile on everyone’s face and everyone had fun. The police even provided us with motorcycle escorts. The kids really loved that.
Name one thing you’d like to know about public safety cycling. I’d like to know if there is anything that you guys need that our industry hasn’t developed for your particular line of work. Let us know. Sometimes the companies that we represent can be pretty responsive to our requests.
What is one thing we should know about you or your business? We’d like bike squads everywhere to know that we’re very serious about properly outfitting public safety officers with all their biking needs. We don’t just throw a rack on the back and a sticker on the top tube and call it a police bike. We like to interview our clients and find out the specific kind of patrols they’ll be leading, the kinds of weather they’ll be riding in, their level of experience, and the knowledge they need. We outfit our riders from head-to-toe and even have an online police catalogue at their disposal. We’re very flexible, too. We can accommodate any officer’s schedule — morning, noon, or night — for fittings or equipment orders. We also offer maintenance and repair classes for squad leaders and unit members.
What products do you offer? Bikes, uniforms, shoes, bike accessories, helmets, tools, and most everything else you might possibly need.
How long have you been in business? Almost 16 years
How many years have you been affiliated with IPMBA? 16 years
What conferences have you been able to attend? 16 IPMBA Conferences, 15 IACP Conferences, two Police and Security Expos, one College Campus Safety Conference & one FBI conference.
What type of bike, if any, do you own? I own a Raleigh mountain bike, Colnago Technos road bike, Diamondback Drifter Chopper, SR road bike, Raleigh commuter bike (60’s era) and a Fuji Team road bike that was stolen.
What type of riding, if any, do you do? Leisure road, road racing, off-road racing, single track mountain, leisure mtb, cruising my neighborhood on my chopper bicycle, cross racing (soon) and just about any other riding you can think of.
What is your favorite biking story? I had a somewhat inflated view of my road racing acumen, so I entered the MN Men’s Road Racing Championships one year only to be dropped at about mile 10 of a 40 mile circuit. My middle aged stubbornness wouldn’t let me quit, so I finished the last 30 miles on my own. I didn’t finish last by virtue of the fact that there were some crashes and mechanical failures.
Name one thing you’d like to know about public safety cycling. Are bike officers permitted to allow ride-alongs by non-law enforcement personnel?
What is one thing we should know about you or your business? People will always be more important to me than business or money.
What products do you offer? Everything needed to get a bike patrol started. Fuji and Smith & Wesson police bikes; lighting systems from NiteRider, AlerteSystems, Princeton Tec, and Marwi; helmets, tools, repair stands, bicycle bags and much more.
How long have you been in business? 10 years
How many years have you been affiliated with IPMBA? Three years as a Corporate Member.
What conferences have you been able to attend? Baton Rouge ’07
What type of bike, if any, do you own? A mountain bike.
What type of riding, if any, do you do? Mostly road riding and some trails.
What is your favorite biking story? My most enjoyable biking experience was when a friend of mine and I were off-road riding at Copper Mountain, Colorado. We got lost in the trail system and had to figure our way back to the main trails and off the mountain, but we did not really care because we were having such a great time. It was a great feeling of freedom, being in the mountains with no-one else around, just us on our bikes.
Name one thing you’d like to know about public safety cycling. How many lives have been saved and crimes stopped as a result of the bicycle patrols and EMS units?
What is one thing we should know about you or your business? We always do our best to provide our customers with exactly what they need for their patrol. We treat each customer as an individual and listen to what they need to accomplish with the bike. From there, we recommend products that will best fulfill their needs. We use feedback gained from past customers to offer the best products at the best possible prices.
© 2009 IPMBA. This article appeared in the Spring 2009 issue of IPMBA News.