Choosing a bike rack may not be rocket science—but inventing them, well, that’s another story.
In 1967, after a few years of working on the aerospace technology for the Apollo missions that launched the U.S. and world to the moon, Dick Allen was out of a job. Government cutbacks led Allen, a Harvard-trained physicist, to transform his garage hobby into a brand-new industry.
A cycling enthusiast, inventor, and family man, Allen had a personal need for a bike-carrying device. On weekends, he would take his sons and wife to Cape Cod or the White Mountains of New Hampshire. What proved difficult time and again was the transport of his family’s bicycles. Rather than fight through inconvenience with twine and a dinged car, Allen sought an answer for himself as well as a market in which he foresaw major growth possibilities.
Always a pathfinder, Allen took to work in his Lincoln, Massachusetts garage in search of a more efficient way to transport bikes. Drafting designs during the day and constructing them throughout the night, he put together a model made of electrical conduit, metal strapping, and fire hose casings (for padding). At first, the Allens tested the prototype on weekend excursions. Finding the first trunk-mounted rack to be a success, Dick started Allen Bike Racks. Dealer acceptance came on quickly, and by 1971 Allen Bike Racks were sold nationally through a number of major bicycle distributors.
Over the years, the company has been issued numerous patents for its innovative ideas, and it continues to offer a versatile product line in a market that grosses over $100 million annually.
Allen Racks continues its benchmark tradition of innovation, service, and quality. What started out as a small garage run operation now operates three warehouses nationally, two factories abroad, and has product sold in over a dozen countries including the USA and China.