Image credit: Canadian Business
Detroit Bikes was founded in 2011 by Zakary Pashak. Zakary was already a proponent of improving his own community while he lived in Canada. When he moved to Detroit, Zakary continued making his community a better place. Today, he’s doing this by creating stylish, affordable and American made city bikes for fellow Detroiters as well as conscious consumers nationwide.
MADE LOKAL: What was your motivation to start Detroit Bikes?
ZAKARY: Because the burden of car ownership is heavy on individuals, and trying to make space and infrastructure for cars is so costly to society, I had a sense that urban cycling was on the rise. Riding a bike for transportation is fun, healthy, safe and affordable. I had the sense that it might help cycling become more popular if there were some great local production stories. Kind of like how many people have gotten really interested in beer and where it comes from, we might see that same type of thing with bikes.
MADE LOKAL: Did you start Detroit Bikes with a partner, family or alone?
ZAKARY: Alone at first.
MADE LOKAL: Were you based in Detroit prior to starting Detroit Bikes?
ZAKARY: I was based mostly in Calgary, part time in Vancouver.
MADE LOKAL: Prior to Detroit Bikes, what were you doing?
ZAKARY: I ran for city council in Calgary and founded a large music festival there. I also owned two music venues and was very active in the music scene.
MADE LOKAL: How many styles of bikes do you manufacture?
ZAKARY: Currently 4 styles under our brand, but we also make custom styles for larger contract manufacturing customers.
MADE LOKAL: What bike do you ride?
ZAKARY: The A-Type. I love its simplicity.
MADE LOKAL: Detroit Bikes are compatible in price with those made in Asia...how do you do it?
DETROIT BIKES: We have a lot of people so each person does a specific job rather than needing to be a master of the entire process. We also use industrial machinery and fixtures to help make our production happen a lot faster than you would see with a custom frame builder.
MADE LOKAL: What is the best thing about having a business in Detroit?
ZAKARY: Detroiters have been behind world changing innovations from engineering and design to architecture and music. I think a lot of people understand the importance of this place and are rooting for us, so there’s a very positive response to doing things here. There are also just a lot of wonderful people here that I get to work with- they’ve made Detroit Bikes what it is.
MADE LOKAL: What is the most challenging thing about having a business in Detroit?
ZAKARY: There a lot of great stories here right now and we may sometimes become part of that backdrop, but that’s not really that bad a thing.
MADE LOKAL: What are some of your favorite things to do in Detroit?
ZAKARY: Detroit is figuring out its voice in the national food conversation and going out to eat at all the new restaurants opening up is a lot of fun, so is exploring the places that have stood the test of time. Sports are a huge part of Midwestern American life and I’ve started to get into all kinds of things I didn’t really care much about in Canada (the NFL, NCAA, NBA, even minor league soccer.. check out DCFC!) Detroit is a beautiful place too, so just being here is pretty nice. We have a lot of biodiversity and I like to grow things here.
Did you know that in 2012 there were 51 million bicycle riders and in 2017 this number jumped to 66 million?! Many cities have created specific bike zones along roadways, which needs to expand for more people to transport themselves on a regular basis via bike since the biggest obstacle people have is fear of cars and trucks. Whether you are looking to purchase a bike for fun or your commute, start following Detroit Bikes @detroitbikes on Instagram