Ground Effect was conceived in the early nineties – the precise moment somewhat lost in a fug of Guinness. Like many, we aspired to create a work environment that better matched our own values. Mountain biking and cycle touring had long been our collective passions, so of all the business ideas we brainstormed it was perhaps inevitable that cycling would prevail. We saw an opportunity to make cycling and cycle clothing less serious – more fun, like surfing with big baggy shorts ‘n’ all. Bicycles deliver so much good for society: as a recreation they get us outside and keep us fit; as transport they counter the trends of increased congestion and energy consumption. Our calling had called.
1994 and we hit the streets, or mail boxes actually. We only sell directly to cyclists – no wholesalers, agents or retailers. Nothing beats dealing with the people who actually design and make the gear you’re buying: the good oil comes straight from the horse; your feedback goes directly to the designer; and prices are sharper with no additional links in the chain. You get a lot of bang for your buck with top shelf quality at real world prices.
Gear that works and lasts is pivotal to our success. It’s not rocket science. We conjure up functional designs based on our own experiences and interactions with fellow cyclists. We source high specification fabrics that work better and last longer than the industry norm, and don’t cut corners when stitching it all together.
Almost all of our kit is made right here in New Zealand. Not out of patriotism nor any phobia about Asia build-quality. Manufacturing locally works for us. We operate a quick-response system – holding minimal stock of any one item, but churning out a few more quick-smart when the pile gets low. The upshot is that we are seldom caught with our shelves empty, so orders get despatched the same day you place them. Our best anecdote is from an Auckland customer who phoned just prior to 5pm and received their gear, along with the Herald, the next morning before work.
Finding the balance between work and play is a personal thing. Our original objective was to create a business that was inherently stimulating, but would also let us recreate, a lot. All eight of us who work at Ground Effect are cycle nuts. Riding off-road, touring and to and from work each day. There’s a lock-up to stash the bikes, a full workshop to keep them rolling, a shower to cool off and a drying rack suspended from the ceiling. There have been oodles of great trips over the years… mountain biking in North and South America, cycle touring around Europe, Canada and Australia, and countless weekend road trips hammering our local singletrack. And the pipeline is still jam packed with adventures in waiting. Pedal on.
Steve, Frase and Guy