Archive | Covid-19 response

Longing for the Mountains: Giovanni’s Covid-19 Experience (Italy)

In this series, we’re sharing the Covid-19 experiences of friends and contributors from around the world. Giovanni Calcagno won our photo contest two years ago with this photo, taken during his ride on the Via del Sale that criss-crosses the Italian-French border. Here is his experience during the Covid-19 lockdown in Italy.
– Natsuko

Tell us about yourself and where you live.

I’m 59 and live in Arenzano, a town of 12,500 people (rising to 40,000 during the summer months) near Genova on the northwestern coast of Italy. I work as a fisherman, catching swordfish with my brother. We come from a family that has been fishing for four generations. Continue Reading →

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Paris during the Lockdown: Elisabeth’s Story

In this series, we’re sharing the Covid-19 experiences of friends and contributors from around the world. It seems that everybody in France (and beyond) knows Elisabeth as an incredible long-distance cyclist. I’ve ridden with her in the Concours de Machines, met her at Paris-Brest-Paris, and marveled at her adventures on Instagram (@elyasmina75). She lived through the lockdown in the center of Paris. Translated from French.
—Jan Continue Reading →

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Covid-19 Experiences: Donalrey in New York City

The first Covid-19 case in the United States was detected near us here in Seattle in mid-January. Back then, we didn’t imagine that this would turn into such a difficult situation. The entire world has been affected. As we’ve stayed in touch with our friends and Bicycle Quarterly contributors in some of the most affected regions, we’ve been encouraged by their resilience. In this series, I’ll share some of their experiences.

I caught up with Donalrey Nieva from New York City. He and his partner Karen Yung photographed and wrote the cover story in the current Bicycle Quarterly.
—Natsuko Continue Reading →

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Shipping and Tracking during a Pandemic

Quite a few customers are asking why their orders aren’t showing up in the tracking information on our web site, why they haven’t received the Spring Bicycle Quarterly yet, and other shipping-related questions. We’re very sorry about these things, because we can’t do anything about them right now. They are out of our control.

One of the consequences of Covid-19 is that there are very few airplanes flying right now. This means that there is much less capacity for airmail, and shipping takes longer. We just learned that many shipments to Europe are going by boat these days – which seems to include the Spring edition of Bicycle Quarterly for readers in France, Sweden, the Netherlands, Belgium and a few other European countries. Continue Reading →

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Face Masks Are Back

When we offered our face masks at our cost – and the option to donate them to front-line workers at bike shops – the entire production run was spoken for within just a few hours. Clearly, our customers need masks for their errands and also for their rides when the country reopens. It will be nice stop along the way again during our rides… Continue Reading →

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Thank you!

This post is to say ‘Thank you!’

It’s no secret that times are difficult. The news are not encouraging. Businesses everywhere are struggling, and we’re not exempt.

We appreciate your orders at all times, but now they are doubly important. As we take turns working in our empty office and warehouse, we’re encouraged by the nice notes that you leave in the ‘Comments’ field of your orders.

We’ve noticed that more than usual, you renew your Bicycle Quarterly subscriptions for two or three years. We appreciate the vote of confidence – yes, we plan to keep publishing for much longer than that! – and support. Many have given gift subscriptions to friends. Hopefully, the magazine will brighten their day during these shelter-at-home times.

Our customers – you – are our community. We appreciate your encouragement. We’ll continue to work hard to earn your trust and support. We’ll get through this difficult time together. Thank you!

—Jan & Natsuko

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Covid-19 Petition: Thank you!

Today, we delivered 1674 signatures to the National Governors’ Association, as well as to each state’s governor, urging them to develop strategies for the time after the current lockdowns. We all want to return to our normal lives – as much as possible – but this requires keeping the virus from flaring up again as soon as the current restrictions are eased. We don’t want to see a second wave that is as bad (or worse) than the first one we are experiencing right now. Continue Reading →

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Covid-19 after the lockdowns end: How to make our world safe again?

This is a post that we’d rather not write. We want this blog to focus on cycling, but we feel that urgent action is needed. This is not a feel-good measure, and it may negatively impact our business, but that is not the question we must ask ourselves. When people are dying, when health care workers are risking their lives to save them, we have a responsibility to speak out. We want to thank Donalrey Nieva (@donalrey) for his haunting photos from New York City that illustrate what we’ve lost, but also what we still have.
—Natsuko & Jan

Social Distancing is working!

Today, the ‘Stay-at-Home’ orders in Washington State are going into their third week. Infections seem to be plateauing, and our governor has even been able to return some ventilators to the National Stockpile. Those are the good news, and we are grateful for them. Continue Reading →

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Covid-19 Response: Making Face Masks

In contradicting what we’ve been taught until now – that face masks are not useful – I fully expect this post to be controversial. But too much is at stake, so please read on with an open mind.

The good news from Seattle is that our current lockdown seems to be working. New infections appear to be leveling off. It’s too early to tell whether this will last, but it’s encouraging: We aren’t powerless. We can change the trajectory of this pandemic. Unfortunately, the situation is more difficult in many places, and our thoughts go out to all who are affected. It’s a scary time! Continue Reading →

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Keeping our employees safe


Yesterday, Washington State finally issued an order for everybody to stay at home to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus. It’s something most of us wanted to see much sooner, and we’ve been acting for several weeks as if it had been in place already.

Bicycle repair facilities and companies who supply them – which includes Rene Herse Cycles – are exempt from the shut-down, so we’ll continue to operate. However, that does not mean we’ll act irresponsibly. There is too much at stake here, both for our employees and the community at large.

To keep everybody safe, we have adjusted our work schedules so that no two employees work at the same time in our office or warehouse. None of our equipment and tools are shared any longer. We’ve even split up our bathrooms. Basically, this means that our employees are as safe at work as they would be at home.

All these changes mean that our operations have become more complicated and time-consuming. Some things are barely affected. We are still shipping orders and producing Bicycle Quarterly as before. We’re still offering warranty support and processing returns as long as we can receive mail. Even in these difficult times, we continue to stand 100% behind everything we sell.

Other things are becoming more difficult. Product development has slowed. Shipments from suppliers are held up, so some things may be out of stock soon. And we cannot offer individual tech support any longer, because this requires in-person communication at the office to find accurate and useful answers.

This means that we’re no longer able to respond to customer service emails – except those submitted via our Returns and Warranty forms. And please don’t try to send us your questions via Instagram, Facebook or the Letters-to-the-Editor page on the Bicycle Quarterly web site. It’s simply not possible to respond and maintain a safe working environment.

That doesn’t mean you are left out in the cold when it comes to tech support for our products. We’ve expanded the support pages on our web site, so that they cover most common – and many uncommon – questions. You’ll find illustrated step-by-step instructions, frequently asked questions, tips and links to blog posts. Use the ‘Support’ tab in our main menu (above) to get started.

We hope you’ll find these resources useful. And we appreciate your understanding while we continue to adjust to this extraordinary situation. Thank you, and please be careful and safe!

Top photo: Technical inspection at the 1947 Concours de Machines technical trials (Rene Herse Archives).

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We’re open and staying safe

Many customers and readers have asked and worried about us. This post is to reassure everybody that we’re doing fine at Rene Herse Cycles. For the time being, Seattle is relying on everybody’s best efforts of social distancing and staying home, and there is no mandatory lockdown. Fortunately, people are taking it seriously. I went for a walk today and saw a couple talk to the owner of a classic car – while keeping a distance of 8 feet.

At Rene Herse Cycles, we’ve instated policies to ensure the safety of our employees and others in our community. Where possible, our team is telecommuting. The other employees have staggered their shifts, so there is minimal contact. It’s a bit lonely to be working alone in the office and warehouse, but it’s the best way right now.

We appreciate your support in these difficult times. Thank you! Continue Reading →

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