Queens bicycle maker teams with Wounded Warrior Project
by Lisa A. Fraser
Apr 10, 2012 |
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Wayne Sosin’s passion for making bikes and Al Giordano’s passion for helping wounded soldiers came together last Thursday when Worksman Cycles and the Wounded Warrior Project (WWP) launched a Special Edition Series of bicycles aimed to benefit wounded soldiers.
Sosin, the president of Worksman Cycles, and Giordano, co-founder of WWP, decided to team up last year to produce the bicycles, which are one of many products on the American market that fit into the mold of the “feel-good spending” trend.
“We figured that if we partnered with a really cool organization, it would be a ‘win-win-win’ situation,” Sosin said.
“We sell more bikes, so it’s a win for us and WWP gets big donations, a win for them,” he added. “And for the consumer it’s a win for them because I think people want to feel good about purchases that they’re making.”
Sosin said that there is also an appreciation for American-made products.
“There’s a host of people out there going out of their way to buy American-made products,” Sosin said, noting that the Special Edition Series bikes are all manufactured in the Ozone Park factory, which has called the neighborhood home since 1979.
Every purchase of a bike in the series will benefit the mission and programs of the WWP, a nonprofit organization that got its start in 2003.
WWP is based in Florida, but helps soldiers all around the country. The aim is to honor and empower wounded troops and to enlist the public’s aid for the needs of injured soldiers.
The organization provides direct programs, services and events to meet wounded soldiers’ needs, from benefits counseling and stress recovery programs to the Warriors to Work program, which trains soldiers to help them transition back into the civilian workforce.
For every bike sold, depending on the price, 10 percent of the retail purchase, or $50 – whichever is higher, will be donated directly to WWP.
“A lot of organizations say ‘a portion of the proceeds go to,’ but we don’t want to do that because there’s that mystery,” Sosin said. “This way people can actually feel like that $50 or 10 percent is a real number.”
Sosin said the literature included with each Special Edition bike purchase might even convince buyers to become supporters of WWP going forward, if they’re not already.
“We’re involved with a really great organization,” he said.
The bikes are priced in the mid-$400 to mid-$600 range. The steel bikes will be available in three frames – the Men’s Destroyer Heavyweight Cuiser and the Women’s and Men’s Patrol Midweight Roadsters.
The bikes come in two exclusive colors – Hell on Wheels Khaki and Haze Grey. Both are set off by distinctive WWP graphics on the top and down tubes.
The bikes also feature matte black handlebars and chain guards, which are unique to the series. There is also an optional Intruder Package, which adds matte black rims and fenders.
Sosin noted that the bikes are in between cruiser-style bikes and city bikes.
“They’re not racing bikes, they’re not mountain bikes,"he said. "They’re basically for people who want to ride around the neighborhood or have a nice casual Saturday ride in the park on the bike path.”
The bikes are currently available on the Worksman Cycles website, but Sosin said that soon the company will be rolling the bikes out to certain retailers.
Giordano said the partnership is another show of support for American soldiers. “The support we’ve gotten and continue to get is incredible,” he said.
U.S. Army retired Corporal Timothy Strobeo and former Sergeant Stephen Siwulec of the U.S. Marine Corps lauded the partnership between Worksman Cycles and WWP, as well as what WWP has done for them.
“Without the Wounded Warrior Project, I’d probably be 400 pounds sitting on my couch or worse,” said Siwulec, who was injured in Afghanistan.
Strobeo, who was injured in Iraq, praised WWP for the renewed camaraderie gained from joining the group.
“It’s one of the main things you miss when you leave the military," he said. "You go from having an instant family to the civilian world, which is a little more dog-eat-dog.”
Every July, the WWP hosts New York City Soldier Ride, a cycling program.
“We get the warriors directly out of the hospitals around Manhattan and out in the Hamptons,” Giordano said. “It gets them out and builds their self-confidence and self-esteem.”
“It just plugs right in perfectly with Worksman Cycles,” he added. “All in all, there’s no downside. This is small-town corporate America supporting our wounded warriors and allowing the American public to support the warriors.”
Worksman Cycles is one of the oldest bike manufacturers in the country. The company first started in Manhattan before moving to Ozone Park. The company employs 63 workers, all from around the New York City area.
Read more: Queens Ledger – Queens bicycle maker teams with Wounded Warrior Project