• Factory Tour of Worksman Cycles in Ozone Park NYC

    by  • October 14, 2014 • Bike Tours, Ideas We Love • 0 Comments

    Last Friday I joined Open House New York’s Factory Friday tour of Worksman Cycles in Ozone Park, Queens a series which opens up local factories to the public. Worksman Cycles is a bicycle and tricycle manufacture which has survived and thrived since 1898. The President and Director of Marketing, Wayne Sosin and Bruce Weinreb took us on a tour that followed the beginnings of building a bike from cutting tubing all the way through assembly and packing.

    outside Worksman Cycles

    Wayne and Bruce taking us around the perimeter

    Largely a manufacturer of industrial grade tricycles, think a vehicle to transport people and goods around a Boeing plant, one of their large customers – Worskman makes everything from lugs to wheels and parts in between.

    vintage machinery

    tube cutting and specification machinery

    putting tubing together on the jig

    putting tubing together on the jig

    This particular frame builder has been with Worksman for a long time and according to Bruce has probably built more bicycle frames in his life than anyone else in the US.

    welding brass into the tubing

    welding brass into the tubing

    Welding is not an easy task and before employees can move up the welding later they have to spend about five years on simpler welding jobs.

    brass on the droputs

    brass on the droputs

    IMG_7573

    women building wheels

    My grandmother used to work on the line in a car parts factory and seeing these women reminded me of the her tough work.

    It seems like Worksman is a good place to work as evidenced from their local hiring practices. 65% of employees live within a five mile radius and walk or bike to work. A fair amount of employees on the industrial floor had been there from anywhere to 5 to 25 plus years. I did have a chance to talk to one employee directly and he told me it was “just a job.” Perhaps doing the same few task over and over is what it is.

    vintage machinery for wheel building

    vintage machinery for wheel building

    trueing wheels

    trueing wheels

    custom vender cart builds

    our group in the custom vender cart section

    Another 10-15% of the Worksman business is in building out custom made food trucks and carts which helps when one industry isn’t doing so well.

    Overall it was nice to see a local NYC factory producing durable bikes at affordable prices. And even nicer, it isn’t full of white men hipsters with beards but rather the factory is an actual reflection and employer of the local community.

    For more photos, check out Flickr.