Windsor Boutique Bicycle Rack Manufacturer Launches with ‘Nice Rack’

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

The Urbanite - http://urbanitenews.com/

A Windsor entrepreneur is bringing new meaning to the phrase, “Nice rack.”

Dan Carter is the craftsman behind Nice Rack Bicycle Company, whose introductory product — a high quality steel, front-loading bike rack — encourages people to tote parcels on two wheels rather than four.

“The idea is to manufacture locally a tool that can be used by everyday cyclists, by utilitarian cyclists who don’t have cars that need to transport goods,” said Carter of Nice Rack. “Everyone [who’s seen the product] is very fond of it, and everyone nearly, instantaneously says, ‘That’s a nice rack.’”

Carter considers himself a Windsorite now, having moved here from Halifax six years ago. He studied communications and fine arts at the University of Windsor, but left the program after two years to pursue a welding diploma at St. Clair College.

“I came here for school and never looked back. I’m very fond of the city and the sense of community that’s here for young entrepreneurs. The bicycle community itself I would consider a newborn; there’s so much potential for co-operation with the city and communities,” said Carter, who has worked as a bicycle mechanic for 10 years and in local fabrication shops for the last six.

Carter started developing Nice Rack Bicycle Company two years ago after being approached by fellow cyclists in Windsor and Toronto. “[They] were bicycle messengers who explained that there was a gap, there wasn’t really any front-loading utility cargo racks on the market … that you could put a decent amount of weight on.”

The rack has two support blades that mount onto the front axle of the bike to provide stability for parcels weighing up to 125 lbs. Goods can be fastened to the rack with bungee cords, and crates and baskets can also be bolted to the rack.

There are other larger manufacturers making “different variables of a front rack,” according to Carter. He said, however, that most front carriers are baskets, whereas “the design platform of Nice Rack doesn’t limit the size of the package you put onto the rack.”

Carrying a large-sized and possibly heavy object may sound challenging for cyclists at first, but Carter maintained that “most people who ride with carriers on the front or the back tend to prefer the front of the bicycle because that’s where a bicycle is steered from. You can keep an eye on your parcel goods, whether it be a box of produce, a yoga mat or a case of beer.”

Nice Rack is selling for $125 online at thenicerack.ca and exclusively at City Cyclery locally. Carter is also launching the product in other major Canadian cities in the next month.

Carter places a large emphasis on building Nice Rack locally. He said the manufacturing and financial resources in Windsor-Essex are not as easily come by in other cities.

“I’m locally outsourcing in Essex County; from the tube suppliers to the laser cutting and power coating [of the rack],” said Carter. “I’m really fond of Windsor-Essex and the immense amount of talent that people hold in this community, specifically in manufacturing. … people are always willing to help out other people and small business.”

After two years of research and development, Carter said he’s proud of his product and has big plans for the new business.

“The Nice Rack Bicycle Company is not limited to one make and one model. I’m putting a lot of emphasis on promoting this model, but there are talks about building street parking bicycle racks to lock your bike to. I’d also like to move forward and start manufacturing bicycles themselves in the near future.”