Business

Rolling toward a greener planet

 Jeff Groman, co-owner  of Classic Cycle, tests the brakes of a bike at his High School Road shop. - JIM BRYANT photo
Jeff Groman, co-owner of Classic Cycle, tests the brakes of a bike at his High School Road shop.
— image credit: JIM BRYANT photo

Classic Cycle is honored for its environmentally sound practices.

If biking wasn’t already green enough, Classic Cycle on High School Road just deepened it another shade.

Using a variety of innovative recycling and low-waste strategies, the four-year-old business has earned four out of five stars in the Kitsap County Health District’s EnviroStars program.

“The bike business is, in general, good for the environment,” said Classic Cycle co-owner Jeff Groman. “A lot of commuters on the island bike because they want to cut down on pollution.

“That kind of thinking goes hand-in-hand with our store.”

The EnviroStar program certifies businesses for taking steps to prevent pollution and reduce hazardous waste.

The program was created in King County in 1995 and came to Kitsap County two years later.

The goal “is to give businesses incentives and recognition for reducing hazardous waste, while giving consumers an objective way to identify environmentally sound businesses,” according to health district material.

Classic Cycle is the first bike shop in the county to earn such a rating, according to Eva Crim, the district’s pollution prevention coordinator.

Classic Cycle earned four stars for recycling more than just paper, glass and plastic. Solvents used to clean bike parts are stored after use and sent to a licensed hazardous waste collector.

“But we use so little solvents, they only have to come twice a year to collect it,” co-owner Els Heyne said.

Mechanics at the shop rely on citrus-based cleaners and more old-fashioned methods to clean parts.

“We use a lot of soap and water, and we’ve found elbow grease works pretty well too,” said Groman.

The shop is currently gathering a truckload of bent bike wheels for a trip to a metal recycler. Groman estimates the shop disposes of hundreds of used wheels each year.

Popped and punctured inner tubes at the shop have long seen new life as waterproof bags. Gathered in a bin, Classic Cycle periodically sends its rubber tubes to Seattle’s Alchemy Goods, a new business that converts them into bike messenger bags.

The shop also supplies Oregon’s Resource Revival with old chains and gears that are refashioned into clocks, jewelry and furniture.

Heyne is still searching for someone to take the copious numbers of used tires the shop pulls off bikes.

“It’s hard to find something to do with them, but it just calls for more innovation,” she said.

Sustainable business innovation is the lesson of nearly every day for Heyne, a first-year student in the Bainbridge Graduate Institute’s master of business administration program.

“At BGI we try and make business as sustainable as possible,” she said. “So while I’m in school, I’m also working to improve things at the shop. It’s a great warm-up, because there’s tons more things to do.”

While Heyne studies new ways to make the business greener, Groman is working to promote bicycle history.

Groman started the county’s first bike museum in Kingston last year, upstairs from Classic Cycle’s Kingston shop, and plans to more than double its size later this year.

Groman has more than 300 unique and antique bikes in his collection, including the machine used to set the world speed record in 1935.

Many of his bikes are also displayed at Bainbridge Bakers and the Harbour Public House.

With an extensive knowledge of cycling’s past, Groman believes modern eco-friendly business strategies are a natural fit.

“It’s just normal stuff we do,” he said. “These are just basic things that come with the territory of being in the bicycle business.”

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Green n’ clean

For more information about Classic Cycle, call 842-9191 or see www.kingstonclassiccycle.com.

View some of Classic Cycle’s recycled products at www.alchemygoods.com or www.resourcerevival.com.

For more information on the Kitsap County Health District’s EnviroStar program and how to get your business certified, see www.kitsapcountyhealth.com/environmenta_health/solid_waste/envirostars.htm

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