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Trekking over to Trek headquarters in Waterloo

Since 1976, Trek Bicycle Corporation has stayed Wisconsin through and through.

Exterior of Trek Bicycle Corporation headquarters in Waterloo, Wisconsin.jpg

Trek Bicycle Corporation started in 1976 in Waterloo, Wisconsin. | Photo by 608today

It’s National Bike Month, but in the 608, that’s every month. Madison is consistently listed as one of the most bike-friendly cities in the country and was recently recertified as a platinum-level bicycle-friendly community by the League of American Bicyclists.

On top of that, the headquarters of one of the most iconic bicycle brands in the world — Trek Bicycle Corporation — is just a bike ride away.

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Trek Bicycle Corporation started over a meal at a supper club in Lake Mills. | Photo by 608today

Wheeling over to Waterloo

Driving through Waterloo (population 3,000), you may not guess that it’s home to the world headquarters of a $2 billion company employing upwards of 2,000 people globally. But that’s where Trek was born, grew, and continues to grow.

It was at a supper club in 1975 that Dick Burke and Bevil Hogg decided to start manufacturing bicycles together. By the following spring, with five employees, they set to work in a red barn (still red, and still there).

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This former carpet warehouse was the birthplace of Trek Bicycle Corporation. | Photo by 608today

Growing to global success

Business blossomed as sales approached $2 million by 1979. In 1981, the company was in need of a new facility and moved to its current location to 801 W. Madison St.

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Lance Armstrong won his first Tour de France aboard a Trek bicycle. | Photo by 608today

Building a wide variety of bicycles and gear, Trek has become coveted the world over. Today, the 200,000-sqft facility is abuzz with a wide array of activity, from research and development to painting frames, assembly, and kinetic research.

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The Trek 100 is a charity bike ride every year in Waterloo. | Photo by 608today

Jonathan Shipley

Staying local

Continuing to be a global leader, Trek bicycles will be used during the Paris Olympics this summer by some of the world’s best athletes, all the while staying true to its Wisconsin roots.

Want to learn more? You can:

  • Tour the headquarters on Wednesdays at 10 a.m.
  • Ride in the Trek 100, a bike ride raising funds for childhood cancer research, that will take place in Waterloo on Saturday, June 8.
  • Visit Trek’s retail stores on the east or west side.
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