Local bike shops argue that invitations to bid on a massive contract to provide 300 police patrol bikes for the Republican National Convention lists specifications that can only be fulfilled by a Seattle-based bike company.
Eddy’s Bike Shop, with locations in Stow, North Olmsted, Willoughby Hills and Montrose, said it was in discussions with the Cleveland Police Department to help provide 300 patrol bikes for the RNC this July.
Store Manager Landon Tracey told newsnet5.com that his local business spent time getting the proper permits, researching past conventions, putting together a prototype and having police officers come into the store and test out the bikes.
Landon was told the city was looking out of state and said his fears were confirmed last week when the city issued the official invitation to bid.
“The way the bid is written, it kind of just shuts everybody out,” Tracey said.
They specifically asked for a Volcanic Vx7 bike, a model manufactured by the Seattle-based company Volcanic Patrol Bikes.
The bid allows “exceptions” but the Chainstay and Seat Yoke specification is listed as a “must have.”
“They’re very specific parts on this bike that are only made with this volcanic bike and you’re not going to find any other manufacturer out there that can provide them,” Tracey said.
For the 2012 RNC Convention, Tampa paid nearly $1,800 for their version of the police patrol bikes. Tracey said he’s confident that his and other local shops could provide a comparable alternative for less.
newsnet5.com reached out to the city to ask why the Seattle bike company’s product is used as the standard in the bid, despite a pledge to favor local products for RNC contracts when possible.
"This is a competitive bid process and thus, the City will not comment until a bid has been accepted by the City," a spokesman for the city said Tuesday morning.
Councilman Matt Zone, chair of the Safety Committee, told newsnet5.com that he’s been contacted by local bike companies about the concerns.
“It’s a very fair criticism of the city,” Zone said. “You know we have local ordinances that are designed to give personal preferences to local retailers, to Cleveland small business.”
Zone said the selection is out of the Council’s hands but he will “strongly advocate” for local consideration for the bid.
The bids are due on March 19.