On a warm, sunny day in the mid-1980s, Anne Hed walked into a bike shop in the Twin Cities to find the person that turned out to be her soulmate: barefoot with no shirt on, covered in grease, and his hair dyed magenta. It was Steven Hed; and he was ...
Paul Spiegelman , Contributor Opinions expressed by Forbes Contributors are their own.
Hed Cycling began with the love story of its two founders, Anne and Steven Hed.
On a warm, sunny day in the mid-1980s, Anne Hed walked into a bike shop in the Twin Cities to find the person that turned out to be her soulmate: barefoot with no shirt on, covered in grease, and his hair dyed magenta. It was Steven Hed; and he was Anne’s last hope for taking advantage of the coveted entry spot she’d earned in the Hawaiian Ironman Triathlon. A college athlete with little money, she took a tip from a friend and boldly walked into Steve’s bike shop and asked him to sponsor her for $100.
“He just pulled out a check and said ‘Of course I’ll help you,’” Anne remembers. “He asked if I needed anything else, so I told him that I could use a better bike. Just like that, I had my entry to the race and a new bike.”
Wearing the name of Steve’s shop on her jersey, Anne competed in the Hawaiian Ironman and placed in the women’s top 15, launching her career as a triathlete. She traveled the world for her races, training on the bike Steve had given her. Soon enough, Anne’s colleagues noticed there was something different about her bike.
“People were asking me, “Where did you get that wheel?’” Anne says. “Steve was always tinkering around in his garage, and he had this idea to make me a solid disk back wheel. Mine was the first wheel that he had made, but other people really wanted it. All of a sudden, we had to try and figure out how to make more of these wheels.”
Though Anne and Steve had just started dating, she wanted to find a way to help him make more wheels. When Anne saw that a race in Vermont was offering a new car as the first place prize, she flew out and won herself a Subaru hatchback. Despite winning the car, she was just 22 years old and didn’t have much to her name. Likewise, Steve wasn’t much of a businessman and his bike shop barely made a profit. Soon enough, Anne found herself walking in and out of banks with Steve’s wheel in tow, asking for a loan.
“Of course, most of them turned me down,” Anne says. “But one gentleman asked me a few more questions, including what I owned. I told him I owned a car and a bike, and he offered me $14,000 for the title of the car.”
Anne Hed racing with the wheel Steven invented.
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