STERLING, Va. (WDVM) — Altor Locks, a 4-year-old American-made bike lock company, says it’s seeing an increase in customers since the pandemic affected public transportation and recreation.
In response, the company has been offering numerous sales, and it’s handing out locks free of charge to first responders and medical workers. The company says its apex lock is made of hardened steel and is impossible to break by hammer, freezing, or cutting with a bolt cut. It can be mounted on a bicycle frame and attached to a bike rack. Co-founder and COO Dylan Cato says the company started donating locks after he read an article about an Irish doctor whose bike was stolen in the middle of her 12-hour shift. Altor Locks contacted her and sent her a lock for free.
“You know, I never thought we’d really be able to do something in a situation like this,” Cato said. “So I was really just shocked to see that a small company like us could be even relevant in a pandemic — a global pandemic — we just never thought we’d be in this situation.”
He said he’s heard from medical workers who used to ride on public transportation before the pandemic, which is now limited or unsafe to use, and have resorted to biking to work. He’s also heard from medical workers who already had been biking to work.
“They weren’t concerned about their lock before, but now they heard that bikes were getting stolen from hospitals because it was one of the places where people were still coming to work every day,” Cato said.
Cato was a student at Lehigh University in 2015 when he met alumna Karen Schaufeld. An avid biker, Schaufeld decided to invent a bike lock of her own when she discovered most on the market can be cut through in under one minute. She met Cato through a Lehigh program that pairs companies with engineers to create and refine products. The pair launched a Kickstarter in 2016 and have developed three bike locks since, including the apex lock.
“We’re not a big company that has a bunch of money sitting around ready to throw out there, but we’re just trying to do our part,” Schaufeld said, now co-founder and CEO of Altor Locks.
First responders and medical workers in need can apply for a bike lock by messaging Altor Locks on Instagram or Twitter, or emailing them.
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