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Tern (47)

The folks at Tern Bicycles want to get more people out of their cars and onto bikes. With a goal to keep the planet livable for future generations, the company’s focus on urban mobility stems from the belief that bikes play a critical role in the future of sustainable transportation. They started as folding bike experts and radically changed the cargo bike in 2017.

Before the Tern GSD, living in an upper floor apartment meant having to find someplace else to store your cargo bike. All you need today is enough space for a potted plant. Designed to fit in elevators, the GSD is the same length as a regular bike, and you can store it vertically because the rack doubles as a sturdy stand. The handlebar folds neatly out of the way.

Each Tern bike is designed with a specific type of rider in mind, whether it be a parent wanting to haul kids, a city dweller living in a mid-rise apartment, or a retiree looking for a bike that they can fit in their car. Tern took everything that is good about the GSD and shrunk it when they designed the HSD, introduced in 2019. The HSD is a more capable hauler than a standard bike with a rear rack, yet, it’s smaller. It’s a parent’s answer to school drop-offs.

Tern’s designs have won numerous awards. Their families of bikes include the GSD, HSD, Vektron, BYB, Verge, Link, Eclipse, and Node, and they have kid and cargo accessories, too. Beyond focusing all of their efforts on making bikes that are useful, the Taiwan-based company donates 1% of net profits every year to social and environmental causes.

Their name is a homophone. The eponymous Arctic Tern is a small and lightweight bird with innate characteristics that Tern says embody the company. When spelled differently, it means a change in direction. Tern credits inspiration from what Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard said in the film 180° South. The outdoor clothing company's founder said, “The hardest thing in the world is to simplify your life. It’s so easy to make it complex. The solution, may be, for a lot of the world's problems is to turn around and take a forward step. You can’t just keep trying to make a flawed system work.”

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