28 March, 2016

Orbea's 175th Anniversary: Earth

“Orbea competes with the same weapons as others, but while keeping their feet on the ground in the same place where they were born, in Euskadi, in Europe, the same region where the bicycle was born and matured. Orbea remains practically the only major brand with a strong presence between the Basque Country and Portugal”. (Excerpt from Orbea's 175th Anniversary book).

The Basque Country: special terrain.

The Basque Country, our land, has made us what we are. A special land, nestled between the Pyrenees Mountains and the Cantabrian Sea, crossed by green mountains and traced by narrow valleys. It is a terrain marked by the work and the way of life of the Basque people, whose origins in craftsmanship have given way to industrial production.

In the Basque Country, Eibar, where Orbea was founded 175 years ago, was no stranger to this evolution in the labor field. It put the firewood from its forests to good use, fueling the forges for its iron work. Eibar earned its nickname as the armorer town by specializing in the production of firearms until the early 20th century.

Bicycles: our livelihood and passion.

The decrease in weapon orders following World War I required a certain amount of reflection on the direction our manufacturing should take. And bicycles proved to be the solution. This was logical, since it was possible to take advantage of the knowledge we had of handling tubes for cannons in order to make bicycle frames.

It also made sense in light of the great passion for cycling that existed throughout the region, a breeding ground for the emergence of devoted cyclists, promising athletes and a good number of races.

A deeply rooted bicycle culture

This passion also spawned an unrivaled fan base. It was present in the mid-part of the last century in our native Eibar, with the Bicicleta Eibarresa squad, and much earlier in many corners of Euskadi, where fans fervently supported the Tour of the Basque Country.

This passion could be felt in the Arrate and Urkiola Climbs. Little by little, it became increasingly more visible in the major competitions, such as the Tour of France in its stages in the Pyrenees, where the fans made sure that orange was the color of every meter of the ascent.

This passion was represented in the historic Eibarrés-GAC Cycling Club and in Real Unión de Irún, as well as in Orbea-Danena, Fundación Euskadi, Euskaltel Euskadi, Orbea Continental and Euskadi Basque Country Murias. It is currently felt in endeavors such as Basque Country Cycling, which make it possible to combine cycling with the discovery and exploration of our land.

We continue to feel this passion in our current headquarters in Mallabia. It is a passion, an emotion and recognition of the effort that is still to be found in the Basque Country, and at Orbea itself. After all, we are one of the few brands to keep our manufacturing plants in Europe.

This is the land in which we have planted our roots.