In the fall of 2010, we established a team of people who knew a thing or two about how to make bikes. We saw an opportunity to form a new company and walk the hard path of starting anew. Once committed, the first step was finding the right name and identity for our fledgling brand.
There were about a dozen of us, brainstorming poolside, in the backyard of a Las Vegas rental after Interbike. Our Art Director swung us back to a particularly inspiring quote of Yvon Chouinard, the founder of Patagonia, from the film 180° South:
“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.”
The idea of turning around and moving forward to face the challenges head-on was compelling. It meant retracing some steps, but we would know where to expect the bumps in the road.
The discussion kept coming back to the word, turn and all of its connotations, but the word itself lacked personality. With the beer and creativity flowing, a tangential discussion led us to names of migratory animals. After all, we wanted to change how people get around, so that category seemed a fitting source of inspiration. Serendipitously, an internet search found the world-champion of migratory animals to be the Arctic Tern.
Being a homophone was already a huge plus, but the nature of the bird is what helped solidify the choice. The Artic Tern has innate characteristics that embody the company we envision.
A global traveler
The Artic Tern covers amazing distances. It’s usually found in high-density communities. It’s highly invested in choosing good partners, since terns mate for life.
Although not endangered, its global migratory habits make it susceptible to a range of climate issues. We are sensitive to the impact we have on the planet and believe bicycles can help stem the tide of climate change.
71,000 km per year
It flies an average of 71,000 km per annual migration, or nearly 2.5 million km in a lifetime: the longest distance travelled by any animal. Completing the same distance on a bicycle would require riding at an average commuter speed, every waking hour, everyday, all year long.
It is has a relatively long lifespan of more than 30 years. For a company, we think that would be a pretty good start.
Mates for life
This means the Arctic Tern values reliability and long-term relationships. These are values upon which we also place high import.
A social animal
It is a social animal that shows concern for its companions. We expect the same from all members of the Tern global family.
Small and lightweight
Both traits make for efficient transportation, which we strive to enable with our products.
And thus Tern came to life.