What is Urban Bicycle Design?

Great question! There is little doubt that most of the major cities in this country such as Detroit, Chicago, L.A., New York City, Atlanta and others are more than 90% minority. Within the confines of these cities, there is a whole culture that some of you have lived while still others have only read about, heard about, or seen on TV or at the movies. When I say Urban, I am talking about a lifestyle that includes, but isn't limited to: Fashion, Music, Hairstyles, families, schools and a host of other things that are largely minority driven. When I say minority, I am not talking about African-Americans only, but Latinos (who recently became the largest minority population in this country topping 40 million), Asians, African, and others. Before I tell you what it is, I am going to tell you what Urban Bicycle Design is not.

It is not kids and youth riding around in city parks on bicycle trails. It is not bicycle parks set up in the suburbs with suburban kids and youth 'Jumping ramps', riding down stairs, doing tricks and all of that! When I say Urban Bicycle Design, the definition is "Bicycles that will appeal to an inner city market by representing its' culture, lifestyles, fashions and FUNK!" The key word in that definition is "Inner City". When some think of inner city life, they get an image of "The Ghetto" if you will. All inner city neighborhoods are not ghettos. That thought process may spawn into images of bicycles rolling around with "Spinners" (rims) or loud music. Again, that isn't URBAN! I think to put spinners and rims like that on bicycles would be tacky and totally miss the essence of Urban Funk. I keep using that word Funk don't I? If you do not know what funk is, I can't explain it to you but I can try and paint you a picture.

Chrysler has designed a really nice car called the Lincoln Town Car. The 2006 models are beautiful. However, Chrysler also designed a car in 2003 called the 'Chrysler 300' which was the Motor Trend Car of the Year in 2003 and 2004. (Incidentally, the lead designer on that car was an African-American.) The Town Car is a nice vehicle wouldn't you say? But the 300 is FUNKY! It's kind of like Soul, can't properly explain it, but one knows it when they hear it. Whitney Houston is one of the best selling female music artists of all time. She has a great voice but no soul. Aretha Franklin has Soul! Designing 'Funk' demands that one stay true to what is uniquely urban. Let me paint you a small picture of what I am talking about.

What if instead of just a regular, black covered leather (or pleather) seat on a bicycle, that same seat is not covered with leather, but denim? Not just a plain blue denim, but for the girls, a soft pink denim and for the boys a dark maroon denim covered seat. Let's take it a step further, what if instead of the status quo bicycle reflectors that are all shaped the same, those very same reflectors are made 1\3 larger and cut in the shape of diamonds? Put two on each rim and not just one. How would that look yall? Imagine with me if you will that instead of 32-45 spokes on a rim, that number was tripled to 120 spokes. The naysayers will say "Well that would make the rims heavy!" Well, what if the spokes are 1\3 as thin as normal! This would create an incredible "Bling-Bling" affect when the sun hits them.

Take a walk with me for just a few more moments and picture this: What if instead of a normal set of handle bars, someone designed handle bars in the shape of 'Raptor Ears'! What if instead of the run of the mill chrome mags, a little girls bike has chrome mags that are in the shape of daisies? These daisies could be outlined with a soft pink accent to match the color of the bicycle. What about a name for these bicycles? The junior girls soft pink, daisy styled bike could be called 'Baby's Beach' or 'Queen'. Many of you will not be able to picture what I am saying, but again, it's all about the 'Funk'. I can picture a bike theme of 'El Tigre' dedicated to our Latino brothers and sisters! How hot would a bicycle be that was painted like a Tiger? With a black imitation fur seat with dark orange tiger stripes on it!!!! Watch this yall- What would be really urban is thick black nasty tires, dark orange rims, with black 8 point, diamond shaped mags! The frame would have to stay light, but thicker than normal because those tiger stripes have to be an eyecatcher. WOW.

That is some Parliament P-Funk stuff. More later.

Inspired by:

Marshall 'Major' Taylor


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