Don't be a New Fool-Be an Old Fool

Companies such as Chrysler and Pacific Cycles are now openly holding so called 'Spin it your way' and 'What kind of bike would you like to see' suggestions. They want you to email in design suggestions,send them a sketch or even send in a 3-D Model of your hot idea! Now readers correct me if I am wrong, don't those companies and many like them PAY PEOPLE to come up with hot designs?

I guess that is beside the point. I understand the need for these kinds of contests but the point of a contest is that there they are supposed to be for a limited time, they should have a close date, and there should be two winners, the company gets free publicity and the contestant usually gets a valuable prize. The way these two particular contests are set up is they don’t have a close date, I can’t find what the prize is that either company is offering and IF anyone submits a hot design or suggestions for improvement, the only clear winner is Pacific Cycles and Chrysler!

Readers, I speak from experience when I tell you that any designer has to be careful putting their ideas, sketches, etc out there for a company or general public consumption. On this very blog that you are reading, I had a guy who owns a Bicycle Company come across my blog and ‘Steal’ one of the sketches I posted. Not only that he emailed me back the design when it was finished and asked me “What do you think of my design?” Now that was bold!
I said all of that to say this, a designer has to understand the value of their ideas and designs. Instead of just giving your ideas to someone who undoubtedly will make MILLIONS off your ideas if they are hot enough, package and sell them yourself!

Even if you don’t package them and sell them because you don’t have the financial wherewithal to do so, your expertise and experience makes you a consultant. Why should you help companies like these improve their products for free when all they will do is turn around and charge you to buy a product that you designed? Remember this, if they haven’t thought of it and you have, IT HAS VALUE! An example of this is the mail service that most of you use called ‘Hotmail’. This service started off as a guy wanting an easy way to electronically communicate with his colleagues. It grew a little and at that time in the 1990’s, the software giant Microsoft didn’t have such a service. The entrepreneur sold Hotmail to Microsoft for a reported amount of $400 Million dollars! That guy didn’t give his idea away for free or submit it as part of a contest. His idea had value and so does yours!


Bicycle Design for an Urban Audience

As a bicycle (for youth) enthusiast, I have been really surprised at the lack of consideration that has been given to our inner-city youth as it pertains to bicycle design. These urbanites have a unique sense of fashion, Hip-Hop music, unique hair-styles, their own lingo and culture. Yet, their bicycles, 81% of which are purchased at 'Big Box Retailers', look like everyone Else's. For those of you who do not follow this culture, fashion, music, and culture usually start in urban areas and spread out from there. These consumers are demanding, as was I, yet there is a huge disparity between what they wear, how they talk and the bicycles they ride.

All of the way up to about 1988, there really was no choice for these particular consumers when it came to fashion. Jordache, Levis, and Wranglers were the order of the day. Right about 1989, a company called FUBU (For Us By Us) came and the scene in the fashion world and changed everything! Over the next 10 years and right up until today, all sorts of Urban clothing lines have sprouted up with names like Karl Kani, PHAT FARM, BABY PHAT, Sean John, Rocka Wear and many others. These brands represent somewhere in the neighborhood of $2.3. Billion annually in sales. While this may seem like a 'Drop in the bucket' of total fashion revenues yearly, consider this: The minority population in this country represents 100.2 million people as of the end of 2006 and is growing at a clip of about 4% annually with a combined spending power estimated at $1.8 TRILLION dollars.

If anyone of you are wondering "Where is this guy going with this?" The answer is, there is a huge vacuum in the bicycle market that has to be filled by someone. The big boys, Pacific Cycles, Huffy, and others are sleeping on this market! Not only that, as most of you may know, the Wal-Mart brand of bicycles, created by the big boys 'Next' are very poorly designed and constructed and have lousy mechanical records to boot. I have seen only 2 designs at these stores in the last 10 years that I believed to be hot. One is the ever popular 'Sting Ray' and the other was a bike for junior girls called 'Daisy Diva'. There are a few companies that I believe have nice bikes like 3G Bicycles and Phat Cycles. However, I think there is a level of 'Funk' that has yet to be achieved in design.

I would really like to know if there is anyone out there truly impressed by the product offerings currently on the market. When you respond, remember that I am strictly talking about Bicycles at Big Box retailers, price points between $60-$280.


Chrysler’s 2008 300 and Bicycle Design

2008 Chrysler 300 Royale

I saw a commercial for a car yesterday and I was simply blown away. So much so that I literally yelled out “You’ve got to be kidding me!” Chrysler came out with a Model called the 300 in 2003 and it was the hottest production model car seen in years! It won Motor Trends car of the year award in 2003 and 2004. 2008 brought another evolution in the 300 Series. The commercial for this car has African-American people in it and it shows at least 3 different 300’s with this just funked out, 2 tone paint jobs, nicer rims than before, bigger front grills and they are just nice! As usual I thought to myself “Why can’t a bicycle design exude true Urban nastiness like that?” Fear not my loyal readers, they absolutely can and I promise you that I am in the process of sketching something right now that will be the equivalent of this car.

Nevertheless, take a look at this car yall. In my mind, this is not only funky but elegant especially for the price range it is in. The designers could have gone to far and made it look tacky (Remember in design sometimes more is just that-More), but the beauty of this design is they STOPPED adding stuff at the right moment! Ah my heart longs to see a bicycle design that flows with the FUNK like this car. Wait a minute, the time is very near and if you my readers, have just a little patience, I promise to show you some stuff you’ve never seen before!

The Chrysler Imperial is also nice. It meant to give you a Royal’s Royce image at an affordable price. It is kind of funky although I can’t envision a funky bicycle design springing from this. Yet, it shows that the auto industry is reaching out to a segment of the market that is looking for something more stylish and affordable.

For those of us who thoroughly enjoy the retro 1970’s style Hood Ornaments, most prominent on Cadillac and Chrysler, this 300 Cerebus with the hood ornament will definitely ‘Float Your Boats’. When I saw this Hood Ornament all I could say was “I saw the funk, and it was good!” Remember I told you all in an earlier post that I had a ghetto style Pee-Wee Herman when I was a kid and the highlight of that was an Old School Cadillac Hood Ornament I fixed to the front fender by punching a hole in it and securing it was a piece of a clothes hang.
Some bad news on all of these pictures that are posted here folks. All of these were presented at an Auto Show so they are known as ‘Concept Cars’. It is very common for a concept car to look a little bit different from the production model of the same cars, which is what winds up at your local dealerships.
300 Cerebus Hood Ornament


Famous 1st Athletes

In our continuing search for Famous African-American 1sts in athletics, I came across the following athletes. These athletes were ground breakers in many ways and just like Marshall Taylor, are largely forgotten. Some of them are shocking and some just gave me greater insights into the role black folks played in early American Athletics. For instance, did you know that 13 of the 15 jockeys that started in the 1st Kentucky Derby in 1875 were African-American? Enjoy!

Oliver Lewis was an African-American Jockey who won the very 1st Kentucky Derby Horse Race in 1875. 13 of the 15 jockeys that started that race were also African-American!

Willie Thrower was the 1st African-American Quarterback to appear in an N.F.L. Game for the Chicago Bears on October 18th, 1953. NO Doug Williams of the Washington Redskins wasn't the 1st African-American Quarterback, though he was the 1st to win a Super Bowl!

Called by some ‘Soul on Ice’, Mr. Willie O’ree was the 1st African-American player to enter the National Hockey League when he took the ice for the Boston Bruins in 1958.

George Poage is the 1st African-American Summer Olympic Medalist. These Olympic Summer Games took place in St. Louis Missouri in 1904.
After reading some of the stories of these 4 men I was completely at a loss for word! If there are 4 here, there must be many more recorded in others places! Developing story.....