When I worked at Midwest Express Airlines, a co-worker offered me an old rusted cruiser that was previously housed in a barn. I love to build bikes and decided to build it with a 7-speed rear hub and some cool parts. I really like mixing new technology with old design. The build-up turned out exactly like I imagined but it wasn’t real comfortable.
On top of that, the old steel frame is heavy and flexible. So I got to thinking about designs that might work better for a cruiser. Two factors played a big part in the outcome.
The first is my interest in recumbents. My wife and I purchased a tandem recumbent in order to enjoy cycling together. I am a long time cyclist where my wife didn’t even have a bicycle when she moved here from California. So this was the best way to enjoy each other while still being able to cycle at our own effort level. The comfort level is fantastic. I love it other than the feet up in the air riding position for the captain and always having to pay attention to the steering because of being on top of the front wheel.
This is definitely not a no-hands bicycle.
The second influence is my 20” banana seat bike that I had as a kid. Think of a Schwinn Sting-Ray although mine didn’t quite have that kind of pedigree. For those of you that had one or even just rode one, you know they were a lot of fun to ride. You dreamed of being on a motorcycle.
I started drawing. Some of my designs looked like the banana seat bicycle of my youth, others looked like some of the custom motor cycle frame designs you see on TV. The three main things I wanted to achieve were:
- The ability to put your feet on the ground when stopped
When I built my first prototype I realized the design also added these benefits:
- Safety – high enough to be seen and to see, as well as the ability to slam on the front breaks when needed without any fear of going over the handlebars.
- Easy to use: easy to get on and off, one hand shifting, low maintenance
- Frame design allows built in flex for additional comfort (although my first designs had a little too much flex!)
My other desire was to keep jobs here in the USA if at all possible. The only way to do that is to offer small batches of unique versions as well as completely custom built to order bikes. My passion is in creating many variations on this same theme to create bicycles that really speak to their owners.
My dream is to get more people out and about on bicycles. It is great for people that haven’t been on a bicycle in a while or for newcomers to active bicycling. It is easy to use, safe, and requires very little maintenance. This would make a great commuting bicycle (easy on and off, good ride height, can look over shoulder easily) and for cruising there is no better bike.
Whenever I see mine I want to get on it and ride, so I hope it does the same for you.
Another bike I took some inspiration from. My Cannondale Road bike. I stripped of the paint and painstakingly polished the aluminum form the look I wanted.