Sunday, December 22, 2013

DIY Bike Gift Ideas

Are you having trouble finding last minute gifts for some of your bike friends? Maybe all you need is some stealth DIY creativity to dress up their ride before Christmas morning. Take a look at these two sites for inspiration:

Bike Hacks where you will find handy ideas like bike rack extensions using coat hangers:

And this list of 24 DIY bike projects on Trend Hunter. My favorite is the insta snow tires using zip ties--could be a winning gift if you're buried under a white Christmas:

Monday, December 2, 2013

Planned Obsolescence in the Bike Industry

The recent success of our Kickstarter campaign for our Bike Shift Lever has kept me focused on product development. Because this shift lever is designed for the needs of people who rely on their bicycle, my main concern is durability and repairability even as we keep the cost low. Unlike the bike industry, One Street Components must design our parts to last for many years, not just one.
The bike industry’s obsession with yearly obsolescence of bikes and parts has led to flimsy products that hardly last a year and cannot be repaired. They’ve also managed to create gear, brake and wheel systems that are not interchangeable with others so the entire system must be thrown away if even one of its parts breaks. And you can bet they will. When I owned my bike shop, this drove me crazy right along with my customers who had to pay the bill. Now at least I have the opportunity to create alternatives.

I understand that companies must earn profits. Even One Street Components must ensure that we price our shift lever and later products to ensure we cover all costs as well as earn some profit in order to continue production. And we’re a nonprofit organization.

What baffles me is the bike industry’s fixation on selling to the same bike enthusiasts they’ve been selling to for the last thirty years. They seem to believe that as long as they can convince these same cyclists to replace their bike every year, the bike industry will thrive.

None of the large bicycle or parts manufacturers seem to recognize the vast majority of people who are either stuck with department store junk bikes or are not riding a bike yet. I look at the 80% of the world’s population who are living in or near poverty and see customers who are longing for an affordable, quality bike with parts they can repair themselves. The bike industry doesn’t see them at all.

I could rant about this for pages, but since this is a blog post, I’d better stop here and leave more for future posts. If you have something to add to this, please leave a comment.

Thursday, November 28, 2013


Today is Thanksgiving in the U.S. and a perfect day to get this blog rolling as all the activities that prompted it seem to be gaining momentum. We’re celebrating our successful Kickstarter campaign for our Bike Shift Lever. The book that started the buzz, Defying Poverty with Bicycles, continues to sell as more and more leaders of bicycle programs gain the courage to start their own Social Bike Business program. I am fortunate to receive more and more phone calls and emails from such leaders asking the hard questions about how to help people with bicycles in their community. My thanks today go especially to all these courageous leaders who have made this discussion vital.

Just yesterday, I spoke with a man in Los Angeles for over an hour as he and I worked through the many different ways he can launch his own social bike business program. I was particularly inspired by his vision of adapting three-wheeled bicycles into rolling bicycle repair businesses. He wants to find a way to start a comprehensive bicycle mechanic training workshop where he and his team can train homeless people who are looking for a way to break out of poverty. And the coolest part of his vision is he believes he can make it work for homeless children, too.

My very favorite part of my job at One Street is enjoying phone calls and emails like that. I would never have imagined a program like Social Bike Business, or written the book, without my countless discussions with people who know that bicycles change lives, that these simple yet powerful machines are not just metal frames on wheels, but wings that lift people into dignity.

I am so glad to finally type into this new channel for engaging many more of these important discussions. It’s a whole new technology for me, so please bear with me if I bumble about with it a bit.

That’s another reason Thanksgiving is a perfect day for this first real post because I wouldn’t be typing in this strange text box if not for the help and inspiration of lots of great folks. Thanks to Mikael at for making me vow to keep a high standard with this thing. Pressure’s on! Thanks to Chuck at Civano Web Design for your patient problem solving as we nestled this blog into the One Street web site.

Thanks to all the wonderful blogs I have enjoyed over the years along with those I newly discovered as I wrapped my head around blogging. My favorites (so far) are linked in the right column. And finally, thanks to all the fabulous Blogger forum users who first walked me through the basics and, for the final tweaks today, had me rewriting the HTML code in the blog template.

What a team! Thanks to all of you! And hey, whether you’re celebrating Thanksgiving in your part of the world or not, have a wonderful, thankful day!


Monday, October 28, 2013

Getting Ready to Launch This Blog

We're finally working through the final details for launching this blog. I can hardly wait to dive into the discussion. Thanks for your patience as we do the final spit shine.