Tag: Business

Bike businesses that keep me pedaling: Lloyd Cycles (2 of 4)

Four part series of Midwest bike-related businesses that keep me and my bike rolling without hassle.

When the two seat stays became disconnected from the seat tube, I brought my bicycle to my local shop and asked for help.

I’m pretty sure at this time I had no idea what anyone could do about it, nor did I know that Owen Lloyd, the co-owner of Blue City Cycles, could fix it himself. He transported the bike to the Lloyd Cycles “shop” at Bubbly Dynamics (actually a shared space with shared equipment, 1048 W 37th Street). It was fixed by cutting off the existing seat stay cap, removing the seat stay cap still attached to the seat lug, inserting a brand new seat stay cap, and brazing this onto the seat lug.

Thank goodness it all worked out. I didn’t have to hunt down a new frame, or transfer my components onto another bike. Three days later and I was rolling on a slightly more durable bicycle.

Here’s what it looked like broken.

Here’s what it looks like fixed. A fixed fixie!

A Lloyd Cycles bike for sale at Boulevard Bikes, 2535 North Kedzie Blvd.

More in this series

  1. UV Metal Arts – Read it here
  2. Lloyd Cycles - You’re reading it!
  3. Kozie Prery – coming soon, and with a contest!
  4. Planet Bike – coming soon

Bike businesses that keep me pedaling: UV Metal Arts (1 of 4)

Four part series of Midwest bike-related businesses that keep me and my bike rolling without hassle.

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

Well, my rear rack was broken and I wanted someone to fix it. I didn’t want to buy a new rack if it could be fixed – I don’t want to send raw materials to the landfill. I contacted Owen Lloyd for help with welding a piece of my Planet Bike Eco Rack back together. The “deck” had detached from the last rail and was flapping around making noise but also reduced the strength of the rack structure. Thinking about it now, I could probably have asked Planet Bike for a replacement as they have a lifetime warranty on all of their products. But I wanted it fixed here and now.

Owen brought me over to Yuval “UV” Awazu of UV Metal Arts in Bubbly Dynamics at 1048 West 37th Street and his UV Metal Arts workshop in Bridgeport. The rack is made of aluminum and UV was the only craftsperson in the “factory” who can weld it. He can do way more than repairing small parts like these. He also powdercoats bike frames and “bakes” them in a tall, custom oven he built himself.

10 minutes later, I had a rack that was stronger than brand new!

My repaired rack. I highly recommend this rack as it only costs $21 on Amazon, but if you expect it to last longer than two years and carry weight on it daily (and maybe sometimes too much or lopsided), then get something stronger.

UV at the Bike Winter Cycle Swap in February. See more photos from this event.

A bicycle that UV colored. UV says you can choose just about any color (including metallics) for your item (powder coating is for more than just bicycles).

More in this series

  1. UV Metal Arts – You’re reading it!
  2. Lloyd Cycles – coming soon
  3. Kozie Prery – coming soon, and with a contest!
  4. Planet Bike – coming soon

Keep Portland weird!

Co-opting Austin’s marketing strategy, Portland also wants you to keep it weird (read the history of this slogan). If you haven’t yet, please peruse my 54 (so far!) photos I’ve uploaded from my trip to Portland, Oregon, in April this year.

A wall in Chinatown (yeah, Portland has a Chinatown) invites citizens and visitors alike.

Bicycling in Portland is so prevalent, you’ll see entire families on the streets riding their bikes to the park, to school, or shopping.

Check out Portland’s unique transportation facilities and improvements in my photoset, “Transportation in Portland.”

Response to “Stick To Your Strengths”

Response to “Stick To Your Strengths” on Creo Quality’s blog. Creo Quality assists life sciences organizations in, among other areas, product development.

Have you bought a candy bar recently? Let’s just look at Reese’s as an example. It used to be you had one choice: Reese’s peanut butter cups. Now they have several variations of peanut butter cups. They also have several other choices.

And what about soft drinks? How many varieties of Mountain Dew are there?

Why have these brands done this? They offer so many choices and seem to be straying from their strengths. It confuses me.

…Companies should stick to their strengths. Companies should have focus. Companies should try to deliver their products / services better than anyone else. Quit diluting your brand.

I think the answer is quite simple: Companies want to grow. Make more money. So one route is to make new products, and then see if it works. A “strength” wasn’t known as such until it was designed, introduced, marketed, and evaluated.

The McDonald’s Big Mac wasn’t always the most popular burger (or “strongest” sales leader) – it didn’t come out out 1967 and the first McDonald’s opened in 1940 (the corporation started 1955). Would you consider adding coffee or McCafé diluting the brand? McDonald’s is trying out new products. For all we know, Starbucks’ popularity could decline and coffee will be recognized as the fast food company’s second strength, behind cheap hamburgers.

I think brand dilution arises when companies don’t fully test their products before their release, or they don’t follow good marketing strategies. The brand isn’t diluted because they introduced new products. The failure of New Coke could have been averted if Coca Cola either A) paid closer attention to the results of the focus groups, or B) released New Coke as an additional product in the lineup. But Coca Cola has so many other “strengths” because it decided to stray from its main product line.

A different Coca Cola product tells an extremely different story: Fanta, the fruit-flavored soft drink. It was invented to deal with sales complications because of World War II and Nazi Germany. You can buy Fanta now in tens of flavors in almost 200 countries.

My advice: Companies should innovate and evaluate. The act of selling curly fries won’t weaken your good name.

There’s a connection to cities in all of this. Cities can’t always “stick to their strengths.” This year, Chicago lost two major conventions to Las Vegas and Orlando. Hosting conventions is still a strength of Chicago, Illinois, but it’s even more so true of Las Vegas, Nevada, and Orlando, Florida. If the Chicago tourism, special events, and marketing arms decided to stick with conventions, it may have never attempted a bid for the summer Olympics. Smaller cities who decide to increase incoming, regional tourism might create a restaurant district centered around their passenger train station. Detroit stuck with the automobile and look at it now.