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How Bikes and Word Mashups Are Sparking Ingenuity and Creativity

My friend John Bielenberg is up to something interesting (again). He’s partnered up with MOO and designed a series of business cards for The Luxe Project, with 100 percent of the proceeds from sales of his collection going to HERObike.

When I discovered what we was up to with MOO, it made sense. It also made sense that it related to bikes as John practically lives on a bike.

The idea for his Luxe business cards is to combine four bike-related words together:

“A word mash-up can be a catalyst to creativity and ingenuity” John explains. “It forces your brain to 'think wrong', and create new connections.”

The ideas and new connections that could be spawned from just using one of the cards could spark a great conversation or turn an existing idea into “legendary” status.

His Luxe cards concept brings back memories of the beginnings of the Alabamboo Make & Ride project. (Read my GOOD post on the back story of the project). We came up with the idea of the cross-country bamboo bike tour by connecting random, desperate thoughts that seemed to not fit in any regular context. It wasn’t until we started to talk our idea out with each other that things seemed to fit.

Within a 20 mile lunch time bike ride, we created a project that had ripple effects across many other projects.

HERObike, was one of those projects that gained momentum from the bamboo ride. HERObike is a Greensboro initiative that aims to evolve into and on-going sustainable enterprise, providing skilled jobs to an economically devastated region of the USA.

Ever since the Alabamboo Make & Ride, HERObike has been hard at work building out the studio and coming up with new, innovative bamboo bike designs in hopes of growing the business.

They’ve partnered up with Lance Rake, professor at the University of Kansas, for the latest bamboo bike design called the Semester Bike.

Semester Bicycles are made primarily from Bamboo and Steel. Each “Hextube" is a structural stressed skin composite: a bamboo core is skinned on the inside with carbon fiber and covered on the outside with a durable glass/epoxy lamination. The resulting Hextube is incredibly strong and lightweight.

After a successful Kickstarter campaign, they started production of the Semester bike.

The Luxe cards John produce makes sense. He’s the "Think Wrong" guy. He wants to encourage people to step away from their comfortable ways of thinking, and (excuse the pun) ride down unfamiliar ground, pushing their creative mindsets into new directions to come up with ingenious solutions to the problems and challenges we face.

Mashing up four random words derived from the bike world and using them as starting points for exploration, can make you think about different ways to approach a challenge. One could only wonder what random words were used to come up with some of the latest bike designs HERObike is producing.

Check out John's cards. And if you want to support HERObike you can purchase a collection just as John designed them, or -- because John likes people to do their own thinking -- you can create your own word mash ups and use your cards to represent who you are.

Think Wrong and ride safe.

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