A place where Minnesota's design community can blow its collective mind about creative expression in every medium from websites to landscapes, chocolate to bicycles.

St. Paul Bicycle Coalition Logo

Posted: July 13th, 2010 | Author: Todd | Filed under: artifacts, bikes, design, local twin cities, output | Tags: , , | Comments Off

Cindy and I have been volunteering with the Saint Paul Bicycle Coalition (SPBC) to help make Saint Paul a more cycle friendly city. We’re both delighted to be able to contribute something beyond our voices at meetings. You’ve already seen Cindy’s terrific visualizations for the Saint Paul Greenway which we hope some day will connect to the Minneapolis Greenway. It is our hope that our logo design will help rally cyclists to the cause. More information is available on the Facebook page with even more coming on the soon to be launched website.
The logo is a 17 tooth cog representing the 17 District Councils in Saint Paul and is portrayed in hot colors with asymmetrical details to convey the coalitions energy. I chose the cog because it is a distinct part of every bicycle from fixie to recumbent. Certainly the wheel is also a universal component and very emblematic of cycling but it is the cog that translates the rider’s energy into forward motion. In this way it is the perfect symbol for the SPBC as we turn the energy of passionate advocates into forward progress. We hope you’ll join us or join your own local cycling advocacy group. Each person can really make a difference.
I created several alternate configurations to help ensure consistent application by the variety of volunteers needing to satisfy an equal variety of marketing opportunities. Single color and solid versions are also in the works for things like silkscreen applications. Special thanks to Andy Singer and Matt Cole for their insights and advice.

Envisoning the Saint Paul Greenway

Posted: July 8th, 2010 | Author: Cindy | Filed under: bikes, events, landscape architecture, local twin cities, urban planning | Tags: | 3 Comments »

A few months back in my post about the approved Jefferson Avenue Bike Boulevard, I promised an update. I’ve been waiting to post until I see signs of implementation so I’ll save that post until I have some real life photos. Cliffhanger, I know.

In the mean time, there are other excellent bicycle-related efforts happening around the City of Saint Paul. The nascent Saint Paul Bicycle Coalition will have its fourth meeting next week, and the Saint Paul Greenway Committee is working hard to  generate interest in [thus implementation of] a greenway that would bring the Minneapolis Midtown Greenway goodness all the way to downtown Saint Paul. I am working on some renderings for the effort (see that image up there at the top). The City and the dis-banded Saint Paul Bicycle Advisory Board have been working on the Greenway for quite some time and it’s been a long, and at times bumpy, road. Saint Paul Greenway Committee, formed back in September of 2009, is diligently continuing the effort despite the bumps. They’d like you to share your voice, vision and support for this essential urban trail at the upcoming Envisioning the Saint Paul Greenway Event. The Committee will be on hand to answer questions, as will Smart Trips (the awesome Saint Paul-based organization that is helping lead the charge along with a swell group of citizens). We ask you….do you want this:

Or this?

We’ll have more information at the event but here are the essential details:
Wednesday, July 28, 2010
7:00 – 8:30 pm
Linwood Rec Center (860 St. Clair Avenue, Saint Paul 55105)

Please come and join the effort of creating a world-class greenway system in Saint Paul!

Download a pdf of the flyer Smart Trips produced and feel free to print and leave at your local coffee shop. Really, we’d love it.

Riding Off Into the Sunrise

Posted: June 25th, 2010 | Author: Todd | Filed under: bikes, design, Interactive, output | Tags: , , , , , | Comments Off


It’s hard to believe after almost 20 years of designing and over 35 years of cycling that nary the two have met. Needless to say, when the agency Lindsay, Stone and Briggs (LSB) based in Madison, WI contacted me to design the new website for Saris I was elated. Saris makes racks for consumers as well as parking and storage solutions for institutional clients. LSB and Saris have been wonderful to work with. The new (and if I do say so myself) improved saris.com has just launched and while few designs survive development unscathed I’m still as excited as when we began and eager for the next cycling+design combination.

Actually, I guess I’ve started the next one by volunteering to help the Saint Paul Bicycle Coalition with a logo and website as we work to make Saint Paul as cycle friendly as Minneapolis (We’re way behind Minneapolis but I guess that’s why they aren’t called the Identical Twin Cities.) More on SPBC soon.

Bicycle Portraits: South Africa

Posted: June 11th, 2010 | Author: Todd | Filed under: bikes, photography | Tags: , , , | Comments Off



Speaking of South Africa (which is currently on the lips of every soccer fan on the planet) photographers Stan Engelbrecht and Nic Grobler are trying to publish a book called Bicycle Portraits chronicling their travels across South Africa. It’s tough to get a book published so in an effort to make it to print they are looking for pledges. Check out this fascinating and new (to me at any rate) approach at Kickstarter. Great portrait photography is a really challenging art form requiring both technical and social expertise. Get a preview of these wonderful portraits on the day one publications website and you’ll see what I mean. Then drop by Kickstarter and pledge your support or post an encouraging comment.


Bike To Work Week

Posted: June 4th, 2010 | Author: Todd | Filed under: bikes, events, local twin cities | Tags: | Comments Off


I’m a big baby so I don’t ride much in the Winter. This makes it all the more paramount that I celebrate cycling while the weather is glorious. Whether you’re a die-hard, year-round cyclist or still looking for an excuse to dust off your trusty two-wheeler next week is your opportunity to make a statement and enjoy some camaraderie. Bike To Work Week starts Saturday, June 5 and runs… uh rides, through Sunday, June 13. You can learn more about how bicycle commuting this week is different than other weeks by visiting bikewalkweek.org but I’m not giving away any secrets by telling you that events, discounts and good company on the trails are all involved. Don’t have a bike? Among other scheduled events Nice Ride will be launching their Minnesota bike share program on Tuesday, June 10th (the original Bike To Work Day). However you roll, after a week of cycle commuting you’ll be happier and healthier and wonder why you ever drove that dinosaur juice burner to work.

Jefferson Avenue Bike Boulevard

Posted: May 7th, 2010 | Author: Cindy | Filed under: bikes, design, urban planning | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment »

At BrainstormOverload we care not just about bikes, design, and design communities but we care about designing communities, too. We’ve decided it is time to put our interests and skills to good use in our own community. Wednesday night was a small but important victory for citizens in the Saint Paul area, and we were glad to be just a small part of the effort. Saint Paul gained city council approval (6-1) on the very first bike boulevard in Saint Paul. The roughly 4.25 miles of Jefferson Avenue will, in the next year or so, become an important part of the non-motorized transportation infrastructure of the Twin Cities.

In future posts I’ll write more about the policy that paved the way for this project, the people behind the effort, and what I see as the boulevard design positives and negatives, but for now I just want to revel in the warm fuzzies of a community coming together to consider public good as paramount to private good. Eight came out in opposition, largely talking about “my streeet”. On the flip side twenty-eight people agreed to speak in support of the boulevard as a small step in the right direction for our community, our street, our health, and our children. Four of which were a family from the east side of Saint Paul (far away from this boulevard). All four members, the daughter, son, mother, and father spoke about how important this step is for families who rely on safe non-motorized options in the Cities. They bike for nearly every trip from their house, and they felt strongly enough about affecting change that they took three and a half hours out of their evening to support this. I know there are many who have been involved in bike advocacy for years in our region; I commend every one of them and am inspired by their efforts to personally do more for our city and community. More to come on the boulevard implementation, but for now….a warm fuzzy public good feeling.

family with eight wheels

Mpls is Top Bike City… St. Paul?

Posted: April 15th, 2010 | Author: Todd | Filed under: bikes, events, local twin cities | Tags: , | 2 Comments »


Bicycling magazine recently released its rating of America’s Top 50 Bike-Friendly Cities and Minneapolis came out on top – displacing a number of other epic bike cultures for which I have nothing but respect. So rather than take this opportunity to gloat I’ve got two questions. First, how did this happen? Second, where is the other Twin City? After all many of us regularly cycle from one city to the other. For that matter many of us cycle further afield to Eagan, Minnetonka and other cities. It would be cool if both of the Twin Cities registered on the bike-ability scale. As a transplant to Minnesota I don’t get too bent out of shape that Saint Paul and the surrounding cities gets lumped under the title “Minneapolis” but in this case Saint Paul isn’t actually included because it is woefully behind.

It turns out that the answer to both questions is bike advocacy. And the moral of the story is that if you enjoy the bike scene in Minneapolis you owe a pretty huge debt to all the advocates who gave so generously of their time to help make that scene possible. Pay that forward by getting involved. By helping Saint Paul catch up. The movement is already happening and you can help. There are a few upcoming meetings to push forward efforts for bike-ways in Saint Paul. For instance, Jefferson Ave. from downtown to the river. There is a public hearing coming up on Wednesday, April 21, 2010 at 5:30 p.m. at 15 Kellogg blvd (in the City Council chambers) Email me if you are interested in more info. Or just show up so the powers that be can see that the human powered set is passionate about the ride-ability of both cities.

More on other projects coming soon but you can also download the Central Corridor Bike Walk plan and see if you want to get involved with this effort. Coincidentally, the latest issue of Momentum magazine (free at One On One) has an article on bicycle advocacy.

Svelt New Urban Cruiser

Posted: February 19th, 2010 | Author: Todd | Filed under: bikes | Tags: | 1 Comment »

bike-abiciThis candy apple blue Svletina looks like another nice Dutch style ride but in fact it is a new offering from Italian maker Abici. There’s not much to give that away in the image save perhaps the racy, grouped spoke pattern. But, I’ll bet you can tell the difference if you pick it up. If you want city bike style but need to lug your bike up the stairs this series is probably worth a look. And, if the Complete Streets initiative passes in Minnesota there’ll be more bike lanes in which cyclists can safely show off there style.

pdxcross Bicycle Photos

Posted: December 31st, 2009 | Author: Todd | Filed under: bikes, photography | Tags: , | Comments Off


Speaking of great bicycle photography (uh.. back in August and September) pdxcross has a very nice collection of black and white shots of cyclocross racing from the 2009 season that you’ll enjoy. Consummate air travelers will recognize pdx as the initials for that mysterious land of lefty hipsters that is perpetually shrouded from the sun. Most of the rest of the country would do well to peer through all those clouds and take a good look at Portland (arguably the leading edge of cycle culture in the USA) and see what lessons could be learned. In addition to fit people practicing good politics and good policy they’d see a pretty hardcore cyclocross scene has been hiding out there too. Rain or shine these folks race – even in snow. Worth checking out. They’ve even put together a book called Dirty Pictures and there is a page about the team of photographers.



High Style for Nursery Schoolers

Posted: December 5th, 2009 | Author: Todd | Filed under: artifacts, bikes | Comments Off



I just discovered that Sacha White the craftsman behind Vanilla Bicycles (which I’ve given up owning one of and contented myself with a their t-shirt instead) created a tricycle for his daughter. I remember loving trikes as a kid so I imagine she is one psyched little jr. cyclist. At 10 grand a copy I don’t expect you’ll see the kids around the neighborhood riding them any time soon but the original post by Wired is a good read.