How I Invented the Spokester
I invented the Spokester after putting a baseball card on my son’s bike. Soon, all the neighborhood kids came over and asked me to put a card on their bike. This caused me to wonder about developing a product that I could build a business around. I began to form the idea for a bicycle noisemaker in my mind. The goals that I set for the product were simple:
- It must be a simple device that requires no tools to install
- It must be designed so that one model fits all children’s bikes
- It must be a one-piece design to minimize the cost of the product. I wanted no springs or assembly labor involved
- It must be visually appealing
- It must produce a satisfying motorcycle sound
- It must be made in the USA (I am passionate about supporting American manufacturers)
I experimented with several materials while developing the Spokester. I thought of stamped spring steel, paper laminates, and various plastics. After several experiments, I settled on a plastic material that was flexible enough to fit a variety of bicycle fork diameters, but strong enough to survive millions of flexing cycles.
Next, I began researching the population of bicycles on the market. I visited every retailer that sold children’s bikes in my area: bike shops, toy stores, mass merchants, and sporting goods stores. I measured and recorded the make, model, and diameter of every bicycle fork I could find. I had to be sure that the Spokester’s tubular section was small enough to fit the smallest diameter bike, yet could expand enough to fit the largest fork.
The basis for the design was simple: an expandable tubular fork adapter attached to a durable, flexible paddle section. After the fundamental dimensions were established, I experimented with features to make the Spokester more functional and attractive to children. I tapered the paddle, added the Spokester logo, and provided a tab on the tubular adapter which allows one to simply press the Spokester on to the bicycle fork. Finally, I added three 'fins' to the top edge for stability and to give it some more cool factor.
And now here we are! Selling a fully American product online that provides both fun and safety for kids at home and overseas.