Pedaling Through New Adventures

Throughout my career I always come across design work that “wows” me and gives me inspiration. And it is always a tall order to follow a designer whose work you have immense respect for. In the case of one of our newer clients, Big Shark Bicycle Company, Kolbeco was asked to design new shirts for the Gateway Cup series – a set of 4 races being held in different neighborhoods in the St. Louis Metropolitan area. Not only was the previous designer extremely talented and successful with his work, but the new shirt designs were going to be a departure from what had previously graced the booths of the Gateway Cup for its racers and patrons. Each neighborhood would have its very own design, as well as having an event shirt.

This project faced unique challenges. First, incorporating something iconic reflecting each neighborhood. Second, incorporating cyclery in a non-conventional manner. And third, well, making it a crowd pleaser!

The four races took place in 4 different neighborhoods – Lafayette Square, St. Louis Hills (Francis Park), The Hill (Giro Della Montagna), and finally Benton Park. Each neighborhood has a unique history  or feature that could be tied into the designs.


For Lafayette Square the Victorian architecture was inspirational. These homes were built around the 1860s – some pre- civil war – featuring soaring arch windows and doorways and ornate cornices. And they serve as an incredible backdrop to this area of St. Louis. Thus we were able to incorporate them in to the design work.

Recommended ink colors: Gold and brilliant red

Recommended shirt colors: Antique Blackberry; Antique Navy


Second in line was St. Louis Hills, which boasts beautiful Francis Park where the race took place. This is an area of St. Louis where tree lined streets and pristine landscaping dominates.  You won’t find an unkempt property anywhere in St. Louis Hills! Therefore, an obvious choice was to infuse their existing tree icon into the design work.

Recommended ink colors: Khaki and brilliant red

Recommended shirt colors: Antique Russet; Antique Red


St. Louis’ very own Italian neighborhood was chosen to hold the third race in the series and it was important to incorporate the longstanding pride of the residents of the area. To help display the pride of their heritage, the flag of Italy was represented on a piece of bicycle hardware. While many like to say they “live on the Hill”, contrary to some belief, the “The Hill” itself is bounded by Kingshighway, Northrup, Hampton, Columbia and Southwest Avenues. So, did you make the cut?

Recommended ink colors:  Forest Green and brilliant red

Recommended shirt colors: Antique Green; Black


Benton Park played host to the fourth and longest race in the series. Benton Park is home to some of the oldest brick homes in St. Louis area. Many of which have been restored and retain their original old world charm and unique features. One of the unique features many have in common is iron stars on their exteriors. These stars were more than just decoration however. These stars are anchor plates that are connected to tie rods an used to reinforce the structure they are built into! So it was a natural choice to use this as inspiration for the fourth shirt. To use the stars, tied in with the bicycle wheel.

Recommended ink colors: Light gray and brilliant red

Recommended shirt colors: Antique Navy; Heather Gray/Dark


For the overall Gateway Cup event shirt we wanted to put some energy and motion into it! We focused on the gear as it is an integral part of a bicycle, and tied in elements from the other shirts on this design to tie them all together. Vibrant accent colors also help bring this design to life.

Recommended ink colors: Lime green, Bright blue, Bright tangerine

Recommended shirt colors: Black

Through excellent collaboration, research, and willingness to take risks, we were able to produce what ended up being extremely popular shirts for the 2016 event and tackle the challenges place in front of us. It also helps having a client that is open minded and gutsy. To Mike Weiss and Big Shark, my fellow teammates on this project CHEERS! This is what design is all about.

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