an american company
Was an American BMX Company founded in 1991 by Alden Olmsted in Sonoma, California.
Alden in Sonoma, on his prized Powerlite.
In Jr. High - sticking out the tongue makes you jump higher! *note the ramp made from the broken section of fence in the background.
Riding serial #002 at Mt. Gilead's BMX track
Olmsted had been riding bicycles from the age of five, and grew up riding daily, practicing tricks, and building jumps in the fields and trails around the Sonoma Valley with his friends. He had been dreaming of his own company since early high school and idolized the personal feel and high-concept design modeled by companies such as Haro Bikes.
The Haro Connection
After writing a personal letter to Bob Haro, and receiving a response, as well as a phone conversation, Olmsted dropped out of his first year at Biola University and began work on the company. In November of 1990 he visited the manufacturing plant of Cyclecraft Bicycles in Kingsport Tennessee (who were also manufacturing frames for MCS, Haro, and many others) and together with their welding staff, designed a Pro BMX Frame and Fork set featuring a very unique dual-post rear triangle.
Letter from Bob Haro
Original sketches for the rear triangle supports, sent to Cyclecraft
Original Frame and Fork Decal artwork
This first frame was dubbed the Basilisk (Basiliscus (genus)) after a South American lizard known to escape predators by gliding across the water, and was painted a metallic green with blue flecks by a then up and coming Cyclecraft rider named Brian Foster. An advertisement, and featured spot in Wizard Publications' Go Magazine in the October 1991 buyer's guide would garner Homestead Bicycles significant exposure, with letters coming in from around the globe, from kids interested in the new frame and fork set.
Sonoma Index-Tribune article, July 30th, 1991
Go BMX October 1991
Buyer's Guide Go Magazine October 1991
Letters came in from all over the world, excited about the new bike!
Olmsted was visible over the next few years at the major West Coast races of the American Bicycle Association, and could be seen handing out fliers, selling his "Soul" t-shirts and stickers, and encouraging his sponsored rider, a 17 year old intermediate racer from Foresthill, CA, Neal Skadden.
Rear chainstays and support tubes
1st Bike sold!
The Frame's namesake, the Basilisk lizard from South America
1st T-Shirt design "it's gotta have soul, Or it won't feel right"
Though many other models and styles were planned, including mountain bikes and cruisers, the positive response of Homestead Bicycles' t-shirts, combined with a lack of any serious business plan or start up capital, quickly overtook the sales and production of additional frame and fork sets. Added to the situation was the growing efficiency and quality of overseas production facilities such as Giant, which would turn out thousands of bicycles in one day, at a fraction of the cost. Homestead Bicycles was officially ended after just five years when a deal with a Felton, California Bicycle Shop and subsequent team failed to generate the necessary funds needed to continue.
The very first Homestead T-Shirt was a long sleeve mock-turtleneck design with the "HB" logo on the front and back, and the slogan "It's gotta have soul, or it won't feel right" handwritten in Olmsted's unique style. The slogan is said to have come from two sources, the first being the style of "soul" surfing championed by the 1987 film North Shore (film). The other source comes from the 1991 song Poundcake by the hard rock band Van Halen. Soon thereafter Olmsted landed on a simple drawing of a butterfly and, inspired by an inscription in the front page of a book handed down from his great uncle, continued with the butterfly design from then on. He included the inscription on the most popular and well-received shirt in the Homestead lineup, which read "If I had a garden, it should lie all smiling to the sun, and after bird and butterfly, children should romp, and run." In all, thousands of shirts and sweatshirts were produced and sold from ten primary designs. The original "Soul" sticker, in the shape of the small Homestead house, featured on the seat tube of each frame, was also extremely popular and was available in black or white die-cut vinyl.
"All Natural" design
"Unknown the world over" design
"Radial Homestead" design
"I remember it was red.." design
Production and controversy
Although Olmsted's relations with CycleCraft President Joe Martino were very positive at first, they became strained later on. After the initial run of just 50 frame and fork sets were ordered and paid for, they were shipped in multiple groups, as demand increased. After the first 30 were gone, Olmsted requested the remaining 20, but they had apparently never been made. Demanding a refund of the cost of those frames, Martino promptly retired and claimed no responsibility. He did however, in an attempt to partially make up for the gaffe, hand over the rear-end welding Jig used to produce the unique dual-post triangle that the Basilisk was known for. Serial no. 001 has never been assembled, and is devoid of any stickers, and no. 002 is still in continuing use.
Alden in 1995, towards the end of the Homestead run
Though it became obvious that the company would not become a viable enterprise, Olmsted continued to ride and pursue BMX, serving inner city kids at a BMX track at CityTeam Ministries' Camp May-Mac in Felton, California and later building and running a similar program in Sebastopol California at Mt. Gilead Bible Conference Grounds.
main "butterfly" logo
(Taken from wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.)