schwinn lemon peeler


My yellow Schwinn Stingray was stolen out of my back yard. My dad took me to get a new bike with the insurance money and I saw this Schwinn Lemon Peeler on the used bike rack. I debated between a new Stingray and the used Lemon Peeler. I bought the Lemon Peeler. I delivered papers with my Lemon Peeler from about 1976 - 1978. My Lemon Peeler didn't have the gear shifter or handbrakes like some lemon peelers. My Lemon Peeler looked just like this one except I remember my banana seat being yellow?

Thinking back, I'm not sure if it was the color, the shock absorbers, the funky handlebars or perhaps the excess of it all that appealed to me. Schwinn’s Stingray was minimal in comparison. My Lemon Peeler was a hot rod and chopper rolled into one incredibly heavy excessively functional design object.

A friend entering my home and seeing my collection of books and all things modern once remarked, "Paul for a minimalist you sure have a lot of stuff.” That observation pretty much sums up my design attitude.

I often return to Vitruvius and the 3 core principals he distilled from all that he had collected in the way of design knowledge for his Ten Books on Architecture. Function & structure are easy to wrap your head around, but beauty (these are the three words I use as my personal interpretations of Vitrivius' original words/text). The subjectivity of beauty makes it the most intriguing of the three words to play with as part of a design process.

My take on beauty is that it needs to tell a story. What is the Lemon Peeler’s story? It’s certainly a story of structure and function. It was a functioning bicycle after all. The Lemon Peeler’s beauty back in 1976 was its excess. The Lemon Peeler was unapologetic for being too bright, too heavy, and too much. Its weight and its smaller than normal tires made it a slow bike which also made riding my Lemon Peeler more about cruising than getting anywhere as fast as possible or with the least amount of effort.

In design, efficiency is typically thought of as a good thing and inefficiency bad. At the end of the day, I prefer a little inefficiency in my design objects. I prefer the low and slow of design. I prefer bright and shiny. I prefer exposed fasteners and the celebration of technology as opposed to the black box of pure minimalism.