HUMMINGBIRD BIKE – a new cycling experience
Let’s discover together the story behind Hummingbird Bike and its founder, Petre Georgescu. What drove him to create the world’s lightest folding bike, what were the keypoints of the process and where are they headed next.
HOW AND WHY HAVE YOU STARTED HUMMINGBIRD BIKE?
From the first time I got on a bike I became an advocate for cycling. Bucharest became my playing field, I could connect more and more parts of the city and explore my surroundings. Plus – I was having a lot of fun!
Hummingbird’s motto is “Free up your city”. Our company exists because I wanted to make it easier for people to enjoy cycling. It all started when I wanted to get Ligia, my partner, into cycling and as she needed a folding bike due to space constraints I looked at folding bikes. Unfortunately, there was nothing on the market that satisfied my needs so I figured I should just build one. I thought if the bike is light enough, it becomes like an umbrella, an accessory, rather than a chore.
After I built the first prototype, things picked up quickly as we attracted investors and Prodrive as our engineering and manufacturing partner.
WHAT IS INNOVATIVE ABOUT WHAT YOU DO?
This is a question I ask myself a lot. The answer lies somewhere in combining of all my experience and knowledge. I am always curious about how everything works, from biology to economics, I try and understand a bit of everything! This becomes very useful as my mind can be quite flexible and join unrelated pieces of information which help me ask the right questions of the project.
Leaning on the pragmatic side, I use my skills to create fast prototypes and iterate an idea before it is fully polished. I also really enjoy “kitbashing” – a modelmaking term which entails using parts from model kits to create complete new kits (most of the ships in Star Wars were kitbashed – you got both the alien look and the complexity of the model without spending a lot of time and money). I surround myself with pieces of functional design, hinges – knobs springs etc – and when I have a problem I need to solve fast I just use what is already there to mock up a fast prototype.
HOW DO YOU USE DESIGN IN YOUR PROJECTS?
For me design is really about problem solving – I like beautiful objects, but most of the time that intrinsic beauty comes from the function and the meaning of the object rather than from the styling. I always find that highly designed objects seem to me rather unappealing and sterile. Design is as Dieter Rams said as little design as possible!
A CHANGE THAT YOU WOULD LIKE TO ACCOMPLISH
I am happy to see that more and more people see cycling as the solution to commuting and travelling through the city. I would love to see more people take up cycling because of Hummingbird. A more connected city is a happier city, Copenhagen is one of the happiest places in the world. It is also a city where 78% of the population cycles every day- they have 1,2 bikes per person!
WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE TO SEE IN THE FUTURE FOR HUMMINGBIRD BIKE?
There are a lot of things I wish for Hummingbird – from an extended product range (we are working on an electric and a belt driven version) to accessories and objects that simplify and delight their users. I would love to apply the Hummingbird philosophy to more products and ideas!
YOUR ADVICE FOR A SUCCESSFUL COLLABORATION BETWEEN BUSINESS PEOPLE AND CREATIVES?
This is a great question – I consider myself a nonconformist, I question everything and everyone, which is not always the easiest mindset to have when working with business investors.
But my top advice is: leave your ego at home and always look at the bigger picture – sometimes what you want is not really what is needed for the business to grow. Also try and dress smart especially when dealing with business people – this shows you care!
A THOUGHT THAT MOTIVATES YOU
I have been reading a lot of books focusing on culture and science books recently. Out of all of these ideas that I have exposed myself to a pattern seems to emerge – I think history is malleable and if you understand where we are and who we are it’s quite easy to see what to do next. Every problem is fixable if you ask the right questions.
AN ADVICE TO INSPIRE US
My friends say I always know what to say – in my life so far the only blocker I have is my attitude. Being in control of your emotions and your attitude is one of the most important skill to master. I can see how a small change here can have very big impact in the future. Also I think exercising is very important and I try and run or go for a long cycle at least 2 times a week. This had a very positive impact on my confidence and mental space !