My Red House

by | Sep 5, 2013

I see red – the color is all around me. For over 30 years, almost everything here has been red. I don’t bleed red; it isn’t even my favorite color. But the moons lined up a certain way in 1982 and red and I have occupied the same house ever since.

I began sponsoring a racing team that year. Lending support was a good thing – and the right thing to do. Folks supported my racing efforts in the 1970s, and now it was time to give back. One of the other suppliers was an apparel maker that already committed kits to the riders. The fabric was red, and I chose the color for the team bicycles because it made sense. All these years, the bicycles have remained red.

There have been many versions of red Richard Sachs bicycles during the past three decades. The color itself has been tweaked; it’s been pearl red, flamboyant red, opaque, and various shades of each. The contrasting panels have been pearl white, bright white, plain white, antique white, and off-white. Often, the team bicycles were a simpler version from the ones sold at retail, if only to keep the expenses down on the annual batch of frames produced for the racers.

The graphics also evolved. The original team bicycles introduced my then-new stylized logo, but with some leftover art from the 1970s. The logo has undergone subtle changes, and the serif based type I began with in 1975 was replaced with a NBC Futura Bold font in the early 1990s. Variations in ink color, scale, and placement have contributed to the fact that, while the bicycles may have been red, the overall scheme has been a moving target since day one.

Some elements work very well together. Some work on the surface, but come with baggage that never sees the light of day. Sometimes what you have works even though you never look past the front steps to see what else might be out there. Red and I came together by serendipity, and the color has been one of the few constants in my adult life. The paint on my bicycles is beautiful, and the team issue ‘look’ has become iconic. But that doesn’t mean I don’t wonder.

After 30 years in the red house the walls inside seem very close. The more I wonder, the smaller the space gets. Lately I’ve been looking past my front steps to see what else might be out there, and trying to finish a sentence I started serving writing in 1982.