How I got to create jersey designs for the PALM ride:
by Frank Lamitola
Back in 1999 I was asked by fellow AABTS (Ann Arbor Bicycle Touring Society) club members to create a design for the club’s yearly event – One Helluva Ride. I had been creating patches and T-shirts since 1986 for the club.
Vickie and I joined the bike club in 1983 mainly because we ran out of ideas on places to ride our bikes from our house in Ann Arbor. We kept running into AABTS members on our little excursions west of Ann Arbor around Dexter and Chelsea, and one day as we passed some riders we asked how to find other routes. They responded, “Join the AABTS”. That’s all they had time to say as they rode on.
After we joined the club, I found a way to busy myself creating art for the club and started designing the One Helluva Ride maps that lead to designing patches. That led to designing T-shirts, and when jerseys became popular, I went online and found Voler a California based cycling wear manufacturer. With Voler’s help getting started, I created the first jersey design for our club’s OHR event in 1999. It was a hit and I was encouraged to continue my new employment!
By the early 80’s Vickie and I had been on a few PALM rides and were familiarizing ourselves with the camping bike tours taking place throughout the U.S. and England. We also belonged to the CTC (Cyclists’ Touring Club) of England mainly because Vickie was in love with England. So we found ourselves in England quite often on bike touring rides with the CTC on our yearly vacation from our jobs.
I had been designing jersey for our club going on four years when PALM committee approached me to design a jersey for their upcoming ride scheduled to cross Michigan in June of 2003. Since we had been doing PALM for a few years before 2003, I had a basic idea of what would work for their event.
The first design was pretty easy because PALM is all about having fun with the family while experiencing Michigan’s Lower Peninsula. When I completed, that first jersey, I thought it represented the look and feel of PALM’s ride due to the many elements that are found on it and still are found on every PALM. Since I was witness to many of the elements included on that first jersey, I knew that many people riding the PALM in past years would really like it. So if you look at that first jersey you’ll see the baggage trucks on the side panels dropping all the baggage in a line as the trucks moved across the school property where camping sites could be set up. You’ll also see people and their tents with laundry on lines drying in the warm June air and people running and resting here and there as others were working around them. You’ll also see the infamous flying tent incident that did actually happen, as I myself saw it flying above the camping area at what looked to be about 50 feet off the ground. It later ended up in the parking lot as thought someone set it up in that very spot. I also included the late Doris West’s tricycle. She was a long time staff member of PALM who is fondly remembered and still sorely missed.
Now that I’ve created a total of seven jerseys, I’m sure that some people will make it a tradition to wear one of each design, every day on PALM week. I hope you all will enjoy seeing my past jerseys as well as my latest creation while riding PALM this year. See images below: