There really is a ‘fun pull-out spoke card’ … but first, the American Dream with curly hair

Speaking of “Fun Pull-Out Spoke Cards!” we actually have one for you today.

You’ll just have to print it, clip it out and take it to Kinkos — er, FedEx Office — to …

Wait a minute. Does anyone else have trouble calling this place “FedEx Office”?  (“I have to run over to FedEx Office …”)? What committee came up with this name? We think they had not the sense of poetry possessed by whoever named it “Kinko’s.”

Which got us wondering: Who did name it Kinko’s? And why? This led us to Google, and in short order — because we are the kind of persons who are quite easily distracted — we were being regaled with today’s fascinating tale of cunning and fortitude. Of rags to riches. This is the American Dream with curly hair.

You see, this company used to be called Kinko’s because it was founded by a guy named Paul Orfalea, whose nickname was “Kinko” because of his kinky hair. Not kinky in that sense. Kinky as in curly and wiry.

As the story goes, he was badly dyslexic and could hardly read. Somehow he managed to get into college, though. Waiting in line one day to use a school copy machine, he realized maybe there was a business in this photocopying thing.

So with 5,000 borrowed dollars, he got a single copy machine and opened a hole-in-the-wall shop near UC Santa Barbara. That was 1970. In 2004, FedEx bought Kinko’s for $2.4 billion (this in addition to the billion they would later pay a crack team of functionally illiterate consultants to come up with the name “FedEx Office”).

By that time, though, Kinko had been forced out of his own company by his own investors. Don’t worry, though. It’s OK.

(photo by Gary Moss)

Really. Have a gander at him now. Here he is, sport coat slung jauntily over his shoulder, palm trees waving in the warm ocean breeze behind him.

You can see the kinky hair is gone, too. That’s because his nickname is no longer Kinko. Do you know what his nickname is now? Now, his nickname is “Philanthropist, Speaker and Investor Living in Santa Barbara.” So life is good, I guess. I don’t know the exact nature of his philanthropy, but perhaps he bestows grants for safety net programs that aid the destitute former owners of mom-and-pop copy shops — the simpler kind, who lacked his ferocious hunger for world domination.

Anyway, whatever you want to call that place he started, I’m sure they can laminate a spoke card for you. They can do anything. They could probably print a photo of me on your rims.

After you put the laminated spoke card in your spokes (at which point you say, “voilà!”), take a picture of it — preferably with some important local landmark in the background — and e-mail it to me: eugenebicyclist [at] gmail [dot] com. Maybe I’ll post the photo.

So without further delay and rambling, here is our free, fun, clip-and-laminate spoke card — front and back:

And here’s the blatantly commercial, optional B-side:

5 thoughts on “There really is a ‘fun pull-out spoke card’ … but first, the American Dream with curly hair

  1. Wait, what? When I first saw “spoke cards” I was thinking you meant back in grade school, your first bike, when you’d stick a card to your frame or somewhere with a clothespin and it would go flippyflippyflip against your spokes as they go by. But I’m thinking by the picture you posted that no, this just sits in the spokes and goes whirlwhirlwhirl around and around? I’m thinking of going for the flippyflippyflip anyway.

  2. You should do it the old school way, definitely.

    The spoke cards mentioned are referring to whatever waxy/laminated pieces of anything that bike-savvy kids like to wedge into their spokes. The oft told story is that classic alleycat races used a deck of cards to mark the racers, instead of pinning numbers to them- this progressed into laminating custom numbered cards referring to the alleycat race.

    Couriers and bike lovers did and still do ride with their spokes stuffed full of cards to show their history of races and events they have participated in. This black and white way of looking at it has dissipated over the last decade; the spoke card has evolved into something akin to a sticker, except without needing solvents or alcohol to take it off when you are finished with it.

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