It’s all about the ride
We recently caught up with a member of our alumni, EMBA graduate Stuart Lambert, who has continued to achieve above and beyond expectations since completing his course in 2011. With prior experience as managing director of a family run business, he was able to utilize new found knowledge with practical experience to become Founder of Crosshead – a new and innovative folding bike designed to be easily transportable.
We managed to get Stuart to take some time out of his busy schedule to share his story with us.
What drove you to develop the bike?
I purchased a folding bicycle in Bruges Belgium because I was on a brief holiday and had not taken a bicycle with me, I had explored the medieval city centre and canal region but really needed to explore a bigger area around the City. This was my first experience of a folding bicycle – it was not a good one. Like so many designers or engineers before me I believed I could improve things and create a road bike which folded rather than a commuter focused design. Not that the project started at that point, the Bruges folding bike sat in my dining room for a long time and I started studying and sketching until one day late in 2009 I committed myself to the project.
What is different about the Crosshead bike?
The Crosshead folding bike is; ‘All about the ride’ the concept started life as a full sized bicycle with performance characteristics which can be ridden hard and fast and yet with its 20 inch wheels and 10 or 20 gears it is still a compact package with two main hinge points folding down to 1/3 of original frame size.
The fold method is unique to Crosshead; easy to achieve once practiced, folding in about 20 seconds. The front and rear steering hinges are neatly integrated into the aluminium aerofoil frame. All hinges have secondary moulded safety locks which are easily locked and released. The folding principle is that both the front and rear wheels fold towards each other, ending up side by side with no unsightly catches.
How GSM London supported you?
In my early to mid-career I worked as freelance designer and later a design consultant. Aged about 40 I joined my family business, becoming Managing Director by 2006. I was proud to head up a family business with incredible future potential (growing from £5.5M to £11.5M by 2009). Unfortunately my Father didn’t settle into his new role as Chairman and I didn’t enjoy working with his Finance Director, so I left with a one year salary settlement package.
As I had the funds to reinvent myself with a new career I decided to concentrate on my earlier idea for a new folding bicycle. I was confident, but to make sure I remained on the path of evolving my business skills, I joined the Executive MBA. This was also a backup plan should I need to return to paid employment with a refreshed CV!
GSM London’s EMBA programme turned out to be just what was needed because it gave me time to work through some of my business frustrations and focus on what it was that I believed in and wanted to do with the second half of my career.
How might Crosshead and GSM London interact in the future?
I began designing the Crosshead bicycle as I was starting my EMBA studies and it is now eight years later as we prepare for production from our factory in Kent. I have fond memories of studying at GSM London and have adopted a new kind business confidence – a wider more informed perspective. As Crosshead grows it should be interesting to compare notes on how a business led by a designer interacts with business planning and strategy; looking at what issues are confronted by a new manufacturing business with a complex product, such as a folding bicycle. Establishing ourselves will be challenging with current economic and business conditions, but at least I am well equipped for that journey alongside GSM London.
Stuart is currently working on production of CP05 V2 from the factory in Kent, updating his website in preparation for Crosshead sales and the appointment of their first retail outlets. For further information contact firstname.lastname@example.org.