Grant Petersen was Marketing Director and Bike Designer for Bridgestone Bicycles during the 1980′s and early ’90s. His philosophy of bike design was unique for that era (and ours); he believed in building bikes and speccing components that were practical, versatile, durable, repairable, and timeless, regardless of current popular trends. He marketed their bikes with smartly designed, thought provoking catalogs, refreshingly devoid of hype and puffery. Bridgestone eventually pulled out of the U.S. market, but Grant’s vision lives on in his current company, Rivendell Bicycle Works.
During his tenure at Bridgestone, Grant fostered a community of like-minded cyclists through the creation of the “Bridgestone Owners Bunch” (BOB). Members received the BOB Gazette newsletter and were provided the opportunity to purchase unique BOB accessories such as Brooks saddles imprinted with the BOB logo, T-shirts, etc. The BOB was very popular and was quite a work of marketing genius.
When Bridgestone shut down operations in the U.S., naturally the Bridgestone Owners Bunch went dormant. Eventually though, the newsletter was resurrected as an e-mail listserv which came to be known as the iBOB list. The list continues today in both listserv and web-based formats and is inhabited by cycling enthusiasts of various persuasions, each sharing the common desire to keep the BOB approach alive.