DALL April 2011 : Page 120

LOOK WHO’S TALKING Spin Class Fleetwood Hicks’ customcruiser bikes are less about speed, all about style. | By Rebecca Sherman | Photography by Ben Garrett | FleetwoodHicks, founder of theDallas-based beachcruiser bike company Villy Custom is—in cycling parlance—drafting behind a killer slipstream of good national press. Named one of Entrepreneurmagazine’s 100Most Brilliant Ideas in 2010, and featured in a recent story onMSNBC, the two-year-old company is the brainchild of SMU biz school alum Hicks, 47. A fitness enthusiast and formermen’s fashion and jewelry designerwho loves all things vintage, hemarketshis customizable, retro-inspired beach cruisers to style-conscious fashion-ables, not athletes. Says Hicks: “Tey’re not bikers. Tey don’twant to wear gear and go fast.Teywant to get on the bike wearing a sundress or shorts and flip-flops and look cute.” Sixty-fivepercent of VillyCustom’s orders come from its website (villycustoms.com), where you can choose from thousands of combinations including hand-paintedseat covers, customhandlebars in exotic woods and customwheels.Custombikes range from $400 to $800. A favorite customer is Jerry Jones Jr., wife Lori, and their daughter, which thrills Hicks, who runs football patterns after hours and describes himself as the DallasCowboys’ “number one fan.” Hicks got hooked on cruisers during an ’06 business trip in Venice Hicks’ Hots StevieWonder, staying young, Palm Springs in the winter, gerbera daisies, treating animals like people, old Ford trucks, bike lanes, Savoy Sorbet, John Lennon, Trader Joe’s (we need one in Dallas), Prada, vintage anything Hicks’ Nots Folding clothes, cigars, loud people, cream sauces,Te Fuzz, AT&T, townhouses with all-metal siding, Oncor,MMA, Dallas summers, bike helmet laws, places that don’t allow dogs Beach, Calif. Telling the bike rental shop he’d be gone about an hour, he instead returned six hours later. Home in Dallas, he bought his own bike and soon added a spare in case a woman wanted to bikewith him. “It’s a great icebreaker,” says Hicks, a bachelorwho eventually purchased fivemore bikes and parked them all in the middle of his loft. He opened a store nearSMUin 2009, selling clothing and bikes.Te clothing line tanked, but the custom cruisers exploded.Now, he’s working with Boeing engineers on a trademarked bike that integrates music and aims to lure teens and 20-somethings back to bikes after a decades-long decline. Details aremum, but let’s just say he’s hoping tomunch on a juicy Apple. Villy CustomBeach Cruisers, 1407 S. Akard St. 214.596.8420 MAN’S BEST FRIENDS Fleetwood Hicks and DeVille at Villy Custom Beach Cruisers 120 | April 2011

Look Who's Talking

Rebecca Sherman

Spin Class <br /> <br /> Fleetwood Hicks’ custom cruiser bikes are less about speed, all about style.<br /> <br /> Fleetwood Hicks, founder of the Dallas-based beach cruiser bike company Villy Custom is—in cycling parlance—drafting behind a killer slipstream of good national press. Named one of Entrepreneur magazine’s 100 Most Brilliant Ideas in 2010, and featured in a recent story on MSNBC, the two-year-old company is the brainchild of SMU biz school alum Hicks, 47. A fitness enthusiast and former men’s fashion and jewelry designer who loves all things vintage, he markets his customizable, retroinspired beach cruisers to style-conscious fashionables, not athletes. Says Hicks: “They’re not bikers. They don’t want to wear gear and go fast. ey want to get on the bike wearing a sundress or shorts and flip-flops and look cute.” <br /> <br /> Sixty-five percent of Villy Custom’s orders come from its website (villycustoms.com), where you can choose from thousands of combinations including hand-painted seat covers, custom handlebars in exotic woods and custom wheels. Custom bikes range from $400 to $800. A favorite customer is Jerry Jones Jr., wife Lori, and their daughter, which thrills Hicks, who runs football patterns after hours and describes himself as the Dallas Cowboys’ “number one fan.” <br /> <br /> Hicks got hooked on cruisers during an ’06 business trip in Venice Beach, Calif. Telling the bike rental shop he’d be gone about an hour, he instead returned six hours later. Home in Dallas, he bought his own bike and soon added a spare in case a woman wanted to bike with him. “It’s a great icebreaker,” says Hicks, a bachelor who eventually purchased five more bikes and parked them all in the middle of his loft. He opened a store near SMU in 2009, selling clothing and bikes.The clothing line tanked, but the custom cruisers exploded. Now, he’s working with Boeing engineers on a trademarked bike that integrates music and aims to lure teens and 20-somethings back to bikes after a decades-long decline. Details are mum, but let’s just say he’s hoping to munch on a juicy Apple. Villy Custom Beach Cruisers, 1407 S. Akard St. 214.596.8420<br />

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