Ride Backwards

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One afternoon at the firehouse I was sitting at the kitchen table drinking a cup of coffee, trying to come up with a good tattoo design for a firefighter on my crew. I was drawing an axe on a paper napkin when someone walked by and said, “Hey, that would make a cool t-shirt,” and that’s how RIDE BACKWARDS was born.

It’s been a few years since I’ve been on the line, and I’ve learned a lot about myself, design and apparel along the way. After shutting down RB back in 2014, I returned to school to pursue graphic design. I wanted to further my technical skills and dig deeper into my understanding of what good design truly is, and isn’t. With the help of some great mentors, and a couple of design awards later, I decided it was time to apply what I had learned to my love of apparel. Oh, and I hopped back in a boat along the way.

If you’ve ever seen a racing shell go by, you’ll realize that their crew also “rides backwards” when they row, just like firefighters do in the truck when it rolls down the street. So, I’m still riding backwards, I’m just doing it in a boat now. Some of you are probably wondering if this is now going to be a rowing shop. No, not exclusively, but a lot of the designs will be around rowing as that’s what I’m doing now. I plan on following my design instincts wherever they take me, so stay tuned to find out. I have a lot of interests.

RIDE BACKWARDS is a former firefighter/current rower owned and operated company out of Chicago, IL.

Without the feedback and support of great people, I would not be back in the game. Just like before, I am here to serve, and I want to know what you think, good and bad. So, keep sending me your product ideas and suggestions. I’m listening. As Dieter Rams said:

Less, but better – because good design concentrates on the essential aspects, and the products are not burdened with non-essentials. Back to purity, back to simplicity.

Design Forward • Ride Backwards


Mia Zierk
Owner/Lead Designer

Mia Zierk
United States

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