Tag Archives: ThinkCash

Summertime fun office pranks – the foiled cube

foiled office cube 1

It’s that time of year in the ThinkCash offices – so when you go on vacation there is a good chance you will get pranked. You might get “peanuted” or “Hasselhoffed“, but this time the team went with the classic cube foiling.

foiled office cube 2

This was a pretty thorough job including umbrellas, coins, . . .

foiled office cube 3

and even the Kleenex box and tissues. I also thought the empty aluminum foil containers in the trash can was a nice touch.

ThinkCash & the Texas State Criterium Championships

TX State Crit Logo

People in our office are probably getting tired of green spandex? It’s not a fashion statement, it’s the kit (uniform) of the ThinkCash cycling team (today just a group of employees and friends-of-the-company that like to ride). The team has slowly been growing and has really improved the visibility of the company in our community. I’m constantly hearing from people who see someone in a ThinkCash kit passing them by on the Trinity Trail. I was “patient #1″ to catch the cycling bug at ThinkCash and it has been fun to see as more and more employees discover the joys of cycling. Our Tuesday night rides started as 4 or 5 of us riding at a moderate pace (to make sure no one got dropped). Now are rides are often 8+ strong and consist of lots of 25+ mph sections with lots of sprint “hot spots” along the way.

The "Mean Green" ThinkCash Train

The "Mean Green" ThinkCash Train

Well, we have decided to continue supporting cycling in our community by sponsoring the 2009 Texas State Criterium Championships right here in Fort Worth on Memorial Day (Monday, May 25).  It’s the largest 1-day race in North Texas with over 500 USCF participants and over 3,500 spectators. Additionally, it raises money for a great cause since all proceeds benefit the Fort Worth Police Bicycle Patrol – through Safe City Fort Worth. It’s their second-largest private funding source with over $10,000 raised each year.

The races run through Fort Worth’s Cultural District (with a start/finish line in front of the Will Rogers Center). The 1-mile figure-eight course has been praised as the “best course in Texas.” The racers even ride over a section of bricks on Camp Bowie and must negotiate several challenging turns at speeds of 30+ mph.

There is no cost to attend the event (Yes, FREE outdoor entertainment!), and there are races throughout the day. The flyer here has start times for the various races/events. I would recommend coming out for the Men Pro 1,2 race at 10:30 a.m. These are the best racers in Texas and will hit speeds of over 40 mph.

Additionally, those of you with children 9-and-under should bring them out for the Kids Race at 11:50 a.m. The kids are allowed to ride for a short distance along the finish line where they are cheered on by all the spectators. All kids in the race get a medal, so they are all winners.

This will hopefully be the first of many ways that ThinkCash can increase the awareness of our company in our community.

Top speed on a bicycle – how fast can you go downhill?

Tuesday night during our Team ThinkCash ride, we had a nice tailwind on the 820 service road descent. So like most cyclists – we all tried to see how fast we could go. Comparing bike computer results as we soft-pedaled up to Chapin Rd., most of us fell between 40 and 45 mph. This started the conversation of, “what’s the fastest you’ve ever gone on your bike?”

I think I was the only one that had broken 50 mph on numerous occassions (no small feat since I only weigh 150 lbs). I know I’ve hit 50 mph while riding in the mountains of California a couple times. However, my most memorable 50+mph ride was in a Cat 4 race at Lago Vista (just outside Austin) last season. There was a steep downhill on the backside of the course and the peloton would hit 50 mph every lap. It’s definitely a little unnerving to ride in a pack when you’re doing 50 mph on tires the width of Scotch Tape.

As evidenced in the video above from the 2003 Tour de France (when Lance Armstrong does a little cyclocrossing), anything can happen (even to pros) when you’re going downhill that fast.

pros going downhill - don't try this at home

pros going downhill - don't try this at home

In fact, even the pros get a little skittish when speeds go north of 50 mph. In today’s Stage 6 of the Giro de Italia the pros hit ridiculous speeds on the descent off the Hochkrimml. The pros were even “comparing” their top speeds (just like the ThinkCashers on our Tuesday Nighter) after the descent. So who had the top speed? Saxo Bank’s JJ Haedo hit 117 kph – that’s 72.7 mph!

It’s not what you say, but how you say it

In our ThinkCash weekly marketing meetings I’ve started a new feature we call “YouTube Video of the Week”. The point is to find a YouTube video that illustrates a marketing principal (something done really well, or really poorly). This weeks was a good one. The idea here is that the way you say something (punctuation, emphasis, etc.) is just as important as the actual message. This anchor obviously didn’t think about where he should put the pause, or the emphasis, when we read the opening off the teleprompter. This is like a scene straight our of Anchorman.

ThinkCash Marketing Team – Halloween Homage to The Karate Kid

Karate Kid Fight Scene - "Sweep the leg"

Karate Kid Fight Scene - So the marketing team at ThinkCash decided to go with a "Karate Kid" theme for Halloween. I think we nailed it. Big props to Michelle for an excellent Mr. Myagi.The fight scene

Cobra Kai

Cobra Kai

Training with Mr. Myagi

Training with Mr. Myagi

Ride Report – 2008 Cowtown Classic

2008 Cowtown Classic Route

2008 Cowtown Classic Route

Saturday I rode in the Cowtown Classic in Crowley, TX. Most of my Moritz teammates were there since this is the only real rally in Fort Worth (technically it starts in Crowley, but it’s close enough). I decided to ride my single speed in order to get in one final, long ride on the SS before I ride it for 112 miles on Sunday (all in the name of charity). The ride was 62 miles, plus I was riding from my house, so it would be 80 miles in the saddle.

Right at the start I noticed a strange bulge in my front tire, so I pulled over at the first rest area (mile 10) and my front tire literally exploded as I pulled in. Phil and Ken from ThinkCash saw me and stopped, but continued on, assuming that I would catch them on the way. After changing the flat (and using a couple CO2 canisters) I realized my spare tube also had a hole in it. 

Some other rider was nice enough to give me a tube and some CO2. I took it as proof to the existence of karma in the universe. In the last 2 weeks I’ve stopped to help 3 different riders on the Trinity Trails with flats. In all cases I gave the riders a tube, CO2, or both. I figured this was the universe’s way of repaying my kindness ;)

So the flat slowed me down for 20-30 minutes. This meant for the rest of the ride I would be passing slower riders along the course. I haven’t ridden at the back of a bike rally in years (since I first started riding). So it was interesting to observe some different behaviors now that I am a more experienced cyclist. I thought I would share some of my observations in an effort to help new cyclists:

Stay on the right side of the road – I saw more cyclist than I could count riding in the wrong lane. I’m not talking about the left-side of the right-lane, I’m talking about riders actually riding in the wrong lane of traffic. The smart thing to do (whether in a bike rally with 1,000 other riders or on a solo training ride) is to stay as far right on the road as you can. This will make it easier for faster riders and CARS to pass you.

Don’t spend too much time at rest areas – When you stop at a rest area, grab a banana or a cookie, refill your bottles, use the porta-potty if needed and then get moving. When you stop at a rest area for longer than 5 minutes, your muscles “freeze-up” making it more difficult to get going again. You’ll be much more likely to ride a new “personal best” distance if you keep your stops short.

Don’t hit your breaks in corners with debris – There were quite a few corners on this ride that had sand, gravel, etc. The best thing to do is brake before the corner and then let go of the brakes as you make the turn. You’ll be surprised how much debris you can safely ride through on a road bike. However, when you hit the brakes mid-corner, all bets are off. You’ll quickly lose traction and be more likely to go down.

Don’t get in a paceline that is too fast – Pacelines are a great way to conserve energy and ride faster than you could by yourself. However, when try to hang on to a group that is too fast – you will probably get dropped and burn most of your glycogen reserves. Leaving you with very little power to finish the ride. A cyclist can only burn so many “matches”, you don’t want to waste them trying to hang on to a group that will drop you. If you see a group that’s moving at the right speed, join in, if there moving too fast . . . let them go.

Despite the flats, it was a great ride. The weather was perfect and I averaged right at 19 mph for 80 miles. The 48×17 gearing I have on the bike seems just right and should be the perfect gearing for TXTough. I’m really starting to like this single speed thing. Too bad there aren’t single speed divisions in road racing like there are in mountain bike racing – It would make things interesting.

No Hotter ‘n Hell – On set instead

After having ridden Hotter ‘n Hell the last two years, it feels a little strange to not be in Wichita Falls today. Instead, I’m on set shooting customer testimonials for ThinkCash at Farstar HQ. As Kevin L. mentioned on the Farstar Blog – It’s always fun and rewarding to spend time with our customers and here their stories. There truly is a “story behind every loan” and it really makes the job more rewarding when customers personally thank you for helping them with their emergency cash needs.

I Love the 80’s – ThinkCash Style


Every quarter we have a company “Town Hall” at ThinkCash. It’s a great way to update all employees on the state of the company (financially, marketing campaigns, IT improvements, etc.). Last town hall we decided to “spice-it-up” with a funny video to open the event. It was such a hit that we decided to do it again. The theme for this town hall was “Back to the 80’s” (it had significance related to some internal goals). So we shot a 80’s themed video with our exec team and then invited all of our employees to dress in their favorite 80’s duds for the event.

I had a lot of fun working on the video and couldn’t have done it without Anthony’s help. That’s right, when I’m not thinking of a better ways to provide our customers with emergency cash loans, I’m producing and directing low-budget company films. BTW, props to Kevin D for his award-winning-performance.

TXTough – 38 days and counting

With just 38 days until TXTough, I decided to take another look at the course map today. The 112 mile route basically does the 56 mile route twice. This is actually pretty cool because it means we will get to ride twice through Victory Park. Since I’ll be riding a single speed, it will also give me the ability to know how hard I can push it on the last 56 miles since I will know what the wind, hills, etc. are like. I’m trying to get everyone at ThinkCash to step-up their fundraising efforts – I  would love for us to be one of the top teams and really make a difference for Children’s Medical Center.

I’ve got gas . . . saving tips

gas prices

So I’ve been working on some “financial tips” emails for ThinkCash and decided to focus on ways to improve fuel economy this month. It seems like you can’t turn on the news or pick up the paper without mention of rising gas prices and discussions of fuel economy.  So here are a few gas saving tips:

  • Drive the speed limit. Gas mileage decreases rapidly at speeds above 60 mph. Driving at 70 mph is like spending an extra 40 cents per gallon on gas!
  • Remove excess weight. Avoid keeping unnecessary items in your vehicle. An extra 100 pounds in your vehicle can reduce your MPG by up to 2%.
  • Avoid excessive idling. An idling car gets 0 MPG!  So the more time your vehicle is idling, the worse your gas mileage. Turn your car off when you know you will be stopped for long periods of time.
  • Keep your tires properly inflated. You can improve gas mileage by about 3% by keeping your tires inflated to the correct pressure.
  • Use cruise control. Using cruise control at highway speeds can improve your gas mileage significantly. Edmunds.com conducted a test test using a Land Rover LR3 and a Ford Mustang, the Land Rover got almost 14 percent better mileage using cruise control set at 70 miles per hour rather than cruising at driver-controlled speeds between 65 and 75 miles per hour. The Mustang got 4.5 percent better mileage.

Some people have taken improved fuel economy to the next level and essentially made it their hobby. Hypermilers make lots of little changes in their driving habits in order to get big improvements in fuel economy. Two great sites for hypermiling tips are Hypermiling.com and Ecomodder.com.

Historic prices in Dallas, TX

It’s hard to believe that as recently as 2004 gas was around $1.50/gallon and today it is over $4/gallon. Doesn’t seem like the price of gas is going down anytime soon, so these tips will only help to save you even more money as the price of gas increases.