Suspension Bicycle Seat
Inventor: Ray Mendez
Day job: President, Mortgage Options Inc.
His all-time favorite invention: The airbag. And the hula hoop. (Post-interview, Mendez called SFR back to express his deep disregard for the cell phone. “That’s the worst invention ever,” he says. “And I have one.”)
How his invention could affect our lives: It could make bike riding easier. And, according to Mendez, it may prevent prostate cancer.
What the actual patent says: “The invention comprises a suspension frame system, an adjustable nose pad, an arcuate seat pad with a center opening, a movable nose pad, and a gap between the nose pad and the seat pad.”
Meet the inventor: Ray Mendez, a mortgagor with 40 years’ experience, came up with his idea for a specialized bike seat while riding one day with his 6-year-old grandson.
“I could only last about 30 minutes on those seats,” Mendez says. “You know, you see articles about prostate problems—some attribute it to all that force in the area. I can’t stand it.”
So Mendez went to his workshop and made a prototype of a seat that omits the nose portion—the extended part of the seat—but when he realized the nose helps riders maintain their balance when turning, he developed a new idea. He refashioned the seat as two different parts (the nose and the wider, butt-sitting portion), so that the nose would be adjustable for different riders.
“I went to my shoe repair guy and he wrapped it in leather. It worked out real nice,” Mendez says.
After Mendez’ patent was approved, he began receiving phone calls from get-rich-quick schemers who wanted to buy his product for cheap. “The hawks and crows started contacting me,” the Fort Sumner native says.
Mendez never sold or promoted his bike seat, despite spending upwards of $15,000 on patent attorney fees. “I contacted Schwinn, but they didn’t have any interest,” Mendez says. He says that marketing the seat himself would cost at least $70,000.
It is not the first time Mendez has received nothing for his ideas. When he was 10 years old, he sent drawings of a never-before-seen bunk bed to Popular Mechanics as part of a contest for young inventors and won. “I never got paid for that one, either,” he says.