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T-shirt design contest winner looks forward to big event

Oscar Aguilar was as surprised as anyone when he won this year’s MB Financial Bank Bike the Drive t-shirt contest with a landslide 69 percent of the votes.

Winning “shocked me, actually,” said 22-year-old Aguilar. When he saw his competition he asked himself, “How am I even supposed to compete with them?”/

When Aguilar initially began work on his design he reviewed some past t-shirt designs for the event, but said he wanted to take his design in a different direction.

“I thought, let’s break down the bike and see the parts, so that’s what became the cog,” Aguilar said.

According to Aguilar (pictured below), good design boils down to “something pleasing to the eye. That’s what works.”

Of the 1,006 votes in the t-shirt contest, Aguilar won 696 with his design titled The Cog (image right). Aguilar’s prize includes two complimentary MB Financial Bank Bike the Drive registrations, one Active Trans membership and one complementary registration for Four-Star Bike & Chow.

But perhaps the biggest part of the prize will happen on May 26 when many thousands of participants will don his design for the ride.

“I’m excited really just to have that credit of ‘hey I designed that’ and all these people are wearing it,” Aguilar said. “Hopefully I’ll have clients who see that … and begin a conversation.”


He had learned about the design contest through his brother who encouraged him to send in a submission.

Aguilar has been a graphic designer for five years, and as a part of that work is no stranger to t-shirt design. He got his start designing merchandise for bands.

He moved to Chicago last fall to begin school at the International Academy of Design and Technology. A current resident of Chicago’s Lakeview neighborhood, Aguilar grew up in the suburban communities of Hanover Park and Harvard.

Aguilar has been biking since he was a kid; his newest bike is a fixed-gear his older brother gave him for Christmas. Now that the weather is getting warmer, Aguilar said he’s been getting out on his new bike.

“I love it — there’s a lot more bikers. The one thing I want to see is more and more bike lanes, of course,” Aguilar said, adding that he loves riding the protected bike lanes on Dearborn Street.

So when Aguilar saddles up for MB Financial Bank Bike the Drive on May 26, who’s he bringing with his second ticket?

Aguilar said he's bringing his brother since he's the one who encouraged him to submit a design for the contest.  

Getting a great t-shirt designed by Oscar Aguilar is just one of the many reasons to sign up for MB Financial Bank Bike the Drive. Another great reason: it’s one of the best bike rides in the nation. Support the important work that Active Trans does throughout the region. Register before May 5 to avoid the late fee.

This blog post was written by Julie Davis, a volunteer contributor.