This morning I got an email from a gentleman who rented two of our electric-assist bicycles Sunday morning, September 18th. Tim and his wife Shelly rented a pair of our Prodecotech Stride 300 e-bikes for an hour. Normally, when that happens the bikes come back with their batteries depleted between 25 and occasionally 50%. Because we keep freshly charged spares, they can be swapped for newly charged ones in under a minute. Tim and Shelly's bikes had only 25% of their charges left. Curious, I asked them where they'd been. Pretty much all over the downtown Omaha area, was their reply. They also crossed the Missouri River to the Iowa side and rode that trail well south of the casinos: total distance maybe ten miles or more. As Tim explains in his email, they used the bikes' 300 Watt front hub motors a lot. While we encourage people to pedal as much as they're comfortable with, it's also okay to just enjoy the experience of riding a clean, quiet, solar-charged electric 'vehicle.' I asked Tim his permission to reprint his comments. He agreed as long as I left out his last name. Here they are:
Thanks again for the electric bike experience Sunday. We had a great time.
It's not just riding a bike (made a little easier) like I thought it would be.
It's being able to go places people can only walk or ride a bike… without the problem of running out of energy to get back ! I weigh about 180 and am 52 and in relatively very good shape, but even I don’t want to ride more than a few miles. This made that not only possible, but really a lot of fun, and more interesting and entertaining than most things we do.
Like you said, we probably rode 10 miles in the hour we rode, all over the area! It helps that its relative level here, (Its not san Francisco), but even so it is a lot of work to pedal. Your bikes ride easier than our 10 speeds that we ride, and that is a great start. They sit well and are easy to operate. I hardily pedaled, and we rode all over the area in that hour. It really was a nice time. We would have done it more this summer, had we known how much fun it was going to be.
You need to get the word out. It’s more fun than going to the movies or other forms of entertainment.
Tim is somewhat aware of Quikbyke's business model, which is to install Qiosks like the one above on or near cruise ship docks in and around the Caribbean. Apparently, he and his wife take a lot of cruises, so next he offered the following suggestions.
They would make a cruise ship port 10 times the fun, and we do that a lot ! I would rent them at every port all over the Caribbean !
You really should pick an island to set up a kiosk, like St Maarten, where they can get 9 ships in at a time, (there were 6 in February when we were there) and have like 100 bikes there on the pier, and you would rent them all out every day. (Hide a gps on every bike, to insure you get them all back) You would make a very good living there alone. Do the same in St Thomas and Puerto Rico (old san juan only). Aruba, Bonaire, and Curacaos’ would also be very good places, maybe even the best, but setting up a business there in the Dutch colonies is a little more interesting… I’ve checked into this stuff a little…. Not all islands would be as good for the business. Grenada is too hilly and would not be as good for example.
We really had a nice time. Thanks again for the experience.
Interestingly, many of the people that I invite to join my LinkedIn network, in fact, live and work on many of the Caribbean islands he mentions; Aruba, in particular, was one of the first islands suggested that we take a hard look at. Our plan to seasonally redeploy Qiosks south in the Winter, north in the Summer, in effect, follows the same cruise ship deployment model.
Coincidentally, we also installed our first Bluetooth-based tracker on one of our bikes for testing purposes a few weeks ago, and I am seriously investigating low-power Internet-of-Things technology as a more affordable way to track our bikes.
What was so encouraging about Tim's remarks, and really those of everyone who has rented our e-bikes this summer here in Omaha, is that none of them have come back disappointed by the experience, and that includes the parents of Olympic swimming gold medal winners Leah Smith and Gunnar Bentz who were in Omaha in late June for the Swim Trials at the CenturyLink Center just a few hundred yards away. You can see their comments written with Sharpie pen on the end wall of the container.
As Tim notes, we really need to "get the word out." That's my mission going into the Fall season and naturally, why you're reading this.
Quikbyke is more than just another bike ride; it can be a life-changing experience for all the right reasons. Our 1.8kW solar array and 400Ah battery storage mean we're totally grid-independent and carbon-free. Our electric-assist means almost anyone can now ride a bike again, irrespective of age or physical condition. But maybe most important of all, it takes you out - if only for an hour or so - of the isolation chamber that is the modern automobile and reintroduces you to the amazing world all around us.
Come October, we'll be backing up the solar panels inside the Qiosk and shipping everything down to Florida for more consumer trials as Quikbyke embarks on the next stage of our business plan. If we continue to get the kind of comments you see on our "memory wall" and in Tim's email, I am confident we're to be able to grow a successful business.
Posted By: Bill Moore [19-Sep-2016]
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