Electric Currents

Crowdfunding Quikbyke Q•pod Job 1

Jun 05, 2015

Our electric bicycle spin-off is preparing to launch our first crowdfunding campaign to build our first rental 'pod' and here's a 3D wireframe version what it may look like.

How the week flies when you're having fun! It's Friday already. But as I look back, I am excited about what's been accomplished in efforts to launch Quikbyke, EV World's electric bicycle rental spin-off. Its mission is to introduce as many people as possible on a year-round basis to the delight of riding an electric bike. That means relocating them seasonally: the south in winter, north in summer. Key West, November through April; Cape Cod, May through September, for example. At least, that's the theory: keep the bikes in service as much as possible. That improves the ROI and gets more people off their car seats and onto bicycle saddles. Once they do, my experience shows, they start to think differently about their mobility options.

In America, just 1% of us commute by bicycle. One percent! Even for trips less than 3 miles (5 km) we drive a car more than 70% of the time. Frankly, that's just stupid. It's bad for the car. It's bad for the environment. And it's bad for us physically, as well as emotionally, it could be argued.

And our over-dependence on the car is costly. When you ask people how much they spend to drive an automobile annually, they might guess $4,000, which is what one person told me this week. Nope, not even close. Try close to $9,500 per car, per year!

But put people on e-bikes, as I have done over the last year now, and let them experience what it's like to 'ride electric' and they start volunteering remarks like, "I live 3 miles from work, I could ride one of these."

Yes you could! So why aren't you?

Habit is one. A lack of safe streets and cycling paths is another. But just not being aware that such technology exists seems to be a significant reason. Most people I put on an e-bike like my K15, have never ridden an electric assist bicycle. They have no idea what the experience is like; and that's the point of Quikbyke. Give people the opportunity to "try it before they buy it." Rent them a quality electric bicycle from the likes of A2B, Currie, Pedego, ProdecoTech and other top-flight American e-bike makers for a couple hours. This way they see what its like, rather than taking a chance by ordering something off the 'Net and being disappointed. It's a business model that I am convinced will work.

The key to it is flexibility: being able to keep the bikes in circulation all year round. I live in Omaha. Trust me, only mad dogs and Kelly Smith ride bikes here in February. (Kelly is the senior bike tech at The Bike Rack and a super guy who rides like 20 miles a day, year-round). But May through October, it's pretty nice, other than the 'dog days' of August. Come November through April, few are going to want to ride any kind of bike. It's just too dang cold. Even our Sand Hill cranes and Canada geese are smart enough to realize that with the frigid gusts of November, it's time to move south; and Quikbykes will follow their example.

And how's the best way to do that? By shipping container, of course.

Wireframe view of Quikbyke Opod

Here's the wireframe view of just such a container designed to serve as a mobile popup rental shop: what I call a Q•pod. It is designed to be moveable by truck, train and ship; and sets up in just a few hours time. This is what I am preparing to crowdfund, hopefully by no later than July 1st. As the campaign launch date nears, I'll let EV World readers know more of the particulars, which includes the opportunity to own one of 150 limited edition, pre-production prototypes of the K15, considered the lightest electric bicycle available anywhere.

Social media really determines the success of any crowdfunding campaign. That means having people talk about it on their Facebook pages, comment on their Wordpress blogs, Tweet about it, share photos on Instagram and Flicker, and videos on Vine. I hope that I can count on EV World readers to help spread the word. In the coming days and weeks, I'll be revealing more about the campaign and what we're offering supporters, as well as showing you more of what the Q•pod will look like. This may not be what you'll want to personally invest in, but if you can help me grow the social network, that will be just as important.

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