Electric Currents

Me, My E-Bike and My GoPro Camera

Oct 23, 2014

I've been intrigued by the video being shot with the tiny GoPro camera and then I saw the remarkable HD footage shot from the beak of a pelican at InterBike 2014 last month. So I bought one via an eBay auction with the aim of building an electric bicycle tour business. Here's the result of the first shoot.

electric bicycles at Omaha Henry Doorly Zoo

If you follow me on EV World or our sister website ePEDALER.com, you'll know that I am working steadily, if slowly towards the launch of an electric bicycle rental enterprise with, frankly, global aspirations. I want to be the Starbucks of e-bike rentals.

But every journey of 10,000 miles begins with the first step, says the Chinese proverb... or something like that. While I dream of operating a network of e-bike rental 'pop-up shops' from Bar Harbor to St. John, V.I., I need to first figure out whether anyone is even interested in renting an electric bike for a few hours while on vacation or holiday. There are a myriad of details that need to be worked out and debugged before we get set our sights on far away ports.

So, I've pretty much decided that it makes sense to start right here in my own backyard. Start fast, iterate quickly, implement small changes, repeat. Learn what works, what people expect and like; and what doesn't work and they don't like. This is advise I've been repeatedly told by a not a few people brighter than I am. Omaha may not be as exotic as Oranjestad or Charlotte Amalia, it does draw a failure steady flow of out-of-town visitors looking for something to do while here on business or pleasure. Why not offer them a convenient way to see some of the sights that are a bit too far to walk and a tad too inconvenient for a car.

For a period of time in the late 19th century, Omaha was the gateway to the West. The Union Pacific started here and steamed it's way across the Great Plains. Great river boats plied the Muddy Mo, the Missouri River. American military outposts were supplied from here. Fortunes were made in cattle, beer and real estate. While the rough-n-ready frontier town harbored its share of scoundrels and corrupt politicians, it also nurtured more than its share of generous philanthropists. One of our turn-of-the-19th-century madams not only donated her brothel to the city for use as a hospital, but on her death bequeathed her considerable fortune, estimated at a million dollars, to the city.

Hidden beneath those few remaining cobblestone streets, behind those redbrick warehouse walls and stainless steel and glass facades, lies a century and a half of history that I think is worth rediscovering by marrying smart apps and electric bicycles.

The video below is a 10-minute compilation of a longer 55-minute ride that covered almost 11 miles, stretching from the ultra-modern campus of the Gallup organization to our magnificent Lauritzen Gardens and Henry Doorly Zoo.

On the technical side, the camera, a GoPro Hero3 Black, was mounted on the handlebars of my TidalForce M750. Accompanying me was my younger brother riding the A2B Ferber the company loaned me. We both used about 50% of our battery packs, largely because of the long hill climbs on the ride south to the Zoo and Gardens.


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