Yesterday, May 1st, a blue Volvo semi pulling a low-boy trailer arrived in Papillion, returning from hauling two 28-ft fishing boats to Alaska for the season. He had two 4x4s on the back, loads he'd pickup along the way for drop-off in Alabama and northern Florida. He figured he had enough room for our 20-ft shipping container: its immediate destination Merritt Island on the state's "Space Coast" near Cape Canaveral.
The blue and green, side-loading container is Quikbyke's prototype rental "shop-in-a-box" that we developed here in Nebraska, with matching grant funds from the state's Department of Economic Development. It's purpose is to promote the greater use of bicycles, in general, and electric-assist, in particular. Quikbyke's "mission" is to encourage all of us to drive (cars) less and pedal (bikes) more, by demonstrating the delight of riding an electric bike. We want to change the perception of bicycles from one of "toys" and "exercise machines" to viable forms of personal transportation.
Our business model is to rent nice electric-assist bicycles, in the case of the prototype Qiosk, Stride 300s from Florida-based ProdecoTech. These bikes offer a comfortable step-through frame, a lithium-ion battery good for 20-30 miles (according to the company) and 300W front hub motor. They're top motor-assisted speed is 20 mph. They come with comfortable seats with wide range of height adjustment suitable for adults and older youth. The front and rear disc brakes make for safe stops in any weather. The knobby Continental tires are good for just about any riding surface with the exception of soft sand and snow.
Ultimately, we anticipate relocating the Qiosk to Port Canaveral where management has expressed interest in allowing us to operate initially on a trial basis. The port, located across the bay from the space center, is the second largest in the USA and home of several cruise ship lines, including Carnival, Disney, Norwegian and Royal Caribbean. There's an amazing 360 degree panorama photo of the port taken by Jason Perrone, presumably by drone.
While we were able to prove the Quikbyke concept last summer here in Omaha, we never really "stress-tested" it. Our renters loved the experience, we just didn't have enough of them to push the technology. We hope to do that at Port Canaveral, as well as showcase the concept to the cruise lines and port authorities, especially the latter.
So, the next phase of our startup journey has literally begun. Fortunately, our CTO is relocating from St. Pete to the Space Coast so he can oversee that phase. He lives on his sailboat, so the move involves a five-day voyage around the peninsula. Being a mechanical engineer, he's also hoping to implement improvements in the technology, especially since our ultimate goal is to franchise the system, for which we have a patent pending.
Below is a series of photos showing how we loaded the container, in which is everything from the Qiosk's 1.8kW of solar panels to our Quikbyke t-shirts, as well as five Stride 300's. I am keeping one here in Omaha for testing and marketing purposes.
As the truck drove off, I felt a lot like when we moved our daughter to start her graduate degree at the University of Iowa. She was leaving home and setting out on her new life. So too is our prototype solar-powered rental shop-in-a-box: the fate of that brightly painted container and its contents are now - to a degree - in the hands of others.
On an encouraging note, the truck driver, who owns this rig, plus 3 others, observed when seeing the it for the first time that the Port of Miami could use five of our Qiosks. Here's hoping that's a harbinger of good things to come.
Posted By: Bill Moore [02-May-2017]
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