Two-Wheeled Innovation — Bicycles, Business And PR

English: Bike sharing in Buenos Aires

English: Bike sharing in Buenos Aires (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

To honor the founder of Spin Sucks, Gini Dietrich, with news about innovations in bicycling, especially after the devastating and ongoing debacle that is Lance Armstrong, it was pure serendipity that three (all things come in sets of  three) articles about two-wheeled transport presented themselves as I was catching up on my magazine reading.

(Whew! How’s that for almost the longest sentence in the world?)

Not to ignore happenstance, especially when bicycling has become the topic of de rigueur of late, I’d like to share these stories of inspiration to see if they (and I) may inspire your innovative and creative juices to launch such a smart venture, as well:


Robin Bylenga, 47, took up her bike after a divorce left her a single mother of three peddling hair products to beauty salons. In Greenville, SC, Robin became attached to her bike seat, and took an interim job at a local cycling store.

Women sought her out to speak about proper biking gear and attire as well as which trails were great for moms and kids. Robin decided to create a bike-shopping experience for women.

She researched the market for a year and opened Pedal Chic. Putting on her PR hat, she hosted weekly group rides, “bring your own beverage and bike” and also offered Women With Wrenches maintenance classes.

You can read more about Robin’s start up in, October 2012, “Changing Gears.”


In Fast Company, July/August 2012, an article called, “Pedal Power, Plus”  shared an innovative electric bike that took away the one obstacle commuters hate about biking to work — sweat.  A mobility designer has a new electric, foldable bike from Conscious Commuter and hopes to “evangelize a cleaner commute.”

Gabriel Wartofsky’s bike boasts a simple aluminum frame (fewer pieces than a normal bike and weighs in at 25 pounds (half that of a normal bike). Imagine the savings on parking and no need to expend pedal energy because the price tag is, ahem, $2,500.


Also in Fast Company, July/August 2012, “Wheeling And Dealing,” a young woman, Alison Cohen, is pushing “a brand-new industry in the U.S,” in bike sharing. With the advent of docking stations and fee-paying requirements, Cohen’s bike-sharing network in New York City is the largest, but not the first. Four other cities with such a program include Washington D.C., Miami Beach, Minneapolis, and Madison, WI.

The purpose is to enable commuters to transit the final mile between subway, bus, or trains stops. Clever pricing ensures the bikes are used for transportation and not tourism (a hefty price tag for someone wanting to meander through Central Park prohibits this). The public-private partnership involves cities, corporations, universities, and employees, of course.


So, what’s the moral to my story about these three stories?

Get out from within your tunnel and explore what’s around you. Listen to conversation; what are people asking for? Where are the greatest needs for businesses? How can you make things easier and faster and more efficient for people stuck commuting everywhere? What common good or service can be re-jiggered to be new again?

Take inspiration from these three creative people and begin to methodically pour over your own systematic routines to see if you can tweak one or two and become an innovator, too.

(And, below, I’m trying Zemanta for the very first time! Let’s see how it goes!)

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