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:

PEDAL CHIC

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 CNNMoney.com, October 2012, “Changing Gears.”

CONSCIOUS COMMUTER

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.

ALTA BICYCLE SHARE

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.

MORAL TO THE STORY!

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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16 comments
KateFinley
KateFinley

This was fun to read! It's so nice to discover that we are neighbors. Oh and thanks for the Zemanta tip ... how do you like it so far?

ginidietrich
ginidietrich

Well, as you already know, I'm a big cycling fan. During the summer, I ride my bike everywhere. The Pedal Chic lady really resonates because, um, girl's cycling is different than men's and NO ONE talks about it. #girlpower

rdopping
rdopping

Zemanta, huh? Do I feel another blog post coming on or is that old hat? Had to go check that out before I wrote anything here. Interesting.

 

We have a program in Canada called Bixi https://toronto.bixi.com/ sponsored by TELUS (a major telco) which is a pay and play type thing. It's for commuters and tourists or pretty much anyone. No discrimination. Ha.

 

Thanks for making me think about what I am doing here and why.

jennwhinnem
jennwhinnem

I like that Zemanta thing. Cool.

 

I have been unable to bicycle as an adult because I have become almost terrified of falling off the bike. It is irrational.

 

I remember riding bikes with my sister and she fell off her bike and she skinned her knees. I pedaled home to get my dad. I helped Liz home, and Dad was in charge of getting the bike home. A neighbor dared him to ride the bike home and he did, and since the bike was small, he looked ridiculous. But not like this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p8y0xpkdaNY

Soulati | Hybrid PR
Soulati | Hybrid PR moderator

 @rdopping Haha, thanks for coming over on this light and airy post...remember how we spoke about attraction to posts that speak to a profession? This one was just inspired (as I say above), and it's OK to write about this kind of stuff, especially if it inspires one person to think a little differently...thanks for saying so!  I'm loving Zemanta after 2 uses; very cool. Check it out!

MaleDaniel
MaleDaniel

 @Soulati | B2B Social Media Marketing  @MaleDaniel

 I won't beat you to it :). I just tweeted at you, introducing some of my Zemanta contacts. They're pretty big in the blogging world, and I'm sure could help drive traffic to your site. Also, thanks for the link to my Biking in Manhattan: What You Need to Know article!

Soulati | Hybrid PR
Soulati | Hybrid PR moderator

 @rdopping You have the discretion to choose what you want to include! So, no worries there. AND, one of the bloggers I chose to include came over and he's going to give me some contacts into Zemanta so I can become further acquainted. 

 

 @MaleDaniel is not someone who has come here previously; however, I linked to his blog post and, voila, a new reader who came back several times to comment.

 

You can always try it and if it doesn't work for you, then delete. Eazy peezy lemon squeezy.