Bike repair shop expands
Published: Tuesday, May 15, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, May 15, 2012 06:05
Two recent college graduates are expanding their new, commuter-friendly bike company in Newark, according to the founders.
Sandeep Gopal, 30, and Jason Hoover, 24, recent Northwestern University Engineering Design and Innovation Program graduates, founded their company, called Edi Bikes, in March. They designed the bikes for commuters living in urban areas and Gopal said they are a safe, efficient way to ride to work.
“We’re starting with a bike company, but what we’re really looking to do is create a transportation company for students and professionals that live in cities,” Gopal said.
While Edi Bikes has a center of operations in Philadelphia, the founders are building a number of mobile stations within surrounding cities where customers can bring their bikes in for easy-access repairs based on a monthly fee, Gopal said. He said customers can schedule appointments to get their bikes repaired or to do a test ride.
“We will be partnering with local coffee shops to help introduce our bikes to the public,” he said. “When looking for repairs, customers will be notified about which of our mobile stations are currently being maintained for that day. This way, the customer can come in on a Saturday in the early afternoon to hang out and converse with people at a local cafe while we service their bike.”
Hoover said while most bicycle companies appeal to a more technical audience whose focus is on mountain biking and street racing, or the casual customer looking for a simple beach cruiser, he and Gopal of Edi Bikes want to target urban commuters who navigate city streets and traffic. He said the bikes are “user-friendly.”
“The bikes are purposed to be efficient, safe and comfortable,” he said. “They feature a light and speed system that both switch automatically given the current condition of riding.”
Edi Bikes, which cost $850, feature a three-speed system to help the rider move quickly along the roads, as well as deal with hills and incline, Hoover said. Attached to both the front and rear of the bicycle is a built-in light system that charges while the user is pedaling.
Hoover said the bike can detect outside light levels and automatically activates on its own, even after the user has stopped pedaling. He said the chain guard built into the bike is designed to keep dirt and grease off of clothing.
Gopal said he wanted to explore a market he thought had been ignored. After six months of design and planning, Gopal and Hoover developed a model that emphasized their goal of sustainable and practical transportation for daily commuters.
“There’s no great bike company that focuses on transportation,” Gopal said. “We wanted to create a comfortable bicycle that would be great for traveling three to five miles and give the customer a safe mode of transportation that would help avoid dealing with the average commuter’s problems of dealing with traffic and looking for parking.”
The managers at Bike Line and Wooden Wheels, bike shops located on Main Street, both declined to comment about Edi Bikes.
Gopal said he and Hoover will visit events such as the Wilmington Grand Prix in May and the Wilmington Ice Cream Festival in July to raise awareness about their product.
Laurie Haas, 24, the founders’ friend and an Edi Bike customer, said she likes the Edi Bikes because they are comfortable and easy to use.
“The bikes are definitely low maintenance,” she said. “I know nothing and knew nothing about bicycles before I got one. I hadn’t found a bike that was tailored towards those who didn’t know anything about bikes before I came across Edi Bikes.”
Junior Josh Hampton, who rides a bike on campus, said he does not have an Edi Bike, but thinks they seem better suited for the town than his own bike.
“I already have a bike to get me places, but it’s definitely not meant for the way I use it,” Hampton said. “Having an actual bike designed for handling the streets like that would be nice.”