Heading to the SF Bike Expo next weekend at the Cow Palace? Make sure to stop by booth 144 and say hello to us, we'll be there all day. It'll be a great chance to check out the brand new backrests for Companion Bike Seat, as well as some of the other new accessories we're working on, including the pannier hooks and the sound cloth for the storage compartment.
SF Bike Expo is one day only, Saturday Nov 21 from 11am to 5pm. There will be all sorts of fun bicycling products and accessories to try out. Come out and support Bay Area bicycling!
I spot-checked the first shipment of backrests as I prepped all of the pre-orders for shipment over the last couple of days, and everything looked great with this first back of backrests, no issues or defects at all with the manufacturing process. It ultimately took me 3 full days of packing and shipping to get all of the hundred or so pre-orders out, but I got it done, with the last shipment dropped off at the post office on Saturday afternoon.
Once that was all taken care of, I finally had a chance to take one of the new backrests out for a photo shoot out on the Embarcadero this afternoon. It was a gorgeous San Francisco Sunday afternoon (gotta love the Indian summers here in the city) with all sorts of folks out walking, running, bicycling, and roller-blading along the waterfront.
The backrest lives up to expectations ... mine anyways. It's easy to install and remove, comfortable yet durable backrest cushion, and more than enough support to lean back against while riding (we do like to over-engineer things here at Companion Bike Seat, just in case). Can't wait to hear what the world thinks about these backrests for Companion Bike Seat once the pre-orders start arriving this week!
I met Doug at ELV Motors in Sunnyvale CA a couple of months ago after he found us online and emailed me about more info on our bike seats. I went down and visited him at the bike shop, and after talking for an hour, decided to dive head first into creating a foot peg solution for ebikes where the throttle plugs into the rear axle.
We decided to use the Sondors eBike as our base model to prototype with (based on their success on Kickstarter last year). After some testing and some modifications, we were able to successfully install Companion Bike Seat onto a Sondors eBike with a modified peg, specifically for ebikes. Included below are pictures of the bike seat installed on the Sondors, including close-ups of the modified pegs used for the installation.
Now that we've proven out the concept, we're working on scaling out manufacturing for these pegs so that we can start offering them on the website. We should have ebike pegs available for ebikes with both 12mm and 14mm diameter axles within the next couple of weeks.
The first shipment of backrests for the bike seat arrived safely today, and pre-orders of the backrests will start shipping out first thing tomorrow.
As soon as the shipment arrived this morning, I broke down the pallets and filled up my car with the hundred or so backrests that have been pre-ordered so far. I put the rest of the backrests into storage, then drove my car full of backrests home to prep them for shipping.
Once the shipment was received and the backrests were all safely in storage or at home, I had to run back to the office for a couple afternoon meetings. I of course brought a couple of them with me to the office to show off, and made sure I had some time to pose for some photos outside as well.
One of my co-workers (on the right above) had supported us during the Indiegogo campaign and purchased a bike seat and backrest, so I was able to deliver his backrest to him in person. We tested it out on the bike seat, confirming everything was delivered as expected with the shipment of backrests. That's him on the right giving the thumbs up sign.
I'll dig through the backrests to make sure we don't have any quality issues tomorrow and if looks good, all pre-orders domestic and international will boxed up and shipped out by this weekend!
If you've had metal objects (bike lock, tools, etc.) in the storage compartment of your bike seat while riding around on your bicycle, then you know it makes for a pretty loud riding experience. Depending on how well-paved the road is that you're riding on, people can you hear you coming from a pretty long ways away.
Now that the backrest is almost ready for sale and manufacturing has started with the pannier hooks, I decided to start focusing on a solution for this "sound problem" with the storage compartment of the bike seat. I ordered a variety of different materials of varying thicknesses to test out, and once they arrived, started prototyping (with the help of Blake Johnson of course).
We tested shelf-liner, polyurethane foam, and neoprene to see what the effect on sound-deadening each material had. All of them interestingly enough had a similar effect, and the thickness of the material did not seem to be important at all, which was interesting. During the process of testing each of the materials out, it became apparent that the sound cloth needed to be removable so that it and the storage compartment could be cleaned out in case any liquid was spilled or leaked into it while riding.
Based on this realization of the need for the sound cushion to be removable (and washable), we've pretty much settled on neoprene for the material. We're going to do some further testing with thinner neoprene to make sure we minimize the impact on storage capacity . Once that's concluded, we'll start working with our factory on manufacturing!
The first shipment of backrests for Companion Bike Seat arrived safely at the Port of Oakland and was cleared through customs yesterday! I'll receive them early next week, and pre-orders will ship out as soon as I'm able to break down the pallets and box up all the orders. There's almost a hundred of them, so it may take me a day or two to get them all ready, but I'll be 100% focused on backrests until they're all shipped out.
Based on this, we're still on schedule to ship out orders by the end of next week, which means the backrests should arrive just in time to take out trick-or-treating over the Halloween weekend!
The second prototype pannier hooks arrived from the factory last week and they fit perfectly onto the side of the bike seat storage compartment, so I gave the factory the go-ahead to start manufacturing. The factory got started this week and should be all finished up with the pannier hooks by mid-November, which means that pre-orders will ship out in early December, just in time for the holidays.
A customer from Washington DC that bought his bike seat about a year and a half ago wrote me this week with the coolest story - he and his girlfriend > fiance > wife rode their bicycle with the bike seat to and from work every day. It was such a big part of their daily routine, that they decided to include their bicycle + bike seat in their wedding photos! They had met while working at the Washingtonian, and the magazine wrote a story about their wedding, including several of their wedding photos in the story. I included one of them below, the rest can be found at the Washingtonian story. The Companion Bike Seat even made it onto their wedding website!
Not to brag, but I'd like to think that Companion Bike Seat played a small but important part in spurring this love story along. Either way, it's always awesome to get such great feedback on our bike seats. Here's what he had to say:
I'm sure you don't remember me, but we corresponded a few times back in June 2014 when I had a few questions about installing the bike seat. You were really helpful and patient in answering my questions.
It's official, the first manufacturing run of bike seat backrests is complete, and they shipped out from the factory this afternoon! This is a picture of one of the many pallets of backrests at the factory just outside of Shenzhen, just before they were loaded onto trucks to take to the port. It'll take another 3 to 4 weeks to get here to SF, but we're still on track to have the first backrests ship out to folks before the end of October. I'll provide an arrival date as soon as I receive one from our shipper.
Remember, ALWAYS wear a HELMET!