Introducing the first accessory for our bike seats - a backrest! This is of course only a proof-of-concept at best, assembled from parts available at the local hardware store down the street. The goal was to create a backrest that "installs" directly onto our bike seats, and the concept worked beautifully!
The next step is to spec out the backrest and start prototyping with our factory. If all goes well, we're aiming to have the Companion Bike Seat Backrest available for purchase sometime this fall, just in time for Interbike!
There was an article in The Wall Street Journal last week about Citi Bike, New York City's bike-share program and the financial woes it's facing after it's first full-year after launching. Citi Bike, Needing Millions of Dollars, Looks for Help implies that without raising more revenues from tourists and short-term riders, the program may face being shut-down due to the tens of millions of dollars it lost last year. Interestingly enough the company isn't seeking public money yet to help cover the short-fall. With almost a hundred thousand annual subscribers to the program, it would be interesting to see how much of usage has come from shifting away from other forms of public transportation, namely buses, cabs, and subway. The article points out that most other public transportation systems are publicly subsidized and operate with losses every year - it would also be interesting to see what the average loss per rider is typically and how Citi Bike compares.
In either case, it is great to see that almost a hundred thousand New Yorkers jumped on-board for annual memberships in the first year alone. Let's hope that people in New York and in cities all over the US see it for all the benefits it brings to the city and find a way to make it a permanent fixture across America. Not only do bike-share programs reduce stress on existing mass transit systems, they also reduce traffic and pollution and increase general health and well-being of the community. It's too bad these benefits are much more difficult to put a dollar value against ... losing tens of millions of dollars last year could actually be saving New York just as much money over the long-term!
We received this note from one of our customers in New York City today and I just had to share it with the world:
Bike commuting in the US is not anywhere near where it is in other countries (particularly in Holland), and this proves that all it takes is a culture-change, and nothing more. We're already well on our way, but we still have a long way to go. Hopefully our bike seats make it that much easier to shift from cars to bikes!
A fan on YouTube earlier today suggested that we use this song to help promote Companion Bike Seats ... love it!
"Daisy, Daisy, give me your answer do! I'm half crazy, all for the love of you! It won't be a stylish marriage, I can't afford a carriage but you'll look sweet upon the seat of a bicycle made for two."
Daisy Bell (A Bicycle Built for Two) was written in 1892 by Harry Dacre and is the earliest known song to use computer speech synthesis. It was recorded and released in 1893 and topped the charts at #1 for nine consecutive weeks! The song is probably most familiar nowadays from a reference in '2001: A Space Odyssey.'
I wonder if they somehow knew that in 2011 we would launch Companion Bike Seats and make "bicycles built for two" a reality?!
Our next shipment of Companion Bike Seats arrives at the Port of Long Beach, CA tomorrow. It will take a couple of days to clear customs and get delivered to us from the port, but we expect to be shipping out bike seat orders again as early as February 20th!