Even though we did not hit our Kickstarter funding goal, it was still a great month for Social Bicycles. We received amazing press coverage, picked up our prototype bike frame, and found a few new potential investors and operating partners. SoBi will keep on rolling with an SBA loan and we are close to securing additional funding that will help us bring this product to market.
Thanks for your support and please continue to follow our progress at www.socialbicycles.com and facebook.com/socialbicycles. We are committed to bringing you the world's most affordable and scalable bike share system, and are still on track for demos this fall and pilots next spring!
We need your help to introduce a flexible, scalable, and affordable bike sharing system that makes cycling more accessible and interactive.
Over the last few years, bike sharing has spread across the world and become a new transportation alternative in cities such as Paris, London, Washington DC, Montreal, and Denver. Unfortunately, these station-based systems require a large investment in infrastructure and typically cost between $4000-$5000 per bicycle to install. Our goal is to use mobile technology to create a solution that works with regular bike racks and dramatically lowers the cost of bike share systems.
What is a Social Bicycle?
We are building the world's first bicycle with an on-board computer, mobile communications, and integrated GPS-enabled lock. Social Cyclists will be able to find and unlock bikes using their mobile phones, or unlock them by entering their account information into the keypad on the lockbox.
Data collection and visualization
Not only is our approach more affordable and convenient, it allows for more comprehensive collection and analysis of bike trip data. Users will be able to view and share personal maps and statistics, and city planners can aggregate this data to improve the bike lane network. There have already been some amazing data visualizations to come out of traditional bike share systems (see below). Can you imagine what could be produced with the real-time GPS location of every bike? We can even add additional sensors to track noise and air pollution!
From prototype to production-ready design
Over the last year, our team of industrial designers, engineers, and software developers have built a working prototype of the lock attachment. We've spent the last 6 months redesigning the product and integrating the lock into our own custom bike frame.
This streamlined design increases security and greatly reduces the cost and weight. In addition to the GPS-enabled lock, our bike features:
* A shaft drive transmission - no chain to maintain!
* 3 speed Shimano hub
* Adjustable but non-removable seat
* Integrated lighting
* Hub dynamo and a 2W 6V solar panel provided by Voltaic Systems to provide power to electronics and lights.
We are on Kickstarter to take this design into production. We need funding to produce the molds for our injection molded parts and extruded housing. We also need funding to finish our PCB board design/fabrication and software engineering.
Pilot programs and system launch
Any money that we raise above our goal will be put toward our first pilot programs. We are building a pilot fleet of 60 bikes to be completed by the end of this year and expect commercial systems to launch early in 2012. The bikes will be sold to independent operators at a wide range of scales and even directly to consumers that want to create peer-to-peer networks.
We have had serious interest from cities and universities all over the world, including places like San Francisco-CA, Portland-OR, Bloomington-IN, and Buffalo-NY. We're excited to get the bikes out on the street and test them out in the real world!
Thank you so much for your support. Your contribution to this project can
potentially have global impact on public health and the environment. If you pledge $50 or more, we'll send a Social Bicycles t-shirt designed by Bob Jordan. This shirt features a QR code on the back which will allow you to see a 3D model of our bike through the daqri AR iPhone application.