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We are proposing shared e-motors for shared bikes. Delivered via a network of easily accessible vending machines, as on-demand upgrades.

Photo of Somnath Ray
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Written by

I love biking to work, except for the 5-8 min uphill stretch on my way back home. Every evening I see the bikers on that route agonizing to themselves (including me) over all the effort & pain of that hill, in what is otherwise a very pleasant part of our day. 

Biking is the best urban mobility solution for the 10-35 min commute and yet only 2% of daily commuters bike to work. Our research reveals an addressable market >5M riders in the top 10 bike-friendly cities in the U.S who would bike to work everyday if key barriers of effort and safety were addressed. 

We realize that the solution to this problem has to be nuanced and should apply to the widest possible demographic of urban commuters. The solution must be portable and lightweight so it can be easily detached after every use and taken along so it can’t be stolen, modular and inexpensive so a person who doesn’t own a bike or has a complicated inter-modal commute can bring it along to use it on shared bikes; or just rent it from a vending machine. 

Describe who will use your solution (1,000 characters)

As an Urban commuter in the city you will be able to easily attach a CLIP to your shared bike to commute to work. Upon arriving, park the bike, detach your e-motor device and bring it to recharge in your office for the return commute. OR return it to a vending machine to recharge. As a Tourist, you could use CLIP on any shared biked and use it through the day to explore the city better and further and return CLIP back to a vending machine at the end of the day.

Describe your solution's stage of development

  • Prototype - you have built a prototype and tested it with potential users

Tell us about your team or organization (500 characters)

CLIP is Clement and Som. We are brothers (in-law) sharing a passion for bikes. We started conversations around portable e-motor design as a solution to accelerating urban bike commuting & formally researched market viability before starting full-time in March2018. Our roles are clear. Som brings expertise on design & tech and Clem brings his experience in operations & deployment Above all we share a common vision to make biking, the best option for every urban commuter.

Size of your team or organization

  • 2-10

Funding Request

  • $100,000

Describe how you would pilot your idea (1000 characters)

We will conduct a limited pilot with smaller vending machines (~upto 40 CLIPS and 8 vending machines) and partner with NextBike's Healthy ride Bikeshare network in the Downtown section of Pittsburgh. We will rent CLIPs for $1.50 for an hour ride. And $1.00 for an hour ride if its returned fully charged to the vending machine. Because bike-share companies have a sole focus on increasing their membership numbers, CLIP can give them the advantage to do so without any additional operational or set-up expense. It would be an unnecessary cost for bike-share companies to spend money and resources for a system-wide upgrade that they could enable access for free. By positioning and offering CLIP as a third-party on-demand upgrade for existing bike-share companies, we let the bike-share companies keep their focus on their existing business model and cost structure and yet gain in membership as more urban commuters begin to use bike-share by using CLIP.

Describe how you would measure the success of your pilot (1000 characters)

Pittsburgh has seen the largest jump in Bike commuters in the U.S than any other city. As a bike friendly city, its the perfect place to pilot CLIP. An important metric for us would be to measure this next quantum leap, bike adoption can take in a bike friendly city like Pittsburgh if everyone has access to CLIP and can easily transform all of their traditional bikes (own or shared) into e-bikes instantly. Another equally important and related metric in the first 6 months would be the amount of reduction in car-dependency, accessibility to CLIP can encourage.

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Join the conversation:

Photo of Diana Avart

Hi Somnath Ray ,

Thanks so much for submitting this idea! Hills are a huge issue for bikers here in Pittsburgh so this came up a lot at our local working sessions. While mutlimodal workarounds, escalators of sorts, and other ideas for getting bikes uphill more easily were discussed, they all became very complicated very quickly. I love the simplicity of this and how it would be able to be integrated with the already existing Healthy Ride bikes!

-Diana, Facilitator

Photo of Somnath Ray

That's so great to hear Diana ! Looking forward to working with your team + Pittsburgh on this.