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The MiBiz Podcast: Transforming Bike Care One Click at a Time

BY Friday, June 24, 2022 01:58pm

With its recent launch, Grand Rapids-based Biked Inc. seeks to make it easier and more convenient for local cyclists to service their bikes.

The app-based company serves as the equivalent to Uber, but for bike service. Bicyclists in Biked’s current service area can use the app to submit service requests for everything from flat tires to tune-ups. The Biked technicians travel to the customer, pick up the bike, bring it back to the shop for servicing before returning it.

The three entrepreneurs behind the venture — Jared Lebel, David Hopson and Alejo Salomon — joined The MiBiz Podcast to chat about their budding business and what they see in the future of biking.

The following are some highlights from the conversation:

On Biked’s business model and why it was needed…

Hopson: “It’s about bringing the bike shop to your front door but it starts via your phone. It's about taking this sort of DoorDash-, Instacart-, Uber-type of concept that we’ve all gotten so used to on the convenience side of things and bringing that to bike service. There are not enough bike shops to cater to the market and it's also a hassle to get your bike to the shop. …It’s an old business model and we’re applying some innovative and digital technologies to better service the customers.”

On how tech is changing the biking — and other — industries…

Hopson: “The makeup of the industry is shifting under our feet. You have a lot of brands going direct to customers, but they haven’t figured out how to solve the service thing. Velofix is one that (example in bike service) that has been growing quite quickly. That is a mobile concept — the shop is in the van. The problem we found with that model is that there is so little universality in bikes. ..It's impossible to carry every part for every bike in a van.”

On the growing market of bicycling…

Salomon: “There is definitely a resurgence in biking. We’re going to see it differently — e-bikes for an example. That’s an upcoming trend that we know is coming. I’ve been fortunate enough to live in 11 cities and 10 countries now. Internationally, it’s a little more mature of a market than there is in the U.S. It’s moving in that direction, though, and we’re seeing that in different cities here, as well.”

On the pandemic fueling the industry…

Hopson: “In 2020, you had this unique set of factors. A lot of gyms were closed, there were less cars on the street so people felt safer going out. From 2019 to 2020, there was 50-percent growth in bike sales in the U.S. So, a lot of people got out and tried biking and they liked it. Studies showing that a significant percentage are sticking with it even after the pandemic restrictions have eased.”

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