One bike at a time...check out the article from the Asheville Citizen Times!
July 11, 2010
Melon Bicycles: Asheville Area Business Changing The World One Bike At A Time
By Mike McWilliams
A local company wants to make people healthier and the Earth cleaner one bicycle at a time. Melon Bicycles, which is headquartered at Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College's SmallBusiness Incubator in Candler, already has teamed up with companies like Chick-fil-A and CNN topromote health and wellness among employees.
The company was founded in 2008 by Loran Evans. Melon has developed a new program specificallyfor corporate campuses, universities and municipalities, featuring its folding bike model, the Slice. InApril, Atlanta-based Chick-fil-A launched its first bike-sharing program at the company's headquarters.The program launched with Melon bicycles at two stations on the campus.
“Folding bicycles offer more options in regard to storage and transport than regular full-sized bikes," Evans said.
Recently, Melon Bicycles also partnered with the Turner Athletic Club, the corporate fitness center ofemployees of Turner Broadcasting System and CNN, to provide bicycles for their employees.
The company also has commitments from four other companies in places, including Asheville,Research Triangle Park and Atlanta, said Holly Colson, Melon's director of sales and marketing.
“Obviously, our goal is just getting more people on bikes,” Colson said. “It solves so many problemsthat we have out there today. Obesity is a huge factor … so between that and what's going on withthe environment and global warming, it's killing two birds with one stone in a simple, simple way.”
Melon has one model for sale, the Slice, and almost 10 prototypes in the works, Colson said. The Slice can be folded in 15 seconds and can fit into a shoulder bag when not on the road. Although the bike looks small, it can accommodate riders between 4 feet 8 inches and 6 feet 3 inches tall.
“You get one bike and just by raising and lowering the seat, a lot of different people can ride it,” Colson said.
The bicycle, which costs $499, also features eight gears enabling the rider to go fast or spin in the“granny gear” up hills. It weighs about 25 pounds.
“(Folding bike) technology has been out there for a while,” Colson said. “They're huge in the UK, they're huge in Asia, but America is a little slow to catch on. I would say Raleigh has really grabbed onto the idea, and in Maryland and the Washington D.C. area, there has been a lot of activity there as well.”
Besides commuting to and from work, Colson said the folding bike is ideal for apartment dwellers with limited storage space, folks with recreational vehicles and those in the aviation business.
Melon Bicycles has 36 dealers nationwide and is working on expanding that network.“We're not only working with bike shops but also quite a few Segway dealers,” Colson said. “There's an interesting connection between us and the alternative transportation industry.”
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