A FATHER who was frustrated by the impracticality of walking or cycling to the beach has turned the solution into an expanding business.
Jeremy Davies came upon cargo bikes – electrically powered tricycles with lots of carrying capacity – to get his family to the beach.
“We lived in Ashley Cross and we were getting really annoyed that in the summer, when we tried to go to the beach, it was too far to walk or cycle because we had a dog and a two-year-old daughter,” he said.
“I started making a tricycle where you could get the dog and my kids in front. I ended up buying a trike from China thinking it would be a pile of rubbish, but it wasn’t too bad”.
“I rode that to the beach and I had three people ask me where I got it from and if they could buy one,” he said. He soon began importing similar bikes and customising them.
“From that point I started phasing out my day job and bringing trikes in and adding more and more Dorset-made parts onto it to make sure it was fit for purpose,” he said.
“Since then we’ve sold 18 bikes locally and probably 100 in total. They’ve gone all the way around the UK and overseas.” His business, Velo Electrique, now has the frames fabricated by a company on Willis Way in Poole and spray painted locally before being fitted with off-the-shelf bicycle parts. The business employs two full-time and two part-time staff.
As well as families, the bikes have appealed to people whose children have disabilities and older people who would rather use one than a mobility scooter. One is used on Brownsea Island to sell ice creams.
The bikes run 25 to 30 miles on one charge of a laptop-style battery which Mr Davies said costs just seven pence .
“One of these with a power pack on it will get you up Evening Hill with two kids and a dog,” he said.
A Chinese model imported and rebuilt costs £1,455, while a fully UK-made bike costs £2,055.
Father-of-two Mr Davies, 42, who was previously sales and marketing director for a company manufacturing wind turbines for boats, said the company was selling 10 to 15 bikes a month.
He said: “Our customers pretty much sell them for us. People stop them in the high street and say ‘Where did you get that from?’”
He says he enjoys watching the vehicles turn heads when he is out with his children.