When John Pelkey and Eric Crouch set to work on their senior thesis for Wentworth Institute of Technology, they stuck to a simple concept. Instead of searching for something drastically different, the pair took their experience of driving Boston pedicabs and decided to make it better. They wanted to improve it for themselves and their customers.
The Wentworth grads noticed several flaws in the devices that they maneuvered through traffic. The fiberglass elements cracked easily and the chains slipped and would grind as the bikes changed gears. The pedicabs were also heavy, weighing 175 pounds, which just added to the weight of passengers – sometimes up to two adults and two children at once.
Pelkey and Crouch went on to win Wentworth's first annual Accelerate and Innovate Entrepreneurial Challenge with a prize of $10,000. And now, the two are working to get their idea on the Boston streets with multiple pedicab companies, according to the Boston Globe.
"We realized that these are horrible products, and we thought we could do better," Pelkey said to the news source. "We wanted to design a pedicab that was more reliable, easier to maintain, and lighter weight."
Pelkey and Crouch found a way to make the experience better for themselves, while still adhering to the comfort and needs of customers. A step was put on their new design, to assist riders and more legroom was added. Also, instead of fiberglass in the passenger area, they used fabric wrapped around plastic tubing.
The current asking price per unit is $4,700, which Crouch admits some might find expensive, but explained that the pedicab would pay for itself within two years through less maintainence fees.
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