D.C. Couple Invents Kid's Seat For Capital Bikeshare, Prompting Bikeshare Objection | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

WAMU 88.5 : News

Filed Under:

D.C. Couple Invents Kid's Seat For Capital Bikeshare, Prompting Bikeshare Objection

The kid's bike seat attaches to the downtube of Capital Bikeshare's hefty red bikes.
Bicycled LLC
The kid's bike seat attaches to the downtube of Capital Bikeshare's hefty red bikes.

Necessity is the mother of invention, and in the case of a Capitol Hill family, the need to get their daughter to and from school spawned a bike accessory that has drawn the ire of Capital Bikeshare, the region's popular bike-sharing network.

Last year, Crispen Wilson created a children's bike seat that easily and quickly attaches to the downtube of Capital Bikeshare's hefty red bikes, allowing him and his wife to ride their six-year-old the 12 blocks to school every day.

"My husband wanted to find a way to be able to bike our daughter to school. In order to find an easy way, he came up with this, went into his workshop, and came out a few hours later with a prototype," explains his wife, Emily.

In the year since it was invented, the seat has attracted attention from other parents, many of whom asked the pair how they could get one themselves. They decided to start producing more of them for sale, with the revenues going to international causes they supported.

"People stopped [Crispen] on the street and asked him for one, and then a few people have bought them, and we thought it would be a fun way to support some humanitarian and conservation causes," says Emily.

Made from recycled parts — including seats purchased from Phoenix Bicycles, an Arlington non-profit that teaches children to fix up and sell bikes — a beta version of the seat sells for between $50 and $80, with all of the proceeds going to groups in Indonesia or Guatemala.

Good causes or not, Capital Bikeshare is not amused by the seat, and earlier this week told Streetsblog that Alta Bicycle Share, the company that operates Capital Bikeshare, had sent the family a cease-and-desist letter. The reason: The seat violates Bikeshare's terms of use.

"[T]he use of the Bicycled Capitol Hill Bikeseat is in violation of two sections of the Capital Bikeshare member agreement which prohibit attachments to the bicycle, as well as the use of the bicycle by more than one rider," explained Eric Gilliland, Bikeshare's general manager, to Streetsblog.

In a phone interview, Gilliland said that while the idea was right, the design wasn't.

"We recognize the demand," he said, noting that with the popularity and growth of the Bikeshare network, addressing family needs was high on the company's list. "We intend to work to see how we could make options like this available to people."

"What they designed is not going to work for us," he added.

Emily says that the couple hasn't yet received the cease-and-desist, and even if they have to put the brakes on the kid's seat, she's happy that Bikeshare is thinking about how to accommodate families.

"Our goal was achieved when we got our daughter to school, but we are pleased that people are discussing how Bikeshare could better serve parents with children," she says.

NPR

Church Of Scientology Calls New HBO Documentary 'Bigoted'

The filmmaker says Going Clear, harshly critical of the Church of Scientology, is about the dangers of "blind faith." The church has hit back with an aggressive public relations effort of its own.
NPR

Think Nobody Wants To Buy Ugly Fruits And Veggies? Think Again

Remember that old movie trope, in which the mousy girl takes off her glasses to reveal she was a beauty all along? A similar scenario is playing out among food waste fighters in the world of produce.
NPR

Amazingly, Congress Actually Got Something Done

The leaders and members must, in a word, compromise. And on this occasion, Speaker John Boehner and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi did just that, with skill and savvy.
NPR

Can Republicans Get Ahead In The 2016 Digital Race?

When Sen. Ted Cruz threw his hat into the ring, it happened first on Twitter. Political news is breaking more and more on social media, and both sides face different challenges in reaching out.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.