And it is only just September!
Until this year, we’d shown prototype Loopwheels only to people in secret. They said “wow – you’ve got to do this” (or variations on that theme). We didn’t know what the public reaction to our loopwheels would be when we unveiled them for the first time at the Bespoked Bristol show in April. But we’d had an inkling when we were in Nottingham on 4 March to film our Kickstarter video. We’d never shown our Loopwheels bicycle in a really public place before, and Sam had gone to huge lengths to keep them hidden. In fact, it was first thing Monday morning with very few people around. But as Ben Lord, who was to ride the Loopwheels bike in the film, tried it out for the first time, a passer-by stopped, looked and stared. He watched for quite a few minutes, just smiling. He asked us if we’d shown them to Jason Bradbury (the presenter of UK Channel 5’s “The Gadget Show”), and if not, why not.
I knew Sam’s suspension wheel was good, but for me that morning in Nottingham was the moment that I really believed that over four years of work were going to be worth it. Less than 3 months later, we had an email from the production company who make The Gadget Show asking if we’d let them feature it (which they did, in July). I now know that the passer-by’s name is George Dickinson and he runs the Tech Repair Centre in Nottingham, just round the corner from where we were filming. For evermore he has the official title “Number One Fan”. Cheers George!
Getting into production, and into the market
Since the Kickstarter campaign ended in May, we’ve rearranged our workshop from testing and development to become an assembly unit as well. We’ve organised suppliers, bought in and had components made for us, designed assembly jigs, and worked very closely with KG Archery, the company making our springs. We’ve continued testing, testing and more testing so both the front and rear wheels have done many more thousands of miles on the rolling road with the new production components. We’ve worked with a fantastic photographer and web designer called Andrew Smith, from Full Phat Design in nearby Mansfield, to build a Loopwheels website that we can be proud of. We’ve got a brilliant new film shot in Nottingham by Nico Turner, who’s just graduated from De Montfort University this summer. We’ve been in The Sunday Times, on The Gadget Show, on CNN International, in the Nottingham Post and the Newark Advertiser, on Radio Nottingham, and, and, and . . . Wow!
Not everything has gone smoothly, and we’ve had low points as well as highs. But after more than four years of development and planning, then further development and yet more planning, now we are making and selling loopwheels. We’re a long way on from a year ago. Bicycle wheels, and uncomfortable commutes, may never be the same again. What a year!