Over the last year Movemint Bike Cab has manufactured and installed canopies for all of its pedicabs. While this may seem like a no-brainer, this is not true for other Austin pedicab shops. We have looked at it as an insurance policy for us and our riders.
The alternatives to not having a functional canopies 1) is for the rider to not use one and work in the wet with reduced passenger comfort, 2) for each rider that wants one to create a makeshift canopy (they do not store efficiently in our tight space when the bikes are put away at the end of a shift) 3) or to not work at all during the rain. Given the monsoon of a May that we have had this year, the alternatives to not having these canopies would be untenable for us.
We had the following design goals in mind when we created our canopies:
- To give enough coverage for a moderate rain,with out making the passenger cabin feel claustrophobic.
- Be able to fold down quickly and easily.
- Be able to stay on the bike when in a folded down position reducing wind resistance when they are not needed.
- Be able to come off, and go on with few, if any tools.
- To be able to be used on any of the model of pedicab they were built to fit with out having to to make modifications or customizations.
- To not cover up customer advertising graphics.
- To be able to stay on the bikes when they are stored away in a vertical position at the end of a shift.
- To look good.
- To Give plenty of room in the passenger compartment.
In this design exercise, many of the goals were contradictory. We had to balance the needs of our operators, our passengers, and the company owners. As with any design process, how well you find the middle ground between the various competing and contradictory goals is how your solution will be judged. If you fail to address one or more of the design goals, or worse yet, fail to correctly identify them your solution may be rejected. So far most of our riders and passengers have liked them. We have found them to be easy to work with when they are stored on the bike.
We did not predict the weather when we built them, but were glad to have them for SXSW and during this last month. Our riders have benefited from being able to work more. We have benefited from our riders being able to pay us. Our passengers have benefited from being more comfortable in rainy weather. Having a canopy for each bike is just one more reason that Movemint is the best company to work for in Austin.