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Earth Month may be over, but that doesn’t mean our work to save the planet has to stop. We need to continually aspire to live more sustainably. When it comes to sustainable transportation, nothing beats pedal power. Here to provide us with a sustainable transport solution that is friendly to all kinds of users is Feras Bashnak. Feras is the founder and CEO of Ferla Bikes, where they are producing some of the most innovative, technologically advanced, and sustainable commercial bikes and carts in the world. In this episode, Feras sits down with Corinna Bellizzi to talk about electric bikes and their benefits—not just to individual users but also to businesses and entrepreneurs. He shares some of their success stories, the current cargo bike models they are working on, and the impact they are making on people and the environment. Do you find it challenging to pedal uphill? Do you think going sustainable is not very budget-friendly? Do you want to make a splash in your marketing? Tune in to this conversation and discover how Feras’ Ferla Bikes can help you.
Feras Bashnak is the founder and CEO of Ferla Bikes. A serial entrepreneur, Feras was raised in Kazakhstan and began his career in hospitality, earning his bachelor’s degree in Hospitality Management/Administration from IHTTI School of Hotel Management in Switzerland. After working at several world-renowned restaurants and hotels, Feras’ entrepreneurial spirit took over and he launched a successful catering business in Los Angeles. In 2016, Feras’ career path would then take another turn after observing and helping a woman struggling to push a fruit cart up a steep hill. Feras realized then that there had to be a better solution and began developing the prototype for the first Ferla cargo e-bike. Ferla has gone on to become a leading provider of premium electric cargo bikes and, to date, has developed more than 20 different cargo e-bikes/carts for business and personal use.
Guest LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/feras-bashnak-3384b3a6/
Guest Website: https://ferlafamilybikes.com/, https://ferlabikes.com/
Guest Social: https://www.instagram.com/ferlafamilybikes/, https://www.instagram.com/ferlabikes/, https://twitter.com/ferlabikes, https://www.youtube.com/c/ferlabikes, https://www.pinterest.com/ferlabikes/, https://www.pinterest.com/ferlafamilybikes/
Additional Resources Mentioned: https://ferlafamilybikes.com/products/ferla-cargo-bike-longtail, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LKEofjrD31I
03:44 – Feras Bashnak’s Origin Story
Ferla Bikes And Ferla Family Bikes – Now I’ve looked at your bikes online, I’ve seen the family bicycles
11:57 – Creating Affordable Cargo Bikes For All
19:44 – Ferla Bikes’ Anti-Theft System
23:08 – Ferla Lagom Electric Cargo Bike
32:28 – Ferla Bikes’ Carbon Savings
39:03 – Envisioning A Greener And More Sustainable Future
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Ferla Bikes: Pedaling Towards A Greener Future With Feras Bashnak
Sustainable Transportation For Families And Cart-Based Sustainable Entrepreneurship For Every Budget
While we have said goodbye to Earth Month, it’s never time to stop thinking about how we can live a little bit more sustainably. While electric vehicles may be all the rage of late, pedal power is something that we should never forget. It’s a great way to locomote but what if like me, you live on one of the steepest hills in your neighborhood? It might prove a little challenging to get yourself up those hills. Electric bikes are a great way to take care of that challenge.
I‘m going to deepen a discussion about electric bikes and also some interesting solutions that they can pose from a business and entrepreneurial perspective if that’s your jam. Even the fittest of us may think that we can pedal straight up that hill but I have some dear friends now who have an electric bike that lives on my hill, and they say, “I zoom right up that hill now. I can go to the grocery store, do some basic errands, put the kids on the back, pick them up from school, and not deal with those long lines in the pickup.” That’s pretty amazing too. There are many ways that we can choose to modify our lifestyles a little bit to be a little greener each day.
Who do I have joining me? I have Feras Bashnak. He’s the Founder and CEO of Ferla Bikes. He’s a serial entrepreneur. Feras was raised in Kazakhstan. He began his career in hospitality. After working at several world–renowned restaurants and hotels, Feras took hold of that entrepreneurial spirit and launched a successful catering business in Los Angeles.
In 2016, after observing and helping a woman struggle to push a fruit cart up a steep hill, probably much like the one I live on, he was inspired to develop the prototype for the first Ferla cargo eBike. Ferla has gone on to become a leading provider of premium electric cargo bikes, and to date, has developed more than twenty different cargo eBikes, some including carts for both business and personal use. You can customize them and make them yours. Feras, welcome to the show.
Thank you so much. I’m so excited to be here. Kazakhstan is a beautiful country surrounded by mountains. It’s a pretty big country. It’s finished with stan like many other countries like Tajikistan and Uzbekistan but Kazakhstan is located in Central Asia. It’s a country to visit if you like mountains and nature.
I have a friend who takes motorcycle trips through much of Asia. She invites a team of women to come with her each time. They have their adventures. I‘ve tracked some of the beautiful mountain steppes. They have taken some incredible photography and had some crazy adventures off the beaten path in ways that I dream of one day. I hope to join her at some point in the future.
That’s unbelievable. I’ll join too.
Maybe on an eBike. They’re using motorcycles because there isn’t always a spot to charge when you’re getting far out in the steppes and things like that. It’s one of the bucket list items I have out there. Let’s get started with a bit of your origin story. How might growing up in Kazakhstan and heading to Los Angeles to develop your career have influenced this whole ideation behind Ferla eBikes?
I was born in Kazakhstan in a very loving and happy family. My dad is also an immigrant. He moved to the Soviet Union when he was nineteen. He was an extraordinary young man. He came with his luggage and a guitar. That was important for him. He had pretty much no language. My dad is originally from Syria. He came to the Soviet Union. He had to learn the Russian language back then. He had to start all over. He met my mom. Back then, it was not yet Kazakhstan. It was the Soviet Union. The city was called Alma Ata. If you translate that, it’s the city of apples. We have a lot of apples.
They’re very large and juicy. The way they taste is unbelievable. Back to the story, I was born in ’91. I already was born in Kazakhstan. Life was great for me. I’ve been seeing my parents start from scratch from completely nothing. They made it together. For me, this is a great example of people working hard together and making something wonderful out of this. They also started from a little kiosk or a grocery store all the way up to the real estate business. Step by step, working so hard was a perfect example for me of dedication that I had to apply to my businesses, especially to Ferla Bikes. It wasn’t easy when I started. It’s still challenging. That’s the best part that I enjoyed.
When you tell me you were born back in ‘91, I’m thinking, “I was a freshman in high school already,” but as it stands, you’ve accomplished so much in a relatively short time. Even bringing this to market is very complicated. You have to work with so many different people to design the bike, do testing, integrate the right materials, get the battery tested, and ultimately perform the way you need to in order to bring a product to market. Can you tell me a little bit about what that journey was like?
It feels so good for me to remember my journey back then at the moment. Pretty much I didn’t have my personal life at all. Back then, I used to have three businesses that I had to run to keep Ferla up. It was seven days nonstop with no weekends and no friends. It was just work but in the end, it’s worth it. I’m so happy that we came all the way to where we’re at now. I believe the journey was, “You can’t expect to get what you want. You have to be the best and build your success.” That’s what my dad always told me. I had to push. There’s no other way around.
That’s entrepreneurship. Sometimes you hear things like the four-day workweek and think, “There’s a pipe dream.” If you’re trying to get something that’s new off the ground, it can be an all-consuming effort. I‘ve looked at your bikes online. I‘ve seen the family bicycles that you’re promoting too. I‘ve even seen one very similar in my neighborhood that I now suspect might be one of yours. They have bars around the back. There are two seats for their kids.
They go and take the cycle to pick up their kids from school at parking time. Pickup time is a mess at our local elementary school. Everything you can do to try to reduce that load and the amount of time you have to sit there and wait is worthwhile. I‘ve seen them zipping around and having a ball of a time. I‘m impressed by both how fast the cycles are and silent and what a joy the entire family seems to have on them.
You have two websites. You have Ferla Family Bikes, which showcases all these cycles similar to the ones I’ve described, which almost can serve like a tandem without pedals for your kids to ride along, and then the cargo bikes. Talk to me about how you designed your business to create these two separate arms and what problems you’re working to solve with them.
To add to your story about the parking, the kids also feel privileged to ride the bike in front of the entrance where you can’t drive your car there. They feel like, “I’m a special one.” It’s funny they love it. We have so many stories. Even when it’s rainy days, they’re saying, “I’m not going to take the car, Mom. We should take the bike. Put your cover on. If you want me to go to the school, we have to take the bike.” That’s something that makes me smile. It’s great.
My husband was an all–weather motorcyclist for a long time. You have those onesies with armor that you wear on a motorcycle but you can have a rain suit that you wear on something like a bicycle like that. I know all–weather riders who have scooters. They’re making that transition now. You’ve created a solution that can serve a family but you also are working to solve this problem of a woman trying to get this cart up a hill and provide entrepreneurs with access to something that they could create their business with.
I‘ve seen things like coffee carts, even mobile shoe shines, and all sorts of businesses that can operate on something like this. A recent trend that I’ve seen is people doing cocktail carts even at local weddings where they could do something like this or use a tool like Ferla Bikes for that. What is the most innovative use of your cargo bikes that you’ve seen?
My venture started with commercial cargo bikes and carts, and then we jumped into the family solutions. To answer your question, the most innovative cart that we ever designed was something that we never expected to do. We have designed a bike that could serve as a stationary option for COVID testing. We never thought about having a refrigeration/freezer system on board that perfectly worked out for them. They wanted something that can serve as a COVID station built for them.
It was shocking for me. We have so many different ideas that we have built so far from the cocktail cart to a shoe company to greeting cards all the way to coffee and ice cream. We have built so many solutions that we don’t even know where to focus now. We have so many different ideas that the customers are bringing to us on a daily basis.
That’s another challenge for us, and here’s why probably we have so many different models to accommodate every possible aspect of the business. The idea of Ferla was pretty simple. I always want to do something meaningful and impactful for others. That was the best solution for me back then. I created a car for myself and then distributed to society something very affordable and eco-friendly. That was the key point.
I’m looking at FerlaBikes.com. You have some beautiful carts. I imagine that as you develop these, you’re working in concert with the individual to create solutions that they’re going to own and be proud of. In this instance, it appears you’re working with a florist. You have a beautiful bike with this spring seat, which seems super classic, and a beautiful cart attached that has two wheels on either side of it. It’s able to stand fixed without a kickstand. It looks beautiful. It’s got this incredible display ability and then also an awning at the top. The person here is not going to worry about getting sunburned and can deal with being out there in misty weather in the Pacific Northwest or hot summer days as well.
You have so many different options. You have quotes here that you can get by navigating through your website. I found in perusing it that it‘s fodder for ideas if somebody is out there and saying, “I‘ve been thinking about trying something on my own. Maybe I’ll employ someone to work the cart, invest in this, and see if I can turn it into something.” What success stories have you heard thus far from your customer base?
It’s a good entry point. If you want eventually to go and open your brick-and-mortar location like a coffee shop, you need a lot of resources like experience, financial resources, and so on. This is a good entry point. I’m glad to say that we have a bunch of successful cases. One of the cases I always like to bring up is the couple from San Diego, Donut, Hello. They do events and catering. They have a donut machine placed on our bike. It’s brought them so much success. They inquired to purchase another cart. They’re growing. They’re completely booked for the season of weddings and corporate events. They’re doing extremely successful. The last time I saw them, they had already more than ten people employed. It’s working for them. It’s great for sure.
If somebody is thinking about starting an entrepreneurial venture, and they’re investing in something like one of these carts, how much can they expect to spend if they’re starting with a basic overall design to get started versus something where they might have a little bit more funds?
The idea behind Ferla was to create a very affordable product pretty much for everyone. You can get our bike for as low as $3,000 fully equipped with storage wheels and a canopy all the way to $12,000 where we will equip you with some equipment like brewery equipment, a cold brew station, a refrigerator unit, solar panels, and even a hand-wash sink. The sky is the limit. We can do anything you want. The good thing is $3,000 is not even the price you pay.The idea behind Ferla was to create a very affordable product for everyone. Click To Tweet
I was building a standard family eBike on your site. That’s around what most eBikes start at these days. They start at around $3,000. For you to tell me a cargo bike that could enable you to even start a business could start as low as that is shocking.
That was the whole idea behind it. Opening a brick-and-mortar location is insane. Young people can’t think about this. It’s so expensive. The rent, the payrolls, the taxes, and the licensing are outrageous. The second alternative was a food truck business but a good solid used food truck costs around $100,000.
You can buy a complete beater for half that but then you have to put so much work into it that you end up spending close to $100,000.
That was the idea. It had to be something. I was lucky enough to bring that concept first to the United States. To be honest, it was difficult to prove the concept that there is a solution. If you want to be in the food and beverage business, it sounds expensive and complicated but you have a solution to try. It won’t hurt to spend $3,000 to $5,000, try out your business concept, see if it works, and see if you can scale it. It’s a good scale machine indeed.
Frankly, I’m also looking at this and saying, “What better way to even build out something like a trade show booth where you’re trying to create some excitement.” Trade show booths can be incredibly expensive. I‘ve worked in the field of consumer products and goods for a long time now. A company will drop $20,000 on a single booth and it’s not that dynamic or interesting.
If you imagine integrating something like this within that and then having this mobile branding device, it’s valuable. There’s value to that. Thinking back also to the days when Red Bull had those little minis. They would drive around with the Red Bull can on top as their mini demonstration. They would get in front of any business that might make sense to do a demo around and have this branding billboard around their product hand out samples and things like that.
If you’re talking about something as low as a $3,000 to $5,000 price point that’s an electric bicycle, so it’s more eco-friendly and that provides for the storage that you need to be able to do these sorts of sampling events and also work as an attention grabber, then you have something that has the potential to disrupt even how we think about constructing our branding machines for businesses. Even if it’s not like, “This is my first step into retail,” this could be something that’s your first step at branding in a disruptive way in a particular market where you could ride it from event to event. This is pretty amazing. I’m shocked at the price.
That’s what scaled us. We got a lot of inquiries throughout all these years from corporate clients such as Cisco Corporation. They did a massive trade show and used our bike. Tiffany & Co still prefer our pushcart at their headquarters location in Rodeo Drive, Beverly Hills. They opened up a cafe there. For marketing purposes, this is the best tool that you can find nowadays, especially for all experiential marketing agencies where they want to deliver the product directly to consumers in a very creative and different way rather than having a six-foot table and no one will pay attention. You have a beautiful cart that people are curious about, “What is this? It’s a bike. Let me check it out. It’s incredible.” That’s usually the reaction we get, “What is this? Did you put an espresso machine on the bike?”
You’re like, “We did. Do you want a kombucha bar? We have that too.“
We love kombucha.
As we think about electric bikes, one of the things that has personally kept me from investing in and buying one for the family like one of your Ferla Family Bikes where you would have a couple of seats in the back for the kids is a concern around theft. I live in the Santa Cruz area. If I was to leave it parked out front of a health food store while I went in to shop as a quick little jaunt, I would be concerned that I might come back to an empty space where I left my bicycle and these few thousand dollars of investment as well as my two kids in tow who I no longer have the ability to get home with. Are there any particular abatement issues or things that you’ve done with Ferla Bikes that can help prevent something like that? Do you have any statistics that you might be able to share?
It’s a global issue. Society requires a fresh direction. People do crazy things nowadays. They steal bikes. They break up the car. It happened to me a few times already. I’m like, “What’s going on?” However, we thought about this. It’s an expensive item and an investment. You’re right. A lot of people consider this a second vehicle transportation for their family. We have a lot of customers. They do sell their car to get our bike. For them, it’s a straight trade. It is like stealing a car. We thought about this and partnered with a number one brand for locks called Kryptonite Locks. Their higher-end model, and it’s not that expensive, covers your equipment, your bike, or your personal belongings up to $5,000.Society requires a fresh direction. People do crazy things nowadays. Click To Tweet
It‘s like insurance in a way.
It’s like insurance. Picture this. You come to their parking lot or any location where you left the bike locked and you see that heavy-duty chain completely broken, then you take the invoice to them and they reimburse you. In a way, this is their marketing strategy to showcase how strong their locks are. It’s impossible to break easily. They will have to have heavy-duty machines. They’re willing to cover and reimburse you.
We probably had only 1 or 2 cases so far where someone reached out to us and said, “My bike got stolen. We left it as is without the lock. Here’s the serial number. If anyone wants to sell it back to you, let us know.” We controlled that. We have a serial number for every single cargo bike that we sell for families. It’s super important that we keep them on track.
Our design is very unique, so you can’t sell it anywhere else or sell it in parts. It’s so uniquely designed that it has to be specifically for that bike. For that same reason, people find stolen bikes easily. It usually goes out the same day or the next day to marketplaces. People are able to locate, show up, and get their bikes back, which is fortunate.
There are many options when it comes to electric bikes these days. Many of them are mountain bikes, and then you have some family or around–town cruisers and things like that but this one looks almost like a hybrid to me between what a moped might have been and a cycle around town. Also, with the durability of what I might expect to see with a mountain bike because I’m seeing a front shock on this thing too. It’s this mix of different things that can help people get around town and envision it in their daily lives. I was looking at the Lagom Electric Cargo Bike. I’m seeing too that you have a 140–mile range if you get the two battery packs, which seems like that would be very utilitarian.
I know that if you live in a hilly neighborhood, you’re going to use more of that juice because we’re talking probably about the best–case scenario if you’re on flatland but I’ve seen these cycles have no trouble getting uphill. If you’re telling me that this is a fairly unique look, I know one of my neighbors has one because it’s exactly this look. They have this cycle with a cage around the outer edge of the back seats where they have two for their kids.
For anyone interested in taking a peek at this, go to FerlaFamilyBikes.com. You can see a gentleman riding this Ferla eBike with his two kids in the back showcased there. It looks like a fairly safe way to transport children too with the fact that there’s even this bar that you can have around the outer edge so that if you were to tip over, they’re protected from the side as well as from the helmets and the seats themselves. It’s a beautiful design. It looks utilitarian. I might have to knock on my neighbor’s door and ask them if I can borrow their bike to try around town.
You explain it very well. Thank you so much for that. This is our newest model so far. We are extremely proud. We have been working for almost a year to develop this product. It’s very innovative. We use a carbon fiber belt. There’s no more chain and no more grease. It’s 100% quiet. You don’t even hear any noise. With a dual battery system, it’s the longest in the industry. The range is pretty impressive. We showcased that you can ride from Los Angeles to San Diego at one charge. We put in a lot of effort. It’s a custom-design motor. It’s a mid-engine motor by Ferla.
The whole idea behind Lagom was to offer a portability solution. It’s so easy to store. You can bring this bike to the elevator. You can stand it up. You can store it inside the apartment and in limited-access areas. That was the goal for us. We still want to bring that joy and solution for family urban mobility transportation. That’s what we had to achieve. This is the bike called a long-tail cargo bike. You can still fit up to two kids in the back. You can use it for so many different uses. It can be for a last-mile delivery service. You can bring your girlfriend, wife, or husband. It’s an impressive bike. We invite you to come and test drive one if your neighbor will say no.We still want to bring that joy and solution to family transportation and urban mobility transportation. Click To Tweet
I love the stories that you’re working to tell. I also appreciate that you’re working to make something that can be quite expensive and more affordable. I‘m personally a little bit more comfortable doing something like buying an eBike, knowing that there’s an option of having that $5,000 protection from somebody like Kryptonite. I didn’t know that was possible, frankly, and seeing how much joy one of my neighbors has riding this thing around town. I‘ve been looking at ways to further reduce my carbon imprint but even as a skilled mountain biker, I’m not braving biking up my hill at the end of going to get groceries. All of my around-town work is done with a gas–fueled vehicle. It’s something I‘m getting ready to make the leap on.
You have the ability to customize the back end of this Ferla Lagom Electric Cargo Bike, which is the one I’m in love with. I‘m going to stay focused on that one. In the section in the back, you can put either two seats on, or it can have a long bench seat or this cargo rack. Are these things easily interchangeable? Do you see people doing things like, “We have the long bench seat but we can stack these things on. They snap in place. We’re able to keep both of them connected,” or is it something where you have to remove one and add the other back?
We designed the Lagom as a modeler-based design. It’s a plug-and-play solution. You can easily put on a long bench or a short bench in ten seconds. It’s a plug-and-play accessory that you can change at any certain time. If you need to go in the groceries, you can put the basket on. It requires four attachments, and you are good to go. If you want to bring your kids for rides to school, it’s pretty much a clip-on solution.
Where’s your local shop? I‘m in Santa Cruz. I want to go and check these out in person. I want to bring my kids and my husband and make an event of it. It will be like going to see an animal if I say to my kids, “Do you want to look at a puppy? You better believe we’re coming home with it.“
We’re located in Azusa, a city surrounded by mountains. I personally love mountains. We have a beautiful bike path along the river. We invite you to visit our store. We will prepare two Lagom cargo bikes so you can enjoy them together with your husband.
Where is Azusa?
Azusa is not too far away from Pasadena.
That’s Southern California.
It’s about fifteen minutes away. It’s located in the San Gabriel Mountains area.
Do you have other bike shops where you’re able to go and check these out at the present time? Are you mostly working out of that single location?
We are a direct-to-consumer brand. The goal behind a direct-to-consumer type of business is to provide the best price possible so we can cut those fees without giving them away to dealers and other resellers. In that case, we can focus on quality products at a lower price.
This is how you can do the cargo piece for $3,000 on the low end.
That’s the only way. That’s our mission. The mission was always to do something good for society and not so much focusing on making money at first. The only way we could achieve that is to build everything in-house and distribute that directly to our clients. You asked a very good question. The Ferla Bikes company is growing. We’re thinking to open a couple of occasions. One will be in Miami, Florida. Another location we’re thinking of is New York. These are the two locations where we get a lot of requests and orders. That’s our market at the moment.
You have sold me on wanting one of these but also because I’ve seen my neighbor. They are not directly next door but I take a loop around my hilly neighborhood every day with my dog. She gets her exercise and I get some of mine. I‘ve seen her piling the kids on and going to school. They get right on that thing. There’s no hesitation in the way I try to get my kids out the door and into their car seats in the car sometimes. It‘s obvious to me they love it.
Imagine bringing your kids to Six Flags every single day. This is what it feels like. It’s a rollercoaster. It’s the speed, the wind, and all this together. It’s a combination of joy and fun. This is why they only want to ride a bike. It’s fun.
They run to get on the thing. That’s incredible.
We offer financing. Nowadays, it’s important to spend money in a very smart way. It’s up to twelve months with zero interest. That can’t hurt.
I’m curious if you have any statistics for the carbon savings that your company has created thus far.
We did that statistic. The huge contrast was in the business field. For example, Starbucks had a high proportion of GHG emissions. It was 1,300,000 metrics. With us, it’s nothing. We don’t bring any CO2. We don’t distribute anything. Our bikes run only on the sun and body power. We use solar energy to generate electricity for our carts. We have no impact on emissions. We don’t use any generators. That’s cool. That’s another thing we’re proud of at Ferla Bikes.
Those business–oriented bikes are powered by solar. Is that solar incorporated into the awnings that you put on them?
It’s on top of the awning. Picture an RV type of design where on the roof, you have a solar panel to contribute energy and generate power for your RV. The same thing goes for our bikes.
Is there an option to do something like that on your family cargo bikes?
In the future, I would say so but the cargo bikes don’t require much energy. You don’t need to power any equipment. You don’t need to power refrigeration units. You don’t need to use it for business. We sometimes see that our families only charge once a week and use it daily. It depends on the distance you go but it’s very convenient. You park your bike and it’s like charging your computer, laptop, or cell phone. It’s become normal. That’s how easy it is to charge the bike. For now, we don’t have any needs but that’s the future. If we can make it something even more sustainable so you don’t even have to use your home power for it, that would be great.
I took an adventure to a local fanatic cycle builder in Santa Cruz County. His name is Craig Calfee. He makes bicycles out of bamboo. He’s moving away from even using steel or metal to create his bicycles. He refurbishes some of Zero Motorcycles‘ electric batteries for some of the pieces that he’s building. He created one bicycle that was tandem made of bamboo with an awning that is solar powered for you specifically at Burning Man as an example. People would go out into the desert and have this electric bike in the middle of nowhere that could be used time and again for something like this.
It got me thinking about some of the other reasons that people might say, “I don’t know if I want to go on a very long cycle ride. It’s hot out. I might get sunburned.” I’m not saying that everybody would want this but what if there was an option to create something that would connect on even the Family Bike and provide a little bit of shade? It’s cool. It becomes something that you could use for cycling trips up the Pacific Coast Highway from Southern California all the way to Washington.
We brought our bikes to Burning Man in 2022 and had a phenomenal experience. People were taking pictures and asking to give them a ride. It was an amazing experience. They survived. Nothing happened to them. The roads are pretty harsh there but that’s something I would love to have. We have a shade created for our cargo bikes but if we can incorporate the solar panel, you gave me another idea to work on. I’m now thinking about Burning Man where you have a limitation on where to charge the bikes. That’s an amazing idea.
I’m thinking about camping, road trips, and all sorts of things. I got the opportunity to meet with Craig Calfee and discover what he’s doing with solar–powered bamboo bikes. What I have to say is there are some people who are so fanatical in this space that they’re open to collaboration and idea-sharing because they’re all in this for the mission of creating a more sustainable future together.
Making a little introduction between you, Feras, and also Craig would be phenomenal because who knows what might come up with something like this? Furthermore, if we’re all working together to create a more sustainable future in which we aren’t so worried about what’s being put up into the atmosphere and we can start to focus on having quality lives, breathing fresh clean air, and not experiencing these ravages of climate change, then we’re in a much better spot. I have one final question for you. Can I make an introduction to Craig? I‘m hoping the answer is yes.
Please, Corinna. Thank you so much for that. I would love to meet Craig because it’s so hard to find urban mobility specialists nowadays but that niche is growing like crazy. I would love to see him and even to have a little conversation.
When the travels bring you to Northern California, perhaps you can meet me there and we can sit down with Craig and have a meal. Who knows? It‘s one of those things where I feel like serendipity often serves us and the fact that I got tapped on the shoulder by a friend who told me about Craig Calfee and what he’s doing out there. There was an individual doing a tour to raise funds specifically for climate change and raise awareness around all these issues.
I‘m going to be doing a deep dive into that discussion at a later date in a future show. It feels like it will connect back to this one well. I also have some videos to share, which I’m planning to put out into the world through social media of the bikes that they have, how creative they have been, and the history around what it would take to build something unique and different. Ultimately get people thinking about electrical solutions from gasoline and reduces our reliance on these petrochemicals to create something completely new, exciting, disruptive, and beautiful.
That leads to the last question. I want to know how you envision the future. What is your hope for a greener and more sustainable future?
My hope is that people will respect nature and treat nature in a better way by simply walking on a hiking path. I hope that people will treat nature as they would treat their kids or their mothers. I like hiking. Everywhere I go and travel, I try to hit the trails. Unfortunately, I see that people more and more are throwing plastic bottles. I usually try to take an extra backpack or a space in my backpack. It depends on where I go. I do collect the trash everywhere I go. I hope that people, in any way possible, either get an electric bike or an electric car to start taking care of our beautiful nature. People come and go but nature stays here. I consider myself a guest on this beautiful planet. I should respect being a guest of this beautiful nature.
Feras, thank you so much. That was beautiful.
Thank you. I appreciate you too.
You’re a man after my heart because every time I go out on the trail, I also bring those collapsible grocery bags that become a little ball. I put it on my key chain and go. I have found some incredibly strange things in the woods that get blown there or drift with the water. It’s part of the stewardship of our environment to take pride in the green and open spaces around us and to ultimately try to make it a little bit better each day. Thank you for everything you’re doing.
Thank you, Corinna, as well. Especially nowadays, you see all these blooms. We are so blessed that in 2023, we had enough water. I’m seeing all these blooms and greeneries. Watching plastic around is not right. We have to improve. We have to do our job better.
What a treat. Who doesn’t want to go on a hike with Feras? Who doesn’t want to try one of these bikes out in their local neighborhood? I will have to use this as an opportunity to knock on my neighbor’s door and ask them if I can please borrow their bicycle for a jaunt around our small neighborhood. I want to experience the wind in my hair and see how my kids would like it too. Spending a few thousand dollars to save on gas and insurance on my car because I’ll be driving less sounds like a good investment and an enjoyable one. It’s one that builds memories and experience.
If it was twenty years earlier, I might be getting one of those cargo carts to start a coffee business because that was my pipe dream shortly after I exited college. These days, I’m committed to a lot more in different ways but I love what they have to offer. If you have gumption, a desire, and an idea that connects well with this, you should check it out. Visit FerlaFamilyBikes.com if you’re interested in Family Bike options and FerlaBikes.com for those cargo–oriented business cart bikes.
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If you have feedback for the show, a future guest that you might want to suggest, or a topic that you would like to see us cover, please reach out to me. You can even leave me a voicemail icon by clicking the microphone icon in the bottom right–hand corner. I would love to hear your voice. I‘m using mine for good. That‘s what this show is all about. I don’t do it for money or fame. I do it to make a difference. It’s my way of giving back.
I want to thank you now and always for being a part of this community because together, through collaboration, idea sharing, and working to make the world a better space, we can do so much more. We can care more. We can be better. We can even harness our personal pedal power and the power of the energy from the sun to transport ourselves and our lives with an eBike from Ferla Bikes. Thank you.
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