Pharos-Tribune

State News

January 17, 2014

Inventor hopes Bike Zeppelin takes off

(Continued)

“One ride will convince you,” he said.

When he rides the Land Zeppelin in the rain, Gorman said it feels as though he is cheating the weather.

When the drops rattle on the plastic, Gorman said, it gives him “that cozy feeling of being in a tent.”

“Rain is a blast,” he said.

The device can be removed from any bike within about two minutes, Gorman said, to return the bike near its original state.

Cycling enthusiast Matthew Battin, who co-owns The Bicycle Station in Columbus, said the device might help cyclists who normally would have to skip riding when it rains.

“I think it would serve a good purpose,” Battin said, though he said he will probably continue to wear just rain gear.

Battin rode an early prototype.

“It was pretty cool,” he said.

Mark Keillor, Gorman’s business partner on the Land Zeppelin, said that many cities across the U.S. are encouraging residents to commute by bike, to ease traffic congestion and for the health benefits.

Keillor, a semi-retired social scientist and tinkerer, said he got involved in the project late last summer, shortly after Gorman had filed for the provisional patent.

While material costs to create the Land Zeppelin are only in the hundreds of dollars, Gorman and Keillor estimate that they have put more than $40,000 worth of their time into the project. Gorman left his job at Goodwill for a while to focus all his efforts on his creation — though he has since returned to Goodwill.

The Land Zepplin is projected to cost about $650, and the inventor envisions a kit that can be assembled by the cyclists at home. And bike shops probably will assemble some of them and sell them as sets with the bike.

Gorman said that worldwide, 130 million bikes are sold every year, and about 10 percent are serious bikers and/or commuters. He figures that he can generate significant revenues if he can sell the Land Zeppelin to just 1 percent of serious cyclists.

Gorman said next steps will include finding more investors and making 10 Land Zeppelins to display them at trade shows and to allow beta-testing, which will include giving the devices to cycling enthusiasts to have them test it in real-world applications and to seek their input.

And, he said, he also plans to market the device in the growing market of electric bikes.

Contact: Boris Ladwig 812-663-3111 x7401; boris.ladwig@greensburgdailynews.com

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