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T.J. and Mark Goettsch started Flagler’s Motorcycle Safety Foundation in 2004. They have lived in Flagler since 1993.
Palm Coast Wednesday, Sep. 7, 2011 9 years ago

Flagler's incubator business finds footing

by: Mike Cavaliere Multimedia Director

The owners of Rider Performance, held a workshop Sept. 1 to showcase their electric bike technology.

T.J. Goettsch was enjoying a leisurely bike ride when a Doberman pinscher left its lawn to eat her. She pedaled harder, faster, but the dog was gaining. Goettsch almost panicked; then she remembered she was on an electric bike. She hit the throttle, and the only thing left for the pooch to devour was her dust.

At the beginning of the year, T.J. and her husband, Mark Goettsch, were chosen from 12 entries to begin the Flagler Small Business Incubator program, by submitting a business plan for electric bike distribution. They were given office space at 1 Corporate Drive, free of charge, in hopes that by December, they could stand alone as a new and self-sustaining company.

“To create jobs — that’s the whole goal,” Mark Goettsch said.

Inching closer toward the end of their incubator year, the two held their first Awareness Workshop Thursday, Sept. 1, to present their product — a three-phase electrically pedal-assisted bicycle, or “e-bike” — to the public, and to gauge demand.

“This is our goal, our dream,” T.J. Goettsch said. “We just love working together. We’re born-again entrepreneurs.”

Mark used to work as a web developer; his wife worked in a music studio. Today, he puts in full-time at Home Depot, while she teaches seniors music at the Flagler Technical Institute.

Lifelong wheel-sports enthusiasts, and proponents of the “green” initiative, the Goettsches wondered how they could merge their two interests into a business. Electric bikes were patented in the 1890s, they said, but it wasn’t until recently that battery technology has become practical.

“It uses the same technology as the latest electric cars,” Mark Goettsch said, citing Chevrolet’s Volt.

The bikes, manufactured by Prodeco Technologies, with which the couple partnered in May, are three-phased, which mean they can be pedaled like traditional bicycles, rode on battery power or a combination of the two, with throttle available for getting through headwinds or up hills.

The technology is also specialized toward the elderly, they said — adult tricycle models are available — and people with leg injuries.

“With all the (new city) bike paths, we want to make this accessible to everybody,” T.J. Goettsch said. “Some people don’t think they can ride. Now, they know they can.”

At the end of their incubator year, the couple plans to acquire a warehouse with a showroom and eventually open a “full green” retail store. In the future, they hope to add fully electronic motorcycles to their product line.

The bikes cost about $1,000. Conversion kits go for about $650. The next workshop will be held Sept. 10, at FTI, for $10. More are planned in October and November.

To enroll, or for more information, call 793-0199.

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