Electric bike company provides SXSW transportation - MyFoxAustin.com | KTBC Fox 7 | News, Weather, Sports

Electric bike company provides SXSW transportation

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Some South by Southwest go-ers who are looking for an efficient way around town are turning to one Austin business for help. For the small start-up, Rocket Electrics, the festival is a big boost for the company's books.

"We found from our experience from last year we just need to be ready for anything," explained Rocket Electrics Owner Nicole Zinn. She and her business partner John Dawson worked to tailor their e-bike business to SXSW visitors looking for a way to beat the traffic.

The two have custom packages corresponding to the different festival portions. The store on East Riverside opened in November of 2011 just a few months before last year's SXSW festival.

Pedal or battery powered you have the choice with an electric bike. "You can go around the barriers, get on sidewalks or go around people so it's quite advantageous," explained Dawson who increased the store's fleet.

"It's a huge benefit to us and all the other businesses. We appreciate it. There are so many people and we love the visitors who come to Austin," said Zinn.

Renting around $40 a day the shop has booked more than 176 day rentals during the festival. All of the bikes have governors so by law riders can only go 20 mph.

The business is what Dawson calls a godsend. "It's a great shot in the arm," Dawson added about the money visitors bring to Austin.

Zinn, Dawson and shop dog Fleck, who works for treats, are the only full time employees. The company's bikes are almost booked up by returning customers and big names.

"We have big record labels renting our bikes all the way to Internet multi-millionaires so it's pretty crazy," Zinn said.

The two hope to see their start-up grow and know SXSW can help make that happen.

Rocket Electrics will likely be booked completely by the end of the first day of the music portion.

Last year SXSW generated nearly $200 million for the Austin economy. Austin Energy offers rebates to people who purchase electric bikes.

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