Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

November 9, 2012

On the Rhoades

Local recumbent bike dealer introduces Tri-State to four-wheeled innovation

Lee Ward
The Independent

IRONTON — After school, neighborhood children flock to Traci Fisher’s house, hoping to get the chance to ride one of her bicycles.

Hers are no ordinary bikes, though.

They are five recumbent bicycles — Rhoades cars, to be exact. She and her father, Dick Fisher, are the only dealers of the modes of transport in the Tri-State; there are only a handful in the country.

The four-wheel bicycles come in three basic styles — the  Go Boy, which is sits more like a traditional bike; the Cycle Car, the original design which can seat up to four; the SportPed, which also seats two but is more comfortable.

Fisher said her father, who always loved cycling, ran across the Rhoades cars and immediately loved them, decided to become a dealer in April. She said she was between jobs and, with a business background, asked her father if she could work for him. He had come out of retirement to take a job that required him to be out of town, so it was a beneficial arrangement for them both.

Fisher also is a believer in the Rhoades car.

“They’re green, they save gas,” she said. “They’re good for your health and they’re just fun for family and friends and the community.”

As dealers, the Fishers’ job is to introduce and promote the Rhoades car; buys go online and “build” their own, choosing the basic model and all the extras they want. The cars are delivered intact with no assembly required.

One option is an electric motor. The “electric assist” bikes run on two 12-volt batteries, which must be installed by the buyer. Even those are meant to be pedaled while the motor runs. Top speed is about 14 miles per hour.

“The electric assist bikes are good if you’re not in shape, if you don’t have the endurance to pedal very far,” she said. “It’s good for anybody with health issues.”

She said Kelvar tire linings also are available, which makes getting a flat obsolete.

Rhoades cars start at $1,299; her electric assist model sport model with a windshield cost $5,500.

Fisher said she plans to get training to service the bikes, but she said they need little service.

“They’re American made and they’re made to last,” she said, adding already she knows how to tighten the brakes.

Fisher said she also hopes to sell some bikes to local plants that now have some employees, such as security guards, who ride traditional bikes between locations.

“Sometimes the weather doesn’t allow for traditional bikes,” she said, adding the Rhoades cars are safer on the job as well as for fun.  “The four wheelers allow for better balance and you can change the tires quicker.”

LEE WARD can be reached at lward@dailyindependent.com or (606) 326-2661.