Bicycle heads to Smithsonian exhibition

A local entrepreneur is loaning one of his products to the Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Institute in New York City for an exhibition.

Bill Wilby shows off the Strida folding bike that is the same as the one he is sending to the Smithsonian for an exhibition.

A local entrepreneur is loaning one of his products to the Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Institute in New York City for an exhibition.

The Strida bike, which is sold online and locally at Pedaller’s Place by Bill Wilby, will be part of an exhibit called Beautiful Users, which runs from Dec. 12 to April 27.

Beautiful Users is an exhibition about how designers address human needs and desires.

“They approached me looking for a bicycle,” said Wilby. “They originally called the company in Taiwan that manufactures the bicycle but they didn’t have it in stock because they just build to order. Plus the shipping costs, it would’ve been just cheaper for me to help them. They were looking for a red Strida which I have in stock.”

Wilby is the only distributor in North America and only store with stock in North America.

Wilby became the Strida folding bike distributor for Western Canada in 2013. There is currently no Eastern Canadian or U.S. distributor.

Wilby says the exhibit is focused on products that were designed with the human body in mind.

“The Strida is a great example of that,” he said. “The person who invented it (Mark Sanders), that was one of his main concerns.”

Wilby was thrilled when he learned his product would be featured in a prominent exhibition at the Smithsonian.

“For me it’s ideal—to have that kind of exposure,” he said. “For me, I’ve been trying to work on branding and I can’t think of any better way than having a million or so people look at the bicycles.”

Wilby said the Beautiful Users show will be the Smithsonian’s first after a year of renovations.

He said the bike he is shipping to the Smithsonian will come out of a shop he supplies in Victoria. “This will be the first time I’ve done something like this.”

Wilby has enjoying learning about e-commerce with his Strida business.

“I needed to learn how to build and maintain my web site, how to promote online, how to import products since the bikes come from Taiwan, and how to build relationships with customers online.”