Blend Your Own At Bike-Powered Smoothie Stand
REBECCA ROBERTS, host:
At the Sunday farmer's market at Baltimore, Maryland, you can find everything from organic produce to soap made from goat's milk. Now, one enterprising vendor is using a bicycle to literally pedal his wares. Donna Marie Owens has more.
DONNA MARIE OWENS: What do you get when you combine a bicycle, fresh fruit and a young entrepreneur with a green imagination? Well, envision a frosty drink made by a bicycle-powered blender.
Natan Lawson is 21. His stand at the Baltimore farmer's market is called - now listen closely - Wheely Good Smoothies.
Mr. NATAN LAWSON (Wheely Good Smoothies): I first saw pedal-powered machines when I was interning on a farm in Oregon. They have a pedal-powered nut-sheller and I thought it was cool, didn't see the connection to smoothies yet.
OWENS: But after Lawson spotted a bike blender in Vermont, an idea took root. He studied diagrams on the Internet. He enlisted help from a local bike shop.
(Soundbite of blender)
OWENS: The result? Two bright and shiny mosaic-covered creations that resemble stationary bikes at the gym. A third kiddy bicycle is attached to a stuffed brown hobby horse.
(Soundbite of guitar strumming)
Unidentified Man: (Singing) Lucy in the sky with diamonds...
OWENS: The smoothie stand is raking them in at the lively open-air market. Lawson describes one of the gourmet flavors he's created.
Mr. LAWSON: I have the Fuzz, which is two whole peaches, organic lemonade and ground chipotle spice.
OWENS: You're probably wondering how the eco-friendly contraption works. The rear wheel drives a rod that powers a blender on the back of the bike.
Unidentified Woman: Better than a spin class.
OWENS: For five bucks, customers can put the pedal to the metal and whip up their own smoothies. It's 50 cents more if Lawson provides the muscle.
And how long does it take?
Mr. LAWSON: Depending on the smoothie, the bike and the person, somewhere between 15 seconds and 30 seconds.
OWENS: I hopped on and did my best Lance Armstrong impression.
(Soundbite of blender)
Mr. LAWSON: Keep going, keep going.
OWENS: Not to brag, but I was greased lightning. That is until a wardrobe malfunction.
Mr. LAWSON: Let me grab some tongs.
OWENS: My sequined ballet flats, definitely not for cycling.
What if you don't have enough energy?
(Soundbite of laughter)
OWENS: As you might imagine, Lawson does an awful lot of pedaling, but more than half his customers opt to power their own drink.
Mr. LAWSON: A lot of people, they come to the market with their friends and they're cheering them on. So, it goes to their head and they start pedaling like a racer. But it's good. You get a smoother smoothie.
OWENS: For NPR News, I'm Donna Marie Owens in Baltimore.
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