Let’s talk about the newest shared vehicle to hit the streets! And guess what? It’s a scooter. It’s a bike. It’s a scooter bike! They’re pretty unique and they’re called Wheels. We’re going to take one for a ride and I’m going to tell you how you can make a few bucks lugging these things around.
Take a look at our video about Wheels, then scroll to the video transcript below to see all the points we cover.
Hey everyone, Ezra here for The Rideshare Guy. I’ve been a rideshare driver with Uber and Lyft since 2013. I’ve also dabbled in food delivery apps like Postmates and recently I’ve tried charging scooters for Bird and Lime.
Wheels bikes debuted here in Los Angeles and they’ve raised a lot of money and are expanding quickly, so we’ll probably be in your market pretty soon.
Wheels: Dockless E-Bikes
The design of the bike is an evolution from the scooters we’ve seen offered so far from micro mobility companies, and Wheel says that they have an exclusive supplier for their bikes. Let’s take a closer look at the bike. On the Wheel’s website it says there focuses on safety and providing a sustainable, comfortable and reliable ride. Now starting from the bottom, you’ve got 14 inch air-filled tires, a kickstand, flip out pegs to rest your feet on when you’re riding and a padded seat.
Our Top Tips for Drivers:
It’s got a motorcycle style throttle on the right handlebar and both front and rear disc brakes at the handlebars, everything is clearly labeled, which I really like because most riders have never seen one of these bikes before. It’s also got lights on the front and back. A small digital display, which shows things like range and speed and an electronic horn. There’s even an incorporated Bluetooth speaker, but by the time you get it connected you’ll have spent a $1.50 on the rental, so you might want to just bring your own speaker.
Riding a Wheels Bike
Using the Wheels app is similar to other scooter and bike apps. You find a vehicle on the map, scan the QR code to unlock it and you’re on your way. Here in L.A., Wheels charges 35 cents per minute, which is not cheap and is about 40% more permanent than most scooter and bike apps charge. Now actually riding the Wheels is awesome.
The large wheels and seated position provide a much more stable and safe ride, in my opinion, allowing you to keep a lower center of gravity. I’ve personally never felt particularly safe on the East E-Scooters because they have tiny wheels and require you to ride in a standing position, meaning little stability and a high center of gravity. So if you hit a small bump, you might lose control and eat a face full of pavement.
On a Wheels bike though the ride is more like a traditional bicycle just without all the pedaling. If I have to come to a stop unexpectedly, I have full braking power on both the front and back. I can put my feet on the ground for extra stability or a quick turn and if I have to, I can bail pretty easily.
Another thing I really like about the Wheels bike is the throttle. It’s much more comfortable than those on the scooters, especially if you want to hold it for a long period of time. Now for safety, you should probably wear a helmet when you ride. I forgot to bring mine on the day I filmed this, but I try to wear it regularly.
You Can Work for Wheels as a “Transporter”
A huge part of the scooter and mobility phenomenon to hit our cities has been the contractors who work in the shadows to move the vehicles around and recharge them. And Wheels is no different in that it uses contractors to move vehicles from one place to another, but there is a major difference versus companies like Bird and Lime in that Wheels bikes use modular batteries, which can be removed, recharged and then re-installed on any compatible bike.
The Bird and Lime scooters need to be recharged for up to six hours at your home or garage, while the Wheels batteries are actually charged and swapped by Wheels employees while moving the bikes around is left to contractors like me. This definitely seems like a much more efficient way to do things. So of course I went and signed up to be a Wheels transporter. It was quick and easy to sign up. I think it took less than 10 minutes and this is pretty much the extent of what Wheels tells its transporters to do.
Pick up bikes only if there’s a bounty. Scan the QR code, find a hub, drop off within two hours, organize bikes neatly or park them on the street blocking vehicles like this person did. I like how neatly they lined them up though. And finally Wheels is a community. Don’t cheat.
How Much I Made Moving Wheels Bikes
That same night I went out and tried looking for Wheels bikes for the first time. I looked for a bunch, found some, didn’t find others and ended up moving eight bikes in a little under an hour. Most bikes have bounties between 3 and $5 and the eight bikes I collected total $30. According to the free Stride Tax app I use for my mileage tracking. I drove 6.77 miles for deduction of $3.93. And just like with every new scooter design, you have to figure out a way to load the most possible vehicles into your truck. And this is what I came up with.
When I charged Bird Lime scooters. I’ve always tried to collect as many as possible at once. And at first I was going to use that same strategy with Wheels, but I realized that since I only need to move the bikes and time is limited to two hours, I should be focused not only on collecting more bikes but also on any opportunities to drop off the bikes I’m already holding as I drive along my route. So anytime I have bikes in the trunk, I’m keeping an eye out on where there’s a drop off hub nearby and also where it can find more bikes and trying to kind of balance both of those objectives at once.
That’s how my Wheels transporter mindset is little bit different than my scooter charger or juicer approach. I’m definitely going to get back out there soon and try to move a bunch more wheels bikes and I’ll be sure to let you guys know how it goes.
How Does Live Up to Its Own Stated Goals?
Wheels claims their focus is on safety, sustainability, comfort and reliability. For safety. I think they have done a good job with this bike. Having the larger wheels and a seated riding position makes for more stability and a lower center of gravity. In terms of sustainability.
Using a modular design and swapping out batteries instead of moving entire vehicles makes for a huge improvement in overall efficiency. And I’d expect scooter companies to copy this design very, very soon. The ride comfort is also an improvement over previous offerings. I’d much rather be able to sit on a padded seat than have to balance on a wobbly scooter.
It’s really that simple. Now for reliability, I think Wheels is going to have the same problems as everyone else. I’ve had some great rides, but I’ve also unlocked several bikes which had problems. One had a flat tire, one just wouldn’t move and another had loose brakes at the wheel and I was still charged for each ride even though I noted the problems. So they do have a lot of room for improvement there.
What Do You Think of Wheels?
Overall, I do enjoy riding the Wheels bikes and I’ll definitely try transporting more of them soon. What do you guys think about Wheels? Do you like the design? Have you tried riding one of these yourself? I’d love to hear what your experience has been like and how do you feel about their transporter platform? Do you think that makes sense? Especially when compared to other platforms like Bird and Lime? Let me know. Thank you for watching. I’m Ezra and I’ll see you next time.
Ready to Maximize Your Ridesharing Profits?
Maximum Ridesharing Profits is The Rideshare Guy's online video course. Enroll to learn how rideshare veterans earn more, spend less, and treat rideshare driving like a real business.