electrical bike Ex-WMU soccer participant brings electrical scooter enterprise to Battle Creek
Odell Miller is sweet at transferring folks.
His bodily power and dedication earned the 2014 Gull Lake Excessive College graduate a chance as a walk-on for the Western Michigan College soccer workforce, the place he ultimately turned the Broncos’ beginning tight finish and earned the nickname “The Nice Wall of Odell.”
Now, after a shot within the NFL, the Battle Creek native is making an attempt to maneuver folks by means of his startup electrical scooter rental firm, Fly Rentals.
“Micro-mobility sharing is the long run,” Miller mentioned. “It is good for the surroundings, good for the economic system. It is economically pleasant. It is a good way for college kids to get round campus… My aim is to develop larger, however I need to develop slowly. I need to deal with mid-sized faculty campuses. I need to begin in Kalamazoo and Battle Creek and slowly develop out.”
Miller is the only proprietor and founding father of Fly Leases. He personally designed the electrical scooters, which can journey as much as speeds of 16 mph. With a headlight, bell, flip sign and brake lights, they’re avenue authorized in Michigan.
The Fly scooters are outfitted to function in all climate and seasons and have a 600-watt motor. The scooters take between three and 5 hours to cost, and a single cost can supply as much as 35 miles of journey, relying on the circumstances.
What makes his scooter rental sharing service totally different from others, Miller says, is the corporate’s leasing mannequin. Scooters might be leased weekly for $60, month-to-month for $40 per week or by the semester for $30 per week. Upkeep, a charger, GPS and lock are included within the subscription. The scooters can solely be unlocked by the client, who makes use of the Fly Leases app to show the automobile on and off.
Miller mentioned Fly Leases will formally be obtainable within the Battle Creek and Kalamazoo space by early November.
The thought for the enterprise got here to Miller when he was in Boise, Idaho, for WMU’s 2019 Potato Bowl contest towards BYU. He thought the electrical scooters he used to get round city within the days main up to the sport would work in southwest Michigan. He invested cash from his DJ enterprise, OD Leisure, to launch Fly Leases, which has been in growth for greater than a yr.
Miller mentioned he had supposed to supply a rental service much like different ride-sharing electrical scooter providers which have gained reputation in Michigan since 2018 however that the COVID-19 pandemic brought about him to pause and reassess his enterprise mannequin.
“I all the time search for the positives of all the pieces. And the positives of COVID was me having the ability to shift,” he mentioned. “What can I take positively out of this? So I began to crunch numbers and see what the long run will appear like and was like, ‘Wow, this leasing mannequin makes extra sense’… I made a decision to pivot and never do the normal trip sharing like different firms you may see in different cities the place scooters are mendacity everywhere in the streets and it is crowding town.”
Whereas Battle Creek at present has no ordinances particular to electrical scooters, it does prohibit folks from driving a bicycle, scooter, skateboard, curler skates or inline skates on any sidewalk within the Central Enterprise District downtown.
Michigan would not have a definition for electrical scooters, which falls below “electrical skateboards.” Utilizing scooters on sidewalks is authorized, as long as riders yield the right-of-way to pedestrians and provides an audible sign earlier than passing. Scooters are solely allowed on streets with velocity limits of lower than 25 mph, besides when crossing, and have to be ridden as close to to the proper facet of the roadway as doable. Helmets are required for riders 18-and-under.
Miller mentioned his days of carrying a soccer helmet are behind him after NFL tryouts with the Cleveland Browns and the Washington soccer workforce. After graduating from WMU with honors, he’s now attending Midwestern College Chicago Faculty of Osteopathic Drugs, the place he’s working towards a doctorate in bodily remedy.
Just one.6% of school soccer gamers attain the NFL in line with a 2017 NCAA examine, and Miller mentioned defying these odds and incomes a short stint in skilled soccer “taught me a ton.”
“It taught me I might do no matter I put my thoughts to,” he mentioned. “Though some folks trying in may see that it was unsuccessful, I see it as profitable in the event that they understand that I got here from being a walk-on and a no one and a no-name.”
Victoria McCartney, Miller’s girlfriend, has supported the Fly Leases launch by attending varied conferences and modeling the electrical scooters on social media and the corporate’s web site. She mentioned she wasn’t shocked when Miller advised her he was launching the enterprise whereas going to highschool for his doctorate.
“All of the behind the scenes stuff is fairly unimaginable, as a result of his thoughts simply works in another way,” she mentioned. “I’ve by no means seen someone’s thoughts inform them out loud that, ‘I can do that,’ and so they do it to the most effective of their skill. Every thing he touches turns to gold. I am simply excited to see it develop from the very backside.”
Nick Buckley might be reached at email@example.com or 269-966-0652. Comply with him on Twitter:@NickJBuckley