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Students open moped business

BY GRACE GATHUA | JANUARY 27, 2011 7:10 AM

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University of Iowa students will soon have another option for getting around campus:a rented moped.

UI senior Bryan Ilg showed off a black and silver moped on Wednesday, one of 250 that will be available for rent to University of Iowa students starting in March through MopedU, a business he started with former student Josh Bass.

“We wanted something unique,” Ilg said about the business, which started in August and which he believes is the only one like it in Iowa.

Ilg said he was on Google when he came across a bike-rental service.

“Why would anyone want to rent a bike?” he said he thought to himself, wondering if people would be interested in renting a moped instead.

Ilg said he is particularly interested in the business because it’s a good way to avoid parking tickets.



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Students can rent mopeds through the company for three-month, single-month, weeklong, or daylong periods. Prices range from $90 per month for the three-month session to $20 for the day-long rental. Moped colors will include silver, blue, and gray.

For now, MopedU’s kiosk in the Old Capitol mall is simple but busy, said the company’s marketing and promotions director Joel Myers, also a UI student. He said many of students have stopped by with questions and some even wonder if it’s a scam.

UI sophomore Natalie Hoselton, who has signed up to rent a moped, is an art major and is forced to take the city shuttle downtown and then the Cambus to the temporary Studio Arts Building.

“Having a moped will definitely help,” she said, noting the shuttle only comes twice an hour and if she chooses to walk, it takes 15 to 20 minutes.

Lynn Allendorf, the managing director at the Bedell Entrepreneurship Learning Laboratory said the business is a good way to provide alternative means of transport for students.

The company has paired with local businesses, including Which Wich and Mesa Pizza, to offer moped renters discounted food.

“It promotes the pizza and brings in new customers,” said Scott Norris, the manager of Mesa Pizza.
Myers agreed.

“We increase [the restaurants’] traffic flow by sending students,” he said, noting discounts should be an incentive for students to rent a moped.

“It was funny asking to talk to managers, watching their skepticism, they’d hear us out and make a complete 180,” Myers said.

After brainstorming, the founders came up with the name “MopedU.”

“It fits on the logo,” Ilg said. “It’s catchy and easy.”


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