RIVERVIEW — It all started when Sharon Muller and her husband, Steve, decided it would be cool to buy motorized bicycles so they could take advantage of the bike paths that had been built near their house and the bike lanes on U.S. 301.
When they did their research into various bikes, it turned out they had a clear favorite, a line of English bikes called Wisper. From everything they read online, it seemed to be by far the best motorized bicycle available. The only problem was, it wasn't available in this country.
"Every other country had a distributor, but not the U.S.," Sharon Muller said.
Rather than settle for their second choice, the Mullers decided to start their own company and introduce Wisper bikes to America.
They started Florida-E-Biking out of their home this year and began offering the Wisper bikes to the public last month.
They're looking for distributors across the country to sell the bikes, but in the meantime they have a selection of Wisper bikes in their home. Prospective buyers can call and arrange to take a test ride.
The bikes can be pedaled like a regular bike, but they're also designed with a built-in electric motor. The bikes take four to eight hours to completely charge from a normal household outlet, and a charge will last 50 to 60 miles, Sharon Muller said. Top speed is around 20 to 25 miles per hour.
The motor is lightweight and compact so the bike performs well under pedal power.
"You'd be surprised how lightweight and easy to handle it is," Sharon Muller said. "We have one model that folds up so you can put it in your boat or the trunk of your car."
Some models come with racks that can accommodate groceries and other light cargo.
Prices range from $1,900 to $2,500. All Wisper bikes include a complete six-year warranty, including free comprehensive annual maintenance.
For information about Wisper bikes and Florida-E-Biking, call (813) 493-2777 or visit florida-e-biking.com.
Yogurt franchise to open in Riverview
RIVERVIEW — In just four years, Menchie's has become one of largest frozen yogurt chains in the country, with about 100 stores already open.
The first Menchie's in the Tampa Bay area is scheduled to open June 29 in Winthrop Town Centre.
One thing that sets Menchie's apart from many of its competitors is that it's a self-serve operation. Customers take a cup, fill it with any flavor (or combination of flavors) of frozen yogurt that they choose and add all the toppings they want. Then they weigh their finished product and pay according to weight.
Flavors range from chocolate to watermelon tart, and many are available in sugar-free and low-carbohydrate varieties. Sorbets are also available for customers who prefer nondairy treats.
Toppings include fruits and nuts, candies and hot fudge.
The phone number and hours of operation for the new Menchie's aren't available yet, but will be posted at menchies.com soon, a company spokeswoman said. Menchie's, which is currently under construction, will be at 6046 Winthrop Town Centre Ave., next to Starbucks.
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