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Charlie (left) and Dan with the very professional-looking Smoove tandem – the world’s first bicycle-powered liquidiser
Charlie (left) and Dan with the Smoove tandem – the world’s first bicycle-powered liquidiser

Internal News - 11 December 2007

A smoove act: Bath students create first ever pedal-powered smoothie-maker

Two Bath students, Daniel Spencer and Charlie Stephenson, can proudly claim to have invented the world’s first 'bicycle–liquidiser'!

Dan and Charlie are third year IMML-Spanish students currently studying in the Faculty of Business Administration at ORT University in Montevideo, Uruguay.

As part of their course on New Company Creation, they were required to create their own profitable business within a three-month period – a tall order, you might think, for a couple of students getting to grips with a new culture, a new university and a foreign language - but not for Dan and Charlie!

In collaboration with a local student on the same course, Federico Mangold, they came up with the novel and amusing plan to build a bicycle-powered liquidiser that could produce smoothies! The company has adopted the name “Smoove” - a Spanish interpretation of Smoothie!

Montevideo is located on the shores of the River Plate and has numerous wonderful, long beaches. There are several miles of broad promenades or ramblas and the enterprising students decided that the Ramblas of Pocitos and Buceo – very much the fashionable part of the city – would be an ideal marketplace for the new venture.

The technology took its lead from a very traditional business that used to be a common feature of Montevideo – the mobile knife grinder. This was based on a bicycle which, when mounted on a stand, could be pedalled and then, by way of a variety of gears, could drive a sharpening wheel.

Dan took on the task of creating a new version of such a bicycle, where pedal-power could drive a liquidiser and, by adding a top-box for the ingredients, the mobile, pedal-powered smoothie maker came into being!

Charlie and Federico took control of the administrative and logistics aspects of the venture and a couple of weeks ago the business came into being.

When the project was still in the planning phase, Dan entered an international competition - Innovate or Die. This is sponsored by many multinationals, among them Google, and seeks to encourage novel uses of alternative energy and to bring home to the public the potential impacts of global warming. Smoove offers a healthy, refreshing alternative to ice-creams to the strollers along the Montevideo Ramblas and it is very environmentally-friendly as most of its energy is generated from the operator.

The venture has caught the attention and imagination of the local media and last week El Pais, the major national newspaper of Uruguay, had a feature on the “bici-liquadora”.

The team have been in great demand by local radio stations for interviews, and the “Smoove” bicycle has become one of the sights on the Pocitos Rambla.

Interestingly, several women who were approached for their views on the bici-liquadora commented that they thought that it was a little too big to fit into their kitchen!