CHRISTMAS OFFER Subscribe to Dorset Magazine today CLICK HERE

Jeremy Davies on his new breed of super-trikes

PUBLISHED: 11:12 14 September 2015 | UPDATED: 11:13 14 September 2015

Jeremy with one of his 'Rocket' trikes

Jeremy with one of his 'Rocket' trikes

Hattie Miles 07907 645897

With echoes of steampunk chic in its design, Jeremy Davies’ new super-trikes are the hot wheels to be seen with this season. Jeremy Miles went along to meet the creative genius behind Boxer Cycles

Jeremy assembling one of the cycles at his Poole factoryJeremy assembling one of the cycles at his Poole factory

We’re sitting in a Sandbanks cafe full of yummy mummies and Lycra-clad cycle freaks and I’m talking to ‘The Rocket Man’, aka Jeremy Davies, purveyor of a whole new breed of super-trikes.

It may be millionaires’ row outside but the Ferraris, Porches and top of the range BMW’s barely warrant a second look from passers-by. It’s one of Jeremy’s electric tricycles that is attracting admiring glances. People are practically queuing up to take pictures of it with their smart-phones.

The cafe, Rockets and Rascals, is also a bike shop. It is owned by Hugh Roper who is one of Jeremy’s business associates and a former hopeful on the BBC series Dragon’s Den. Hugh, who unsuccessfully sought backing for an illuminated bike helmet from the Dragons, is a serious cyclist, his customers are too, but they seem more than happy to be associated with Jeremy’s slightly crazy three-wheelers.

Jeremy’s Poole-based company Boxer Cycles is a gratifying success story: an example of how if you take a clever idea, add some nifty designs and sprinkle it with a teeny bit of English eccentricity you can come up with a real winner. His flagship tricycle - The Rocket - is certainly a head-turner. It looks like something out of a 1950s sci-fi annual and has a certain steampunk chic about it. “The Rocket’s design was based on a mixture of ideas inspired by Jules Verne, Flash Gordon and a 1930s airliner,” says Jeremy.

Its nose-cone (we’re thinking outside the box here) is a near-lift from the Hindenberg airship. Yes, I know that didn’t end happily, but the Boxer Rocket is something else. It is also essentially a practical machine, born as a solution to a very real problem.

Jeremy Davies explains: “I was simply looking for a way of getting my wife, two kids and dog to the beach without having the stress of horrendous traffic and needing to pay silly money for parking. I thought about a bike with a trailer but it just seemed like an invitation for disaster - I didn’t like the idea of my child’s head being that close to a car bumper.”

Jeremy shows off his 'Rocket' and 'Boxer' trikesJeremy shows off his 'Rocket' and 'Boxer' trikes

The dog - a Staffie-cross called Watson - presented a different problem. “It’s not easy transporting a 28 kilo animal who, if he sees a cat or a skateboard, is likely to leap out and take you with him. Eventually I decided to make something myself, something big enough to get us all to the beach safely in one piece.”

After some rather hit-and-miss ‘Frankentrike’ experiments, the result was the immediate ancestor of today’s Rocket which, along with a tangible sense of character, is both light and strong, highly manoeuvrable and has its own battery-driven power system. It’s easy on hills, cheap to run and comes complete with headlights, brake-lights, indicators and computerised handlebar controls. “It puts riders on an equal footing with other motorists,” says Jeremy.

His initial prototype - customised from a cheap Chinese cargo-bike - proved an instant success. “On its maiden voyage from Whitecliff Park to the beach I pretty much took three orders en-route. People were saying ‘Where did you get that from, I want one’. It was extraordinary how popular it was.”

That was five years ago. In the meantime 42-year-old Jeremy has separated from his wife and now lives and works with the woman who became his chief design engineer. Working at her computer Elizabeth Plasencia tells me: “Jeremy is brilliant at coming up with incredible ideas and concepts. It’s down to me to make sure they work. The only downside is that he sometimes wakes up at four in the morning dying to chat about the bikes!”

Between them they have perfected not just The Rocket but also their standard bike, The Shuttle, and a delivery bike which Jeremy describes as having “what is basically a big bread-bin with a roller-top on the front”. Though prices range from £5,000 plus down to £2,800 all three have proved astonishingly popular and, with orders pouring in, Boxer has just launched a crowdfunding scheme to try and raise enough money to order the components in bulk.

Much of Jeremy’s business ethos is based on green credentials forged several years ago when he was working towards establishing the world’s first eco-superstore in Melbourne, Australia. One of the main investors lost $150 million in the Lehman Brothers crash and the project was pulled. Jeremy, who’d moved to Australia a dozen years earlier, headed back to the UK.

Amy Burke from Poole with her daughter Evie-Jean and her friend enjoy a ride in a Rocket Boxer CycleAmy Burke from Poole with her daughter Evie-Jean and her friend enjoy a ride in a Rocket Boxer Cycle

“We pretty much put a pin in the map when we chose Poole, we just wanted to go somewhere with a beach. I’m so glad we did. This part of Dorset is undoubtedly one of the best places in the world to live.”

Boxer cycles are assembled in a small factory unit to the north of the town with almost every component, apart from the motors and batteries, manufactured within a one mile radius. His green approach seems to appeal to a clientele which is made up of an impressive cross-section of would-be customers - from young families to students, business people and a surprising number of pensioners. The main attraction is the bikes themselves which can be bought as-seen or customised for specific requirements. At his factory Jeremy points out a Shuttle in the throes of receiving a higher than usual backrest to accommodate the needs of a disabled child.

He is the first to admit that the idea of a tricycle with load-carrying ability on the front is hardly new, the idea of three-wheel child carriers only really took off in flat countries like Belgium, Holland and Denmark. With very recent developments in the price, power and reliability of lithium-ion battery packs and motors there is now a ready supply of buyers among those living in more hilly terrain. Boxer Cycles has targeted that gap in the market and it’s done it in unique style.

Looking lovingly at one of his creations, Jeremy gently polishes a slight scuff mark off the bodywork and tells me: “You can’t get a parking ticket, you don’t need a driver’s licence and you don’t have to have tax, an MOT or insurance. A lot of people are getting very interested.”

Indeed! What’s not to like?

Jeremy Davies with Elizabeth Plasencia, and a Rocket Cycle, in their Poole workshopJeremy Davies with Elizabeth Plasencia, and a Rocket Cycle, in their Poole workshop

To learn more about Boxer Cycles and its current crowdfunding initiative go to boxercycles.com

***

READ ON

Tips to minimise inheritance tax from your estate - Give more to your loved ones and less to the government. Tax specialist Richard Smith shares some simple legal tips for minimising inheritance tax from your estate

Best things about living in the Blackmore Vale - Picturesque and fertile the Blackmore Vale provided the inspiration for Thomas Hardy’s ‘Vale of Little Dairies’. It is also home to some of Dorset’s most charming villages

0 comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Dorset visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Dorset staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Dorset account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

More from People

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

From festival director to an internationally acclaimed artist, meet some of the remarkable people working behind the scenes to enhance what historic Sherborne has to offer

Read more
Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Hosted by Martin and Philippa Clunes, this year’s event drew people, ponies and dogs from far and wide to raise funds for Dorset County Hospital Charity Cancer Appeal

Read more
Friday, July 27, 2018

Martin Clunes and his family have called West Dorset home for over two decades. Here he shares some of their favourite local places

Read more
Monday, July 9, 2018

Calling all self-professed Clunatics! Test your knowledge on Doc Martin with our quiz.

Read more
Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Fanny Charles meets some of the residents and businesses owners who are proud to call Dorset’s newest town the place where they work, live and play

Read more
Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Donna and Harry Mosley have brought the taste of their world travels to The Paddle in Highcliffe, where brunch and lunch is a deliciously leisurely affair

Read more
Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Here we turn the spotlight on some of our county’s most successful and discover what makes them tick

Read more
Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Human rights lawyer, Clive Stafford Smith has brought the plight of detainees at Guantanomo Bay into the art rooms of local schools

Read more
Friday, March 2, 2018

Rural communities throughout the UK could be eligible to receive funding via the Calor Rural Community Fund from energy provider Calor

Read more
Tuesday, February 27, 2018

His extraordinary physique made Chang Woo Gow famous, but this well educated family man sought escape from the limelight in Boscombe

Read more
Thursday, February 8, 2018

Retired drama teacher turned film director and producer, Rosita Clarke tells us about the ghostly Dorset love story that has just won her an award at an international film festival

Read more
Tuesday, February 6, 2018

We’ve been lucky enough to speak to some of Dorset’s best known over the years. Here’s what they love most about this beautiful county

Read more
Monday, January 29, 2018

A world-renowned explorer, a palaeontologist and futurist, and a butterfly conservator reveal the importance of the past for the future of mankind

Read more
Monday, January 15, 2018

AFC Bournemouth’s Jermain Defoe tells Andy Greeves how having a virtually vegan diet has helped to keep him at the top of his game and why beetroot helps him run faster

Read more

Local People

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

From festival director to an internationally acclaimed artist, meet some of the remarkable people working behind the scenes to enhance what historic Sherborne has to offer

Read full story »