Commuting to work on a Citi Bike can be a drag, but ShareRoller — the motorized portable drive system — aims to take the pain out of pedal power.
Designer Jeff Guida came up with the ingenious invention after years of traveling to work on a cumbersome Brompton bicycle. The New Yorker is currently sourcing funds through Kickstarter, and he’s already managed to raise over a third of his $100,000 goal.
The man behind the seven-pound motor tells Metro about why we’ll all be riding around town on a ShareRoller.
Metro: Are we just too lazy to ride a conventional bike?
Guida: A lot of commuters complained that they couldn’t afford to be sweaty when they arrived at the office, so a Citi bike wasn’t an option. I’m all for the health benefits of exercise, but exercise isn’t always part of the equation. That’s why the motor is removable, so that people can decide whether they need the motor or not.
Why did you come up with ShareRoller?
I’ve been developing an electric bike for a while. The first time I rode a Citi Bike, I was dismayed at how heavy and slow and inefficient they were. It requires twice as much effort as a normal bike and, in my opinion, needs electric assistance. That’s when I realized that a Citi Bike was perfectly set up for a friction drive-mount over the front wheel and I dove into development headlong around eight months ago in June.
Which city is proving to be the biggest challenge and why?
New York is the most challenging because they have a draconian viewpoint when it comes to electric bikes. But the law does make an exception for bikes that require human effort and ShareRoller is designed to require one or two pedal strokes to get the motor going after rest, so it fulfils that criteria.
Were you not tempted to ramp-up the speed to above 18 m.p.h.?
[Laughs] I’ve chosen 18 m.p.h. because that is the speed that a strong cyclist averages on a Citi Bike. The thing about ShareRoller is that someone smaller, weaker or in a suit can still maintain the same pace as someone who is out there on a workout. Also, differentials in speed are the biggest cause of accidents, just like on the highway.
Will this invention take cars off the road?
I would like to see more people cycling in cities because cars are terrible for getting around places like New York. Some people that I know spend $400 per month on cabs, so I could see this product pushing a lot of people from cabs to ShareRoller.