Mar. 28 - It's a journey that's kept inventor and electrical engineer Jeff Guida busy for the past nine months. The former hedge fund analyst is testing a small, portable engine-in-a-box which gives an electric boost to heavy city rental bikes. Tara Cleary reports.
Jeff Guida is an avid cyclist - so when New York City introduced its bike share program, he quickly signed on ... although he says his first experience could have been better. SOUNDBITE: JEFF GUIDA, INVENTOR OF SHAREROLLER, SAYING (English): "After my very first ride, I felt like I was towing a trailer the whole way and the brakes were on. And it weighs 50 pounds, it's got three speeds, it, I mean to me it feels like it's twice as much work to go the same speed. And I didn't want to arrive everywhere sweaty. I'm using this bike to commute places, what's the point?" Guida decided that Citibikes need electrification. So he quit his Wall Street job and spent almost a year developing the ShareRoller - a lightweight case that transforms a strenuous ride in a matter of seconds. Designed out of his apartment and created on a 3D printer, ShareRoller will also fit share program bikes in several other cities, including London, Washington, DC, Chicago and Montreal. The basic kit contains enough battery power to take a rider 12 miles without pedaling It clips onto the front of the bicycle. The rubberized motor pops out and connects with the front wheel. A throttle locks around the handle, controlling speed, which Guida has set to an 18 mile-per-hour maximum. Now his challenge is selling his invention. SOUNDBITE: JEFF GUIDA, INVENTOR OF SHAREROLLER, SAYING (English): "It's terrifying, no question about it. I mean, I left a lucrative field for one that may not be lucrative at all, but it's something that I really wanted to do." Guida has added two 10-lumen LED torch lights in the kit as well as a USB power port. And if his current Kickstarter project doesn't succeed, the former hedge fund analyst says several investors have expressed interest in ShareRoller. Assuming his device hits the market, Guida doesn't plan on slowing down. (SOUNDBITE) (English) JEFF GUIDA, INVENTOR OF SHAREROLLER, SAYING: "The product will improve every year. I'm a perfectionist myself, so I always see ways of making things better." And soon, he hopes to be cycling all the way to the bank.