If you've ever used a bike-share system like New York's Citi Bike and found the 45-pound model hard to handle, here's a nifty invention: A turbo kit that attaches to the front wheel. Soon you'll be riding at 18 mph like the best of them.
Developed by electrical engineer Jeff Guida, the ShareRoller is the size of a pack of paper and about the weight of a typical laptop. It has a throttle to fix to the handlebars and extra LED lights to make your journey safer. It even offers a USB port, to charge up a phone while you're noodling along.
"The first time I rode a Citi Bike, I thought I was pulling a trailer. It takes a lot more work than riding any other bicycle. I immediately felt it cried out for electric assistance," explains Guida, who lives in New York. He started working on the design last May, and is opening a Kickstarter for the device this February.
The ShareRoller isn't cheap, even at a campaign discount (prices start at $995). But it could help democratize the bike-share experience and get people to their destination faster. The 18 mph top-speed, which falls within federal regulations, is set so the slowest riders can catch the fastest.
"You're not going faster than someone else who is in good shape and working hard. You're just not breaking a sweat," Guida says. "If you're a 100-pound female trying to lug this 50 pound bike up the hill, now you can go as fast as the guy who races on the weekends."
Guida's invention works with 11 major sharing systems (all of which use the same heavy model), and he's also developing mounts for use on scooters and other bikes.