A former Wall Street investor is trying to turn the sluggish Citi Bike
into New York’s newest two-wheeled speedster — even if his
efforts could land him in court.
Jeff Guida, 40, said his ShareRollers would sell for $1,350, but he was
giving the seven-pound portable motors, which attach underneath the citibike
basket, to deep-pocketed donors who kicked in $995 on Kickstarter.
The lower Manhattan resident said he had given away 21 of the contraptions
as of Friday — part of his campaign to raise $100,000 by March 31.
The former hedge fund honcho wants the public to help pay for his fledgling
“If you increase speed by a reasonable level, you can make more trips
per day,” said Guida, who has already raised about $45,000 for the
venture. “Your average cyclist goes 15 miles per hour. Citi Bikes
go around eight to 10 miles per hour. Normalizing the pace for all bikes
will make us safer.”
Guida’s contraption, which provides 12 miles’ worth of power
for each two-hour charge, can propel Citi Bikes up to a 18 miles per hour, he said.
City regulations ban motorized bikes and scooters that can be operated
“without human power.” ShareRoller riders have to get the
bike moving at least 2 miles per hour before the motor turns on —
Guida’s attempt to circumvent the law.
Your average cyclist goes 15 miles per hour. Citi Bikes go around eight
to 10 miles per hour. Normalizing the pace for all bikes will make us safer.
“The city of New York would have to challenge him. There is some
vagueness in the definition of what is an electric bike,” said bike
law expert Daniel Flanzig citing 2013 City Council legislation that nixed
the use of e-bicylces.
Even if Guida passes the legal test, Citi Bike spokeswoman Dani Simon mowed
down his plans, explaining that the gadget violates the bike-share program’s
user agreement policy.
“People can’t modify the bike in any way,” Simon said.
“We can disable their memberships.”
Despite the warning, a relentless Guida said he will continue to roll out
more ShareRollers to the masses.
“I don’t see Citi Bike putting marshals in the bike lanes looking
for people’s ShareRollers,” Guida said.