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Brighton inventor's electric bicycle pedal close to hitting UK stores
10:01am Wednesday 29th January 2014 in News
A Brighton inventor believes he is one cycle revolution closer to taking the effort out of uphill biking - by designing a pedal that transforms a bicycle into an electric one.
Stephen Britt has designed a battery-powered motor and gearbox which is powered by pressure being applied to the pedal.
The pedal is powered with a sensor on one side and, as the user pushes down, it provides power to turn the axle inside and helps turn the crank - which helps the cyclist go uphill or carry heavy loads.
He came up with the idea while sitting in his car in a traffic jam as he drove to work at the University of Brighton
The lightweight mechanism can be fitted to any bike in 15 minutes and continuously propels it for up to 10 miles before it needs recharging.
It also allows the full range of gears to be used in the normal way, making climbing hills much easier, according to Mr Britt.
The former University of Brighton graduate is carrying out further product development and tests and says he intends to use a crowd sourcing funding platform to put his retro-fit cycle propulsion system on sale.
Mr Britt, who is a technician in the university's School of Education, said that being stuck in traffic gave him time to think about how he could beat the congestion and ease the struggle of climbing hills on a bike.
The Argus first reported on his invention in July 2010, when he won £50,000 in a competition to turn his idea into reality.
Three years on he has further developed and refined his idea and is close to seeing the invention on UK streets.
Mr Britt said: "Initially, the product will be trialled with small user groups and designs will be updated based on feedback.
"Crowd sourcing will be used to create pre-sales. This is likely to be towards the end of the year.
"Once significant volume can be reached the system will be able to retail for less than £250, considerably less than the competing products.
"The system has real potential to revolutionise cycling and how people use bikes.
"This is the opportunity to open up powered cycling to the masses, globally. This is real game-changing, disruptive technology."
Mr Britt is not alone at the University of Brighton in designing revolutionary cycling products.
Graduate Emily Brooke's Blaze bike light, which projects a laser image of a green bicycle onto the road, is now available for pre-order.
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