Pedal-bike motor system wins innovation prize

A Brighton University technician has won £50,000 for inventing a system to transform pedal cycles into electric bikes.

Stephen Britt took the south-east title in a £500,000 ’Take One Small Step’ competition, run by Barclays Business to help aspiring businesses make their ambitions a reality.

Britt’s brainwave came while he was stuck in a traffic jam and found himself thinking of ways cyclists could speed past congestion and move easier and quicker up hills.

He developed a battery-powered motor and gearbox system that continuously propels a bike for a maximum of 10 miles before the batteries need recharging.

The lightweight mechanism allows the full range of gears to be used and the mechanism can be fitted to any bike in less than 15 minutes. Last year, the low-cost kits won Britt the university’s student and graduate innovation award.

Britt has now launched a company called Fast Forward and plans to use the £50,000 on product development, launching the system in time for the 2012 Olympics.