Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Meet the People - 29

Another in the Series Meet the People - Contemporary Maori Doing Ordinary and Extraordinary Things - Grant Ryan (Ngai Tahu) has a huge and growing list of ideas he plans to work on. That's a good thing when you're a highly successful and motivated inventor and entrepreneur and Grant's commitment to making clever ideas a reality has already come a long way. One of his latest inventions, the Yike Bike (shown below), has been acclaimed the 15th Best Invention of the Year in Time Magazine's Top 50 Inventions of 2009.
For Grant, who was born in the tiny Southland settlement of Otautau and grew up in Invercargill, it is a pleasing and unexpected accolade but true to his quiet persona, he's not one to make a big deal about it. The Yike Bike though, is the smallest, lightest electric folding bicycle in the world. Weighing less than 10kg, it folds down to the size of a laptop and can be carried on buses, trains and cars and stored easily in an office cupboard. Not surprisingly, it is expected to revotuionize urban commuting internationally.
Grant, 40 is a big thinker with a degree in mechanical engineering and a doctorate in ecological economics from Canterbury University and the Yike Bike is just one of many already-successful projects he has embarked upon - and it won't be the last. Following on from the development of a social networking company, a software-as-a-service exporter and an Internet search company, the Yike Bike is just the beginning. Grant, shown above with his cousin, fellow engineer and business associate, Caleb Smith (Ngai Tahu), is excited about the potential the Yike Bike has shown. The company already has orders for the bike from all over the world - despite a handsome price tage of around 3,500Euros (NZ$7000), which puts it at the Porsche end of the market. The first models are due off the production line some time this year and Grant is sure they will herald the beginning of an all-new approach to transport in congested urban centres around the world. It's a long, long way from Otautau and Grant is already thinking about his next big idea. www.yikebike.com

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