All Fun and Games—And a Lot of Hard Work
Model rockets, toys, and board games. This isn’t a child’s wish list; it’s Myles Christensen’s résumé. The 2001 MBA grad and design engineer recently added one more fun item to his line-up—electric bikes. He’s connecting customers with electric bicycles and making many people happy in the process.
When Christensen first encountered electric bikes, he thought by bringing the price down the bikes could benefit more people. In December 2012 he began retrofitting regular bikes with motors and selling them out of his garage at home. In May 2014 he opened the JigaWatt Cycles store in Provo. Since opening he’s had happy customers of all sorts.
The feedback Christensen loves best? “This has changed everything.” One satisfied buyer was an ER doctor until his vision deteriorated to the point that he had to give up his profession as well as his driver’s license. Once Christensen outfitted him with a bike, he went from waiting for rides to having his freedom back. This past winter Christensen ordered the man a special snow bike so that not even the worst weather can stop him.
In addition to running his shop, Christensen works as a freelance design engineer. He consults clients on consumer products, typically those created from injection-molded plastics—including the occasional toy. Hailing from a game-playing family, Christensen has two licensed kid’s games out on the market: Toss Your Cookies and Order’s Up. He sums up his gaming style with the word mayhem. “Everyone grabs for pieces all at the same time, and there are scratched hands and elbows thrown,” he says of his creations. “My family gives me a hard time about that.”
Prior to becoming a consultant eight years ago, Christensen worked for Estes Model Rockets in Colorado and Graco Children’s Products in Pennsylvania. In addition to his Marriott School MBA, he holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in mechanical engineering from BYU. He currently teaches in the mechanical engineering department as an adjunct professor.
The support team for the bike shop consists of Christensen’s wife, Jill, and their five kids. As for his own cycling needs, he gets his kicks aboard a blue recumbent tadpole trike—complete with a green JigaWatt Cycles flag waving proudly above him.
—Katie Pitts Olson