Doing justice to dad’s entrepreneurial vision

Mike Maguire (left) and business partner Phil Gallagher with their bike bag system. Photos: Gregor Richardson
Mike Maguire (left) and business partner Phil Gallagher with their bike bag system. Photos: Gregor Richardson
Dunedin-based product design company Aeroe recently showed its latest product at a bike fair in Germany. It was a bittersweet moment for director Mike Maguire, as business reporter Jacob McSweeny reports.

Mike Maguire is on a mission to continue his father’s legacy.

The director of Dunedin-based product design company Aeroe has recently returned from one of the world’s top bike fairs in Friedrichshafen, Germany, showing off its new bike bag system.

The Eurobike expo came just one month after Aeroe’s founder and driving force Pat Maguire died of cancer in August.

‘‘I was tossing up whether to go or not ... I’m pleased I did,’’ Mike Maguire, Pat’s oldest son, said.

‘‘I’d been back with [Dad] to Eurobike over the years. This show was kind of surreal because I was meeting up with a lot of people who I’ve met with before but Dad wasn’t there.’’

Pat Maguire was diagnosed with cancer in November last year and had been ill before that.

An example of a bag fitting on a front-wheel mount.
An example of a bag fitting on a front-wheel mount.
He continued to promote to retailers his last creation, the Aeroe quick-mount-release system.

It’s a way of securely clipping a rugby ball-sized bag on a mount that attaches to various points on the bike.

The father and son duo toured the world promoting the product this year. They first launched it at the Taipei Cycle Show in March before a trip to Denver in June.

“It’s been real tough, you know,’’ Mike Maguire said. ‘‘He was on the go the whole time. He had to go through chemo and all that.

“Me and him were at the Denver Outdoor Retailer trade show in June. We came back and it was outrageous really. He went downhill really quick and in August he passed away.’’

Mr Maguire was grateful for the time he got to spend

with his father.

“I was lucky enough to have real good quality time with him. We were talking every day and obviously travelling a lot together ... having fun together, going to concerts and all that.’’

Until about five months ago Mike Maguire had been a business banker while helping his dad with the bike bag system on the side. At that point Pat’s health declined and Mike decided to join his dad full time. He now manages Aeroe out of Dunedin’s co-working space, Petridish.

His younger brother Paddy Maguire is an architect in Auckland but is also involved in the company managing its social media profile.

The design of the bike bag system is sleek and professional and Mike Maguire believed it was going to be a hit with cycling enthusiasts, particularly those who did a lot of mountain biking or long-distance rides.

The company is now hoping to launch by March next year a commuter-style bag that could hold a laptop.

‘‘We’re quite busy,’’ he said.

After touring the Eurobike show in 2006, Pat Maguire came up with a quick-mount-release bike rack that was eventually acquired by Thule. Thule still sells the product today.

Mike Maguire said the new quick-mount-release bag system was a product they wanted to build the company around.

‘‘I suppose we were on that pathway with the other one; we just happened to attract the attention of Thule.

‘‘This one here we want to build our own brand, make sales and just keep doing that. You never know what type of attention you’re going to attract.

‘‘We’ve got to keep our eye on the ball. We’re still small and we’re trying to break into a big market with some cool stuff. We’ve got to stick to the basics.’’

So far they have secured distributors in the US, Australia, New Zealand and Japan.

The goal now is to promote Aeroe’s bag system more widely. Mike Maguire hopes to achieve that by attending the Sea Otter Classic, a major consumer bike show in Monterey, California, in April next year.

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