Get-A-Grip (Pedal Pushers BC)

Are you a bike lover and in Brisbane tomorrow (Sat 16th September)?

Want to see some kool bikes?

Like Low-riders? Kustoms? Vintage? Rusty Rats? Something a  lil’ different?

If so, grab ya bike and a mate and head down to this event!

Below are a few details to get you started.

Leki and I’ll be attending.

The next post will let you know how it all went.

Find out more at Pedal Pushers BC  Facebook.

See you there – crazy kids!

Other details from the Pedal Pushers BC are:

Schedule

10am         Registrations start
10:30am  Quick speech on details ect
11:30am   Registrations close
1-1:30pm  Peoples choice closes
2pm           Trophy presentations

These are approx. times as its our first show and we’re still getting into the swing of things.

Between these times we can mingle and meet others and talk bikes for the day.

Few key points to keep in mind are:
*when you arrive just come over to the rego marquee and fill out paperwork and we’ll give you all the info you need
*if you arrive after rego closes you are still welcome to display bikes, but they wont be eligible for trophys
*all trophy winners must be present to win,  if not it will go to next in line!!
*please use your peoples choice to vote for a bike you like and not your own as if everyone votes for there own bike then no one wins.
* judges bikes will not be up for any awards as its a conflict of interest.
* any questions on the day, just come up to one of us wearing a pedal pushers shirt and we’ll help out as best we can.
*its a public park so we can’t be held responsible for any damages to property but if we all show some respect for others property and keep a look out then there won’t be any problems.
*please use bins provided
*most of all….enjoy the day and meet some like-minded people!!

See you there!

Images: Pedal Pushers BC Facebook.

James Novak – World’s first 3D printed bicycle

 

Two days ago, I went to the Griffith University AEL (Arts Education and Law) school final heat for the 3MT Competition.

There were 10 PhD candidates presenting – but one stood out for me.

James Novak is a Griffith University design graduate and is currently undertaking his PhD.

He was presenting his 3MT on his 4D pro-cycling helmet. It was very interesting to hear how this helmet functions differently in relation to how  technology, engineering and design features use sensors to automatically respond to rider needs for air flow, temperature control and areodynamicism.

After James had presented, I saw signage for the AEL School to the side of the stage.

One of the pictures on it was a bicycle frame (see below). I was already chuffed that there was a presentation on bikes/cycling being the focus of PhD research and though it was schewing my view of reality.  I turned to my friend and said “I see bicycles everywhere!” With James’ presentation still fresh in my mind, I quickly jumped online to see why the bike was featured on the poster.

Well, imagine my surprise when I find out that the bike is also one of James’ designs – and more so, that it was the world’s first 3D printed bike!

 

Bicycles Create Change - James Novak - 3D Printed bike

Background: James’ Previous work

Previously, James has worked on the Gold Coasts’ Q1’s Skywalk and the new MagnaLatch Safety Pool – which was a finalist in the Good Design Awards and is now a product we are all familiar with.

He also has a range of other concepts, products, designs and prototypes that he has been working on- which you can see on on his blog Edditive Blog.

To name just to name a few!

His blog also has tutorials and free downloads and when I spoke to him after his presentation, he was really keen on sharing, and exchanging information – which is something that he genuinely supports as evidenced through on his blog. You can also see more of his work on Instagram @edditive.

Click here to download a PDF with more info: The 3D Printed Bike – James Novak

James Novak – World’s first 3D printed bicycle

Prior to his 4D cycling helmet, James had already been extending engineering and design applications by utilising 3D printing to produce the world’s first  3D printed bicycle.

James Novak - 3D Printed bike
James Novak. Image courtesy of Griffith University.

James created this bike in 2014 and it has exhibited in Australia and overseas and in 2015. He was also awarded the prestigious Dick Aubin Distinguished Paper Award at the RAPID conference (Los Angeles) which is the world’s leading 3D printing industry event.

How did he do it?

 The process of making the 2014 bike: “What does it takes to 3D print a large and complex object like this? Although he spent about 150 hours modeling the item in 3D on SolidWorks over a couple of weeks, he says modeling wasn’t the most difficult part of his 4-month project. According to James, what has taken the most time and energy was actually discovering what’s possible with 3D printing, understanding the limitations of this new manufacturing tool, and re-imagining the concept of the bike frame. For making things easier, James decided to print his design via our (i.materialise) professional online 3D printing service. After the bike frame was 3D printed in mammoth resin through i.materialise, the item was exhibited at a seminar in Brisbane, Australia this past July (2014)”.

James Novak - 3D Printed bike
Image: i.materialize
James Novak - 3D Printed bike
I love how he has incorporated his name into the frame – super personalised!! Image: i.materialize

The bike is custom designed specifically to James’  body dimensions and preferences.

HIs bike is a prototype and not yet ridable, but by designing and producing the bike, it invites future explorations and developments to work towards producing a fully functioning bike.  It’s what I like to call a ‘gateway innovation’!

To this end, James’ view is that “3D printing has changed a whole range of manufacturing areas, but cycling is really interesting. The shape of the bike hasn’t changed a lot over the last 100 years, but everything else can be rethought and re-designed to take advantage of 3D printing technology.  As 3D printing allows you to create one-off products, a design can be made specifically for a particular athlete. In the next few years, I imagine we’ll be printing this bike in titanium, or carbon fibre, and I’ll be the first one riding it down the street!”

It seems that James’ prediction for subsequent innovations have come true. Since Jame’s original 2014 innovation, there have been a number other ‘world first 3D printed bicycles’ – but each has a different aspect, such the 2015 world’s first titanium alloy 3D printed mountain bike. Or more recent road bikes developments such as the 3D printed road bike using 3D printing welding process or using different materials such as the 3d printed stainless steel bicycle – both of which came out last year (2016).

In discussing his bike and the video (1′ 56”) below, he also posted that “A lot of people look at me with a mixture of excitement and confusion when I tell them what I do for work, probably because it sounds a bit futuristic and weird. And it is! But hopefully this profile video prepared by Griffith University and the Gold Coast City Council will explain things a little better than I can, featuring my FIX3D Bike 3D printed by Materialise. I always get a kick from sharing my knowledge of 3D printing with kids still in school since it is really going to affect their lives in the most exciting ways; hopefully videos like this can inspire them to take up the careers of the future.”

What about future 3D Printing of bike frames?

As it is still in its infancy, the materials being used are very traditional like resin, plastics and metals. I’m very keen to see how the new generation of 3D printing materials could incorporate (more) sustainable materials into this space to explore how 3D printing bike frames can minimise wastage and demands on resources.

I’d be excited to see a 3D printed bike made of PLA, which is a sugar-derived polymer (for which other ‘green products’ have already been made and are in current world-wide usage and are “compostable” and “made from corn”). Could PLA be stable, durable and strong enough for a bike frame? If not PLA, then what other green material could be utilised?

If this could be accomplished, it would put a new spin on of my fav rainy day road riding  quips – whereby if a friend says they won’t ride in the rain, my retort is “Your bike is not made of sugar, it is not going to dissolve in the rain! Lets ride!” – I hope I may have to change this adage accomodate future 3D printing inclusion of sustainable material innovations!

Ah, the future of 3D printed bike frames looms!

The Lightning Furies

I love it when readers suggest and recommend people and projects for this blog.  RG sent me an email suggesting I check out The Lightning Furies – which I did. I checked them out online and then contacted them. Anna replied and we ended up meeting for a coffee. Here is what transpired. Enjoy! Nina.


 

The Lightning Furies

The Lightning Furies is one of a number of projects created under the SNAPCAT umbrella by Perth duo – artists Renae Coles and Anna Dunnill. As Snapcat themselves describe, their work is “ambitious, cheeky and political and involves painting, sculpture, video and participatory performance.”

Snapcat has produced a number of interesting, topical and provocative works – and none more so than The Lightning Furies. This project came out of their researching into women and sport and then was further developed in response to other input (like community consultations) into the feminist bike gang The Lightning Furies.

In their own words, The Lightning Furies are “a bike gang of tough women and non-binary people, dedicated to a feminist mission of utopic bad-assery. Wearing denim vests, bikes adorned with pennants, the Furies ride en masse through urban streets, wind through laneways and hold up traffic. Aesthetically, the Lightning Furies fall somewhere in between an outlaw bikie gang, Girl Guides, and the Vuvelini (Mad Max: Fury Road). We have a Manifesto and an Oath. We have gang colours and patches. We are fierce and inventive and ready to smash the patriarchy with boots and glitter.”

Meeting The Lightning Furies

Following a reader recommendation, I contacted the The Lightning Furies and this weekend met up with one of the co-creators, Anna.

Over a coffee, it was very inspiring to hear the background, development, reasoning and evolution of how The Lightning Furies came to be – and what they do.

I was intrigued by this project for a variety of reasons. It has significant impacts as an arts project and for personal and community development, as well as creating a space for much needed further discussions about important concepts such as gender, access to public spaces, the Australian cycling culture/s, normative behaviours, social governance and civic participation.

Their website gives a broad overview of the monthly rides and few cool snapshots of what happens on the rides, but correspondingly, these rides as a rich platform to cast a light onto the underlying ideologies, practices and outcomes that this project is addressing.

During our conversation we spoke about many ideas. We covered bikie groups, girl gangs, females feeling safe to ride bikes on the road, public perception of women riders, feminism, being part of inclusive group, how to get more women riding bikes, The Lightning Furies being invited to perform at events, the role of patches and branding, sport and female participation, and how women do (or do not) ‘take up or use’ public space. It was a great conversation!

Sharing stories and riding bicycles for personal confidence

Particularly interesting for me to hear, were the other critical ’empowerment’ aspects that were built into the project – such as the ‘crafternoon’ sessions that happen before the rides. In these session, participants make their own customised patches, bike pennants and other decorations to adorn their outfits and bikes which encourage individualism, expression of self and celebrating vibrancy through colour and art.

Not only is it valuable to be physically creative and to have a space to express yourself, but also a safe place to share stories.

It was inspiring to hear how important the ‘making’ sessions are for participants to come together and have time to not just work on this projects – but also to connect as a group of women. Anna told a few stories that while making decorations, participants would open up and discuss their riding experience, their fears, new insights and later on, how much stronger and more confident they now felt after being on a Lightning Furies ride – and how they had been able to hold on the excitement and strength they had felt during the ride, and translate it into other areas of their lives to great effect. So great to hear.

I thoroughly enjoyed my meeting with Anna and came away feeling inspired and excited about the innovative and creative ways that people come up with to get more people on bikes and The Lightning Furies is just one example of this.

 

The Lightning Furies
Source: The Lightning Furies Website

The Lightning Furies

Source: The Lightning Furies Website

 

Future Furies Action

I will be staying in touch with Anna and have invited the The Lightning Furies to guest blog post – I am very keen to see what the future holds for this group.

Whether The Lightning Furies is your style or not, they are a wonderful example of a local grassroots collaboration driven by genuine passion, creativity and a strong commitment to positive social change.

The Lightning Furies is just one example of how two women have come together to address an issue that important to them  – it presents the rest of us with a delicious challenge – what issue is important enough for us to get up off our butt and get some action and how would we go about doing it?

George’s penny farthing

George’s penny farthing

In the lead-up to my next trip down to Melbourne, I found myself cruising the bayside foreshore doing my best to soak up the afternoon dying rays and the tail-end of day’s two-wheeled community.

On this particular afternoon, there were are groups of teenagers whizzing by,  parents yelling at wayward and over-enthusiastic toddlers to looks up as they blindly pedalled away, and road cyclists trying to squeeze in just one more Strava PBs before sunset.

 

On days such as this, I love Brisbane bayside bike riding more than ever.
As I neared my exit, a curious object caught the corner of my eye. In that quick moment as I passed, I tried to reconcile if I had actually seen a giant oversized bicycle wheel sticking out from the back of a tiny car. For a moment it didn’t register, then I logic set in, and I realised it must have been a penny farthing. Well, you don’t see that every day.

George's penny farthing

George’s Rapide

With my curiosity piqued, I turned back to double-check. Sure enough there she was – a shiny, big, black beautiful, penny farthing – glorious.  As I approached, I saw the owner sitting nearby. So we struck up a conversation.

This is how I met George. He is not only the owner, but he hand-built this particular model. It took him six months to make all the parts – many of which he showed me. All the parts are measured specifically for him, the rims, spokes, wheels – the lot. He made it as in a penny farthing course that is offered only in Brisbane. There are official monthly penny farthing get-togethers around Brisbane, where all the owners, makers and enthusiasts catch up and go for a ride.

George's penny farthing

George's penny farthing

As a result of this course, apparently, there are 30 penny farthing course graduates getting around Brisbane.

George and I ended up chatting for quite a while, about bikes, riding, penny farthings and everything in between. George told me of a few daring exploits he’d had while riding his Rapide. He confirmed how difficult it is to navigate, balance and ride, but equally how much enjoyment he derived from taking her out for a spin. I t was inspiring to hear about the attention, effort and detail involved in hand turning all the parts to create this specific two-wheeled contraption – custom build by him, perfect fitted for him. Amazing.

 

George's penny farthing

 

Bespoke and custom-made – every part.

George showed me each of the individual pieces that he had made.

I marvelled at the commitment, time, dedication involved in making George’s Rapide. It certainly was a thing of simple style and beauty. I have always admired people who make their own bicycles – and even better, it was fantastic to see him out and about with it.

We were chatting at one end of a long stretch of bayside pathway, 6 km in total to the other end. George told me he was going to ride halfway up to meet a friend for lunch and then ride back. He said he liked to do it as often as he could. What a grand adventure! Although perilous when steering, he said as well as enjoying getting around on it, he liked showcasing her to the community.

It was lovely to meet George. It was just the creative and practical catalyst I was hoping for as I pack up to leave Brisbane for Melbourne for the Bicycle Futures Conference on Friday.

 

And on such a beautiful sunny day as well.
Bloody marvellous!

 

George's penny farthing

Bicycle-powered Christmas Tree

On the day before I left Brisbane to fly to Rotorua for our annual MTB pilgrimage, I found myself in the city, around South Bank to meet a friend for lunch.

While walking around South Bank,  I was happily surprised to see a bike powered Christmas tree. I’m a big fan of applying cycle-power to charge appliances and goods – for example when Robert Förstemann, the German Track Cycling Star powered a toaster to cook a single slice of bread – GOLD!

So I stopped to check it out and ended up chatting to the guy who was responsible for installing it.

Bicycle-powered Christmas tree

Bicycle-powered Christmas tree
Source: ABC News

Bike powered Christmas Tree

The tree looked very impressive standing 4.2 meters tall and apparently is the first of its kind in Australia.  There are four bikes at the base of the tree and the tree is covered in over 3,500 LED lights, so that when you pedal on a bike your riding charges up lights in certain areas on the tree.

Even when I was there in the daylight there was a line of people waiting to try it. Even in broad daylight you could see the lights happily twinkling away. The owner said this was the second year the tree had been included in Brisbane’s festivities and that it had been very popular.

I thought it was a great addition to the city – not only for Christmas, but also as a promotion for cycling and for a more thoughtful approach to energy consumption over the holiday period.

Bicycle-powered Christmas lights

In the area I live, each year, there is an increasing number of houses being decorating in a ridiculous about of Christmas lights. I know many people think it looks beautiful – and it can, but I find it difficult to reconcile the massive and wasteful energy consumption involved. But, there is a way to have beautiful Christmas lights AND be environmentally responsible as well.  To this end –  I’m waiting for the day when people who decorate their houses in copious amounts of lights or those who want to enter a neighbourhood Christmas Lights competitions – can only so so if they produce their own green/sustainable power to do so – by solar panels, pedal-power or some other sustainable source. If you can do that – go for it! Int his way, I think the bicycle-powered Christmas Tree could be a step in the right direction.

Until then, the lone pedal powered Christmas tree in the city will hopefully serve as not only entertainment, but as a reminder to the community to enjoy a more sustainable, bicycle-friendly and fit and healthy Christmas.

For more info about the bicycle-powered Christmas tree read this ABC news report about the tree here (also includes the video link below).

Melbourne Artbike Grand Prix

 Prescript: I was so excited about the cruelty-free Melbourne Artbike Grand Prix when I posted this, but have just found out (6.40pm on 1st Nov) that this event got postponed because of rain!!  What a bummer! It has been (tentatively TBC ) moved to 10th Dec –  but the awesomeness still rates, so here it is!! NG.

Today is the Melbourne Cup.

I was impressed to see that the Coburg Velodrome is holding a animal-free alternative to Melbourne Cup, by offering the inaugural Melbourne Artbike Grand Prix. If only I was still living in Melbourne!!!

screen-shot-2016-11-01-at-7-39-10-pm

Community event

This event is most certainly a community activity. First conceived by Bradley Ogden (Tower of Babel Burning Seed 2015 and Synesthesia), this is a wonderfully designed event encouraging active participation. It is a very well thought out and promoted event. From the gorgeous graphic design by Lauren Massy of @masseydesign (as seen above in social and media and online promotions) to the clear and informative website content, this is an exemplar bicycle inspired community event.

I hope they have a massive turn out, have far too much fun and the event is an outrageous success and is held for many years to come!!

For me it ticks all the boxes; supporting respectful and ethical lifestyle choices that do not harm animals, supports a charity in a productive and meaningful way, advocates for increased positive bike use, uses local cycling facilities in an innovative way that draws people to the location, has teamwork and creativity as a participatory prerequisite, is a celebration of ideas and expressions that are unusual, personal and innovative, supports a bicycle charity, creates a space for the community to come together to interact, share, have fun and be creative with unique bicycles as the central focus, and a whole host of other benefits – what more could you want?

 

Melbourne Artbike Grand Prix

All are welcome to come on the day to spectate and be part of the event. To enter, you need a team of 4 people to register ($25 per person, $100 per team), you fill out a survey and then create your art bike. As long as you follow the race rules and your bike passes the race check – you are good to compete in a relay style knock-out competition! Riders need to interchange after each lap and the first team over the line advances to the next round. There is also a solo category.  Any profits made on the day go directly to  Bicycles for Humanity.

 

Artbikes

By definition, an artbike can be cosmetically altered or purpose built – it is only limited by the owner/creators imagination. As a lover and producer of artbikes, I am particularly excited about this event. For this event, the focus is on producing creative, fun and inspirational bikes that met the criteria to enter and complete the event.

 

More info on the event:

All details are on their website where you can check the About page, Get Involved (Race, Create, Donate), Registration, Partners and the Event.  There is also a blog page.

The event blog page gives details about:

  • Some inspirational artbike pictures
  • What an art bike actually is
  • What to expect from the Grand Prix
  • Support for Bicycles for Humanity
  • Ticketing
  • Event location and timing

screen-shot-2016-11-01-at-8-00-29-pm

Bicycles for Humanity

Aside from being a brilliant day out, promoting bicycles and providing an ethical alternative to ‘riding’ to the pervasive horse racing Spring Carnival Festival, this event is a collaboration also to support Bicycles for Humanity. Aside from the event supporting this charity, there are also options to the community to support Bicycles for Humanity either financially or by bringing bikes on the day to donate.

From their website, Bicycles For Humanity explain their volunteer-run, grassroots charity organisation as being focused on the alleviation of poverty through sustainable transport – in the form of a bike.

Source: Bicycles for Humanity
Source: Bicycles for Humanity

 

They do this essentially by collecting bicycles in develop countries and shipping them developing nations so that “each of the 40 ft shipping containers that Bicycles For Humanity sends becomes a bike workshop – providing employment, skills, training, business, opportunity and economic development for the community in which it’s placed. Each of these Bicycle Empowerment Centres (BEC) becomes a self-sustaining entity – fitting very cleanly into the model of micro-financed small business that is lately seen as one of the central ways for the developing world to move away from aid dependence”.

I wish them the best of luck, would be attending with bells on if I was in Melbourne. I cannot wait to see some pictures!

For any follow-ups email: melbourne@artbikegrandprix.

screen-shot-2016-11-01-at-8-04-19-pm

‘Starry Night’ Bike Path

I am often equally baffled and concerned riding bikes around Brisbane. It is not a city designed for easy bike use. There are areas and bike path networks dotted around, but the amount and ferocity of the road traffic is of leviathan proportions. Finding and linking the Brisbane bike paths to ride to work has had a remarkable positive impact. Which is why this new Polish bike path not only useful for urban mobility and to promote bike use, but I also see it as an fantastic aspirational challenge to other cities worldwide to lift their game and invest in more infrastructure to support cycling and walking. It serves as a wonderful precedence for other urban developers, city councils and political lobbyists to use as an example of what is possible – not just for resident use, but also as a tourist draw card and showcase of national technological advancement.

 

Starry Night  Bike Path

This is the new glow-in-the-dark bike path that was unveiled this month in Poland (near Lidzbark Warminiski). This bike path is revolutionary in that it made of synthetic particles call ‘luminophores’, which charge in the sunlight during the day, and glow at night. Luminophones can emit an arrange of colour, but designers decided on blue for visibility and to blend into the surrounds. Once charged these luminophones can radiate light for up to 10 hours – making it a beautiful and safer ride home at the darkest time of night.

This next offering in the evolution of safer, more eco-friendly and cost-effective bike lanes drew on inspiration from the Dutch solar-powered TPA Instytut Badan Techniczynch Sp. Z o. o bike path from 2014, however, unlike the Dutch path by Studio Roosegaarde, this Polish contemporary requires no external batteries or power – which really steps up the innovation and utilisation factor. Find more info about the Polish Starry Night Path here.

I hope that having such beautiful, productive and eco-friendly developments such as these, that promote city bike riding will go far to set the scene for other major cities as a means to inspire and stimulate policy discussion about encouraging and supporting increased urban bike use.

 

Source: Inhabitat
Source: Inhabitat
Source: Inhabitat
Source: Inhabitat
Source: Inhabitat
Source: Inhabitat
Source: Inhabitat
Source: Inhabitat

Wheels for All -Cycling Projects

Cycling Projects is a national-wide UK charity whose focus is to provide community engagement projects so that all community members have access to cycle on a regular basis, including older people or those with restricted mobility, but especially for people with disabilities.

Wheels for All is their flagship service. It is a great initiative designed to increase the cycling accessibility and level for people with disabilities. This is achieved out of the 50 Wheels For All centres that are dotted throughout England and Wales delivering a select range of programmes and services.

Most inspiringly, these centre provide programs by being fitting out with a fleet of purpose built and adapted cycles that cater for a range of physical, mental and mobility issues. Some bike are modified two, three or four wheelers, some are for individual riders, others cater for pair, trios or four riders as well as bikes that accommodate wheelchair integration , recumbents, hand-powered, pedal-powered and tandem for the visually impaired, to name a few.

These bikes are also unique in that the design is comfortable (and enjoyable) both for the participant and their assisting partner and there is a range of bicycles that can be used depending on the needs of the participant. I was impressed with the range and versatility of the adapted bike that were on offer.

(Ohh, is that Sir Chris Hoy the UK track star in the bottom photo on the left?! I think so!!). At first glance of these bikes involved in these programs, I am immediately impressed that as much as can be given the physical control of the participant, the bicycles are designed so that the participants are physically engaged as much as is possible in the actual propulsion of the bicycle. For me, this is a critical element for projects such as this, otherwise the claim of increasing the opportunity for cycling is not justified if the only person cycling is the participants’ attendee.

I think it is equally important to have a social space in which to ride, (which these programs appear to provide), as well as having an authentic track or place to ride on. This last element for me is very important as cycling is a medium whereby people traverse through space-time geographies, and that is part of the thrill of accomplishment of going for a ride. Additionally, being in an outdoor environment where cyclist can feel the natural elements like the wind, the cold, the rush of an increase in speed or the inertia of a sudden stop are as valuable to the experience as the biological feedback experienced from riding; the heat in generated by the exertion of riding, a little sweat on your brow, the suggestion of tired legs, the way hips might wiggle as your legs go up and down –all come from being on bikes.

In the same vein, those who are unable to physical contribute to the riding, are just as much an asset and receptive to these dynamics. Other similar projects that cater to a different segment of the population, such as Cycling without Age  attest to the insurmountable benefits derived by participants from the excitement of being outdoors, the wind rushing over faces, chasing the person, watching the landscape rolling along beside the bike and just being out and about and part of a normal healthy, positive and social daily activity.

I also think it is brilliant that in May this year, they held their own Wheels for All Conference. I am a big fan of conferences as I think it is a wonderful opportunity for like-minded people to get together, and more so than a festival, to have dedicated and focused time set aside to discuss pressing issues, new developments, extend networks, identify trends and to increase awareness and exchange ideas. It was ingenious to hold this conference in conjunction with the bigger Cycle City Active City Conference that was going on at the same time as well.

Below is a simple 2 min video detailing the main ideas of the project.

Photo image sources: Cycling.org.uk, Lavish Connect & Bathnes.gov.uk

Using Bicycles to teach Systems Dynamics

I recently found an older academic paper that was published from the Uni of Illinois from 1989 reporting on an ‘innovative approach’ to teaching mechanical engineering undergrad students System Dynamics. It involved the students investigating open-ended engineering design questions in relation to bicycles for a full semester.  I love how in the introduction section pointedly justifies that ‘the bicycle is not a trivial topic, as one might suppose at first glance, but it is a rather formidable subject of study’ (Klein, 1989, p 4).

Bicycles challenging engineering ‘truths’

The paper goes into detail about the learning, philosophical and pedagogical principles for using bicycles as the instruction tool and how the program, class and resources were managed and major beneficial outcomes from the program.

The students applied a number of the theoretical concepts they were learning in class to the bicycles, thus modifying bicycles to take into account engineering qualities such as ‘zero-gyroscopic’ bicycles, which are ridable and therefore refute a common held scientific misconception that it is the gyroscopic effect of a bicycles rotating wheels that keep the bicycle upright -mythbusted!

Engineering modifications

The students put the bicycles through a number of different hardware modifications (such as flyball governors, raw egg dynamics, hydraulic servomechanisms and Passive R-L-C circuits) and apply various calculations and manoeuvrer to the bikes to test an array of laws, theories and modelling dynamics.  One of the most successful modifications the students applied was a rear-seated bicycles. Overall, many of the augmentations to the hardware that the students applied were evaluating outcomes of how power, stability, dynamics and functionality to see how they were effected.

So can they now answer..

Also, the engineering students were required throughout the semester to write their findings up in essays, of which included topics like:

Source: Klein (1989).
Source: Klein (1989).

Japan: Medical Use of Bicycles – enjoyable rehabilitation

by Sachie Togashiki

 

I found an interesting article about the development of bicycles for rehabilitation for hemiplegic patients. Sufferers of apoplexy, a percentage of which is overrepresented in mortality rate in Japan, tend to have a secondary disease, which is hemiplegic, after surgery. In order to recover from hemiplegia, rehabilitation is needed, but it usually bores patients or needs someone’s help. To solve this problem, two authors, Hiroshi Shoji and Takeshi Aoki at Chiba Institute of Technology, are trying to develop bicycles for easier and more fun rehabilitation.

How does it work?

The attraction of using bicycles as a rehabilitation tool is its sustainability, non-boringness, and refreshing feeling which comes from outside exercise. Although there is the attraction which the authors can make use of, they also need to cover some anxieties such as safety and uneasiness when pedaling. In order to guarantee safety, a foot which is not paralysed is applied a load to, so that a rider cannot pedal too fast, which results in a stable and low pedaling speed. In addition, a load is applied also to reduce patients’ uneasiness caused by a feeling of unbalanced heaviness depending on feet. The authors used an electrically-powered tricycle made by YAMAHA for an experiment and succeeded in keeping a low pedaling speed by applying a load to a healthy foot. They are going to conduct an experiment to mitigate patients’ uneasiness and to develop a smoothness when pedaling.

Significance

The article is crucial because this is an academic article which was published as a documentation of JSME (The Japan Society of Mechanical Engineers) Conference on Robotics and Mechatronics and it shows a new significant way of using bicycles. Because riding on a bicycle is lots of fun and can be done without any permanent help, the authors suggested using bicycles for rehabilitation for the hemiplegic patient, which means bicycles can be used not only for town development and disarmament, which I will report on in two upcoming posts, but for medical uses. The use of bicycles as a rehabilitation tool might enhance patients’ motivation to recover from hemiplegia and contribute to a more positive future.

Additionally, in order to get the article, I paid for it, while most of the Australian articles are available for free. This made me think about freedom for students to research in Japan, which might be a little poorer than Australia.

 

Shoji, H., & Aoki, T. (2014). Development of rehabilitation bicycle for hemiplegic patients. Proceedings of the JSME Conference on Robotics and Mechatronics, 14(3P2-G03), 3P2-G03(1)-3P2-G03(2) Retrieved from http://ci.nii.ac.jp/naid/110009967356

 

Sachie Togashiki is our Guest Blogger, unveiling some of Japan’s bicycle culture, from 11th April to 24th April.