Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Discovery World Bike Campers Design Commuter Bikes, Plan Bike Routes

The bike riders of the future want gears on their commuter bikes and protected bike lanes. 
Josh explaining bike systems

The middle and high school students who attended Discovery World's Bike Shop Summer Camp spent one day with Ben's Cycle learning about how bicycles work in order to create a perfect urban commuter. 

During the morning at Ben's,the campers learned how the different parts of a bicycle work together from Josh, the lead mechanic at Ben's. Josh explained about gears, singles-speeds, side-pull and disc brakes, and different wheel sizes and tire material. The purpose was to understand what choices a bike designer had in creating a commuting bike that would be affordable to everyone, easily maintained, and durable. 
Campers fixing flats.

The campers also had a chance to repair flat tires and dissect an internal gear hub. 
Paul giving campers options for commuter bikes

The group returned to Discovery World and began to plan out specific commuter bike routes from different points in the area to downtown and Discovery World. They used maps from the Wisconsin Bike Federation to plan routes along bike paths and city streets. 

Each group of campers chose to use protected bike lanes - which separate riders from traffic using flexiposts and/or parking lanes - to create safe cycling routes. 
Finally, the group got to work on creating their ideal bikes. Rather than the single-speed disc-brake options the adults chose, all of the students picked geared bikes - although some with internal hubs. 

These students are all interested in design, and with more and more people using bikes for transportation, this camp gave these young people a chance to explore bike design and city planning. 

The future of bike design is in good hands. 

All photos by Peter DiAntoni

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