CEDARVILLE — The Bike of the Future, a bicycle that combines pedal with electric power on a walnut frame, will debut in South Bend, Ind., July 29.
Engineering and design students at Cedarville University created the new bicycle. As part of the Dayton Right to Life’s annual bicycle trek between the University of Notre Dame and the University of Dayton, Mark D. Weinstein, executive director of public relations at Cedarville University, will cycle 240 miles on the bike. It will be the longest ride for this state-of-the-art e-bike since it was built May 2017.
Joining Weinstein will be Cedarville staff members Bob Bielek (physical plant) and Monte Veatch (food services) as well as alumnus Scott Wrigglesworth. This will be Weinstein’s fourth ND-to-UD bike ride.
Twenty-four riders will depart Notre Dame near the Golden Dome 8 a.m. en route to Grace College in Winona Lake. The group will make stops in Decatur, Ind., and Minister, before reaching the University of Dayton Tuesday, August 1.
“I am looking forward to seeing how this wooden bicycle handles during the four-day ride,” Weinstein said. “I have a high level of confidence in the manufacturing by the Cedarville University students, and the craftsmanship of Professor Jay Kinsinger, who designed and built the wooden frame. I’m expecting a fluid and comfortable ride.”
The bicycle was built as a capstone project for the Cedarville University students. Shortly after it was built, the bike was sent to the North American Handmade Bicycle Show in Salt Lake City, and drew rave reviews from enthusiasts. E-bikes are a new trend, and they come equipped with a battery and motor, which can assist the rider in movement. Still, the bike can function as a normal two-wheeler — only giving assistance to the rider whenever necessary.
The engineering and design students created the bike with a wooden frame because Kinsinger, associate professor of mechanical and biomedical engineering, has long built wooden bicycles for his family and friends. He once made collapsible wooden bikes for his family to take on a European vacation. The business students created a marketing plan so the finished product could be sold.
“This is the first capstone project with an emphasis in collaboration between majors,” Kinsinger said. “It’s a very open-ended project. There’s no answer in the back of the book for this one. Ultimately, we’re going to check to see what the demand is for an e-bike and hopefully take some orders.”
Kinsinger said e-bikes are huge in Europe and Asia, and he sees a great potential market in the United States.
“You still pedal, but the bike helps you,” he said. “The harder you push, the more it helps. In Europe, you see 70- and 80-year-olds cruising along on these.”
Story courtesy Cedarville University.