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Bicycle Handling

Certain bicycles handle better than others when performing various maneuvers. Most bicycles are designed to have desired handling qualities based only on experience from the builder. There isn't a magical equation that the designer can use to define her bicycle geometry to perform well for the task at hand. Many attempts have been made to understand the motion of an unmanned bicycle and even controllers that can keep a bicycle upright while in motion, but very few people have attempted to understand the human factors and tie it to a dynamic bicycle model. However, a connection between handling qualities and the mathematical model of other vehicles, i.e. airplanes, have been developed and successfully allow the designer to design a vehicle with acceptable handling qualities. So I am interested in understanding why bicycles handle differently, what good and bad handling is, how to manipulate the handling qualities, and how the handling qualities relate to a dynamic model. I have found some attempts to answer the previous questions so far, but intend to search for some answers with a different approach. This webpage will help me organize my research and share it with the world. Please feel free to contact me and share your ideas and comments.

Bicycle Design

For my senior project at ODU my teammates and I designed a human powered vehicle to race in the annul ASME HPV competition and since then I have been intrigued by various aspects of bicycle design.

Appropriate Technology

The use of alternative technologies to solve problems in both the developed and developing world are important to me. I am most interested in the use of human powered machines as tools to solve problems in the developing world and to reduce our dependency on unsustainable energy sources in the developed world. I have worked in both Zambia, with Whirlwind Wheelchairs and Disacare, and in Guatemala, with Maya Pedal. I have also done projects in the states. Check out the pages below to find out more about my projects.

Human powered machines: There are many tasks that are appropriate for human power levels. Healthy humans can produce about 100 watts of power for moderate amounts of time. If the proper machine is designed to efficiently extract this power and transfer it to the desired task, then reliance on nonrenewable fuel sources can be decreased. The bicycle is the perfect example of this and improves transportation for millions around the world. Human powered machines can be helpful in developing countries were electricity is hard to come by and also in the developed world to help decrease our dependence on fossil fuels.

Zambia Summer 2006: In the winter of 2006 I attended Ralf Hotchkiss's wheelchair construction class at SFSU to prepare for a trip to work with a wheelchair center in Lusaka, Zambia. I worked with Kurt Kornbluth, Jessica Vechakul, and the Disacare team to develop a bicycle ambulance trailer and improve wheelchair manufacturing tools in Lusaka, Zambia.

Guatemala Summer 2007: I traveled to San Andrés Itzapa to work with Maya Pedal. Maya Pedal is a non-profit Guatemalan run appropriate technology center focusing on pedal powered machines. I worked with Carlos, the chief designer and fabricator, Johanna, the adminstrator, and several other volunteers from around the world. We did facilities upgrades, bicycle mantainence, machine fabrication, and machine design.

Pedal Desk Project 2007: I led a group of students from UC Davis in an Action Research Team for the Education for Sustainable Living Program. The ART was put together to idenifty a need for a pedal powered machine on campus and then to design, construct, and implement the machine. The students decided to build a pedal powered desk that would allow students to power their laptops while working at a comfortable desk enviromment.