We are the students who worked with Worcester Earn-A-Bike in order to develop an alternative bicycle for people with different disabilities including Down syndrome, autism, and cerebral palsy. Balance issues are associated with each of these disabilities, making it difficult to ride a standard bicycle. As bicycling is a great form of exercise, recreation, and transportation; it is important to give everyone the opportunity to enjoy this activity.
Worcester Earn-A-Bike is a non-profit organization which supplies bicycles to those who volunteer in their shop for a number of hours. Their mission statement is “to teach fun, affordable bike repair to neighborhood youth and community members by providing tools, instruction, and repairable bikes and parts. We encourage bicycle riding as an empowering, economical, and healthy alternative to car culture.”
There are two main programs: Youth Earn-A-Bike and Earn-A-Bike 17+, where people can volunteer their time repairing and building bicycles, as well as maintaining the shop. After accruing a set number of hours, volunteers can build their own bicycle using parts available at the shop. Through these programs, Earn-A-Bike provides inner-city kids with a safe place to go where they can have fun, learn a skill, and help their community.
Goal and Objectives
Earn-A-Bike had received requests for adaptive bicycles for use by people with special needs. Since Earn-A-Bike would like to give everyone the opportunity to ride a bicycle, our goal for this project was to develop an alternative bicycle for adults with Down syndrome, autism, and cerebral palsy. Our bicycle design had to be safe, comfortable, user-friendly, affordable, and upgradeable so that it may be used by patrons of Worcester Earn-A-Bike. In order to achieve our goal, we developed the following objectives:
1. Identify appropriate modifications that can be made to existing bicycles to accommodate people with Down syndrome, autism, and cerebral palsy
2. Create bicycle designs which incorporate the modifications identified in objective (1)
3. Assess the feasibility of our proposed designs in terms of cost, materials, and fabrication
4. Prototype the most feasible design
5. Identify potential sources of funding for Earn-A-Bike
6. Determine how to educate the Earn-A-Bike community on adaptive bicycles
The students who worked on this project are Bror Axelsson, Jaclyn DeCristoforo, Kyla Rodger, and Aida Waller, undergraduate juniors studying at Worcester Polytechnic Institute. Bror is a an Aerospace Engineering major; Jaclyn and Kyla are studying Biomedical Engineering; and Aida is a Mechanical Engineering major.