While it’s called the “Bike of the Future,” it looks decidedly like many bikes from an era gone by. Well, other than its sheer beauty in a spectacular walnut frame. What makes it the “Bike of the Future,” however, is the fact that students at Cedarville University have designed it to combine pedal power and electric power in one mainframe and they’re bringing it to Michigan’s Great Southwest to show it off ahead of their “Ride for Life” event.
The unique bike will ride through northern Indiana in a trip that begins at the University of Notre Dame on July 29th, sponsored by the Dayton Right to Life group. Before that historic trip gets underway, however, former St. Joe resident Mark Weinstein will share it in Stevensville on Friday, July 28th at a place yet to be determined.
Weinstein has been on the Notre Dame to University of Dayton “Ride for Life” on three of its first four years, so, on the fifth anniversary of the 240-mile, four-day bike ride through Indiana and Ohio, Weinstein requested the right to use the e-bike, as it has been dubbed.
This bicycle was made by engineering and design students at Cedarville University in suburban Dayton, where Weinstein is Executive Director of Public Relations. As part of the Dayton Right to Life’s annual bicycle trek Weinstein will ride the 240-miles on the “Bike of the Future.” It will mark the longest bike ride for this state-of-the-art e-bike since it was built in May 2017.
Weinstein, formerly of St. Joseph, and Winona Lake, Indiana, and his fellow 20-plus riders will depart near the Golden Dome at Notre Dame on Saturday, July 29, at 8:30am en route to Grace College in Winona Lake. The riders will spend the night in the Gordon Recreation Center at Grace College, before leaving July 30 for Decatur, Indiana. The group will ultimately arrive at the University of Dayton on Tuesday, August 1st.
Weinstein says, “I am looking forward to seeing how this wooden bicycle handles during the four-day ride.” He adds, “I have a high level of confidence in the manufacturing by the Cedarville University students, and the craftsmanship of Professor Kinsinger. I’m expecting a fluid and comfortable ride.”
The bicycle was built as a capstone project for mechanical engineering, industrial design, and business students at Cedarville University, a Baptist university of more than 3,700 students. The bike, shortly after it was built, was sent to the North American Handmade Bicycle Show in Salt Lake City, Utah, and drew rave reviews from bicycle enthusiasts. E-bikes are a new trend among bicycle riders, and they come equipped with a battery and motor, which can assist the rider in movement. Still, the bike can function as a normal bike–only giving assistance to the rider whenever necessary.
The engineering and design students created the bike with a wooden frame because Jay Kinsinger, associate professor of mechanical and biomedical engineering at Cedarville University, has long been making wooden bicycles for his family and friends. He once made collapsible wooden bikes for his family and their European vacation. The business students created a marketing plan so the finished product could be sold.
Kinsinger says, “This is the first capstone project with an emphasis in collaboration between majors.” He notes, “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 explained that e-bikes are huge in Europe and Asia, and he sees a great potential market in the United States. He says, “You still pedal, but the bike helps you.” He reports, “The harder you push, the more it helps. In Europe, you see 70 and 80-year-olds cruising along on these.”
Jim Stevenson is President of the International Center for Creativity and supporting instructor of industrial and innovate design for Cedarville University students. He tells us, “Each of our three programs – engineering, design and business – are interested in innovation and creating ‘real-world’ projects to enhance the student experience, but each of our disciplines bring something diverse and unique to the process.”
Located in southwest Ohio, Cedarville University is an accredited Baptist institution with an enrollment of 3,760 undergraduate, graduate, and online students in more than 100 areas of study. Founded in 1887, Cedarville is recognized nationally for its authentic Christian community, rigorous academic programs, strong graduation and retention rates, accredited professional and health science offerings, and leading student satisfaction ratings. For more information about the University, you can visit www.cedarville.edu,