How might we create a set of bike pedals that saves space and, in the meantime, enhances the cycling experience through a user-centered design?
THE TREND OF CYCLING
According to The League of American Bicyclists, there were about 66.25 million Americans riding bikes in 2015, compared to 50.47 in 2011. Due to more bicycle friendly communities in the United States, the number of bike commuters is also on the rise. In total, the Census Bureau estimates that there were 904,463 bike commuters in 2014, which shows a 62% increase since 2000.
With the emerging trend of cycling, market opportunities for bike accessories are on the rise. I began to consider whether innovative ideas within this product category could be turned into a marketable product that serves the needs of cycling consumers.
When walking on a college campus or through a busy, downtown area, one may likely witness the chaos that is bicycle parking. Locked onto limited space, this warzone makes for a frustrating experience when attempting to retrieve your bike from the mess. With your hands on the handlebars, the pedals below stop you from successfully pulling out your bike. Even in the sanctity of your own home with few bicycles, this can be an issue for yourself and those living among you in your household. Consider the following scenario:
you try to pull out your bike to go out, but something is wrong, so you pull harder. You pull harder and harder, when finally (without knowing it) the pedals finally release your bike from another, causing your groceries to fall all over the floor costing you time and sanity while you pick up after the mess.
How frustrating things can be...
But what if the pedals could be folded or somehow hidden? I went online to see if there were any solutions out there...
NO HANDS! THAT MIGHT HELP.
Folding bike pedals are already out there in the market. There are actually a multitude of options for cyclists to choose from. Saturated? Maybe, maybe not. As it turns out, I discovered that all existing pedals can only be folded by hand, which makes no sense at all. Pedals are for feet. . . Bending down adds yet another step to your commute, not to mention how dirty this piece of the bicycle can be, due to contact with your shoes, weather and other factors. Besides personal hygiene, some people stated that sometimes they got injured when folding up the pedals improperly (the process can be temperamental. If the pedal is not properly secured, the strong spring can loose the pedal, which can cause your hand to become lodged between the moving parts.)
There is an opportunity to design a set of bike pedals that are not bulky and could be easily folded without the use of hands to enhance the user experience.
IDEATION & QUICK MOCKUPS
After a few sketches, I started to make some quick mockups to see if the structures would work or not. Foam-core boards and pins were used to create various structures. The aim was to create a structure that could be easily folded without hands. However, the length before and after folding also needs to be considered.
3D PRINTING TESTER
After the mockups of foam-core boards were made, I moved to the CAD and 3D printing stage. Here, selected concept was put to the test to ensure that the structure would function as expected. Refinements were made based on this 3D printed tester. Beyond this point, the design would be focused more on material choice, as well as the look and feel of the pedal.
Final Prototype & Materials
Pedal Axle | Stainless Steel
Pedal Parts | Aluminum Alloy
Corby Style Rivets x 6
Socket Screws x 4
Pedal Pins x 20
Length Before Folding = 3.5 (Inch)
Length After Folding = 1.5 (Inch)