By James DeMartino - Founder and President - Y Bicycle Association
The Bicycle – We all know about bicycles, we learn to ride a bicycle from an early age, 3 or 4 years old, some younger, many older. We started on tricycles maybe a Big Wheel, and then progressed to a two-wheeler with training wheels and one day we even removed the training wheels and rode on our own.
Some children use the bicycle to ride to school, some to a friend’s house and some just like to ride and go fast up and down the street. Then there are BMX and mountain bikes which open a whole new adventure for children. As we grow, work and move to urban areas the concept of affordable transportation and commuting become priority. There are even some who desire a healthy lifestyle and use the bicycle for exercise and possibly competition. Finally, if you have a life long enthusiasm for bicycles, you open up a retail store to sell the most popular bikes, rent bikes and even repair and maintain bikes.
The fact is historically, people have grown up with the bicycle. But, do we know about the bicycle? Do we realize the Aerospace industry was launched by the Wright Brothers who had a small shop and built bicycles? Many of the principles used to design and test for the first recorded flight were based on their knowledge and understanding of the bicycle. One of the designs of their airplane was propelled by pedal power. Do we understand the technology of mechanics, structure, metals and composites? Or do we know the math of geometry for design and function, gear ratios for speed, formulas for power conversion and watts? Have we thought about the engineering required for the combining of different composites and components to structurally withstand stress in order to function as intended? Finally, have we considered the science of momentum, aerodynamics, energy, health, fitness and even environmental impact?
The point of this litany is the Bicycle is the ultimate product for teaching children about the principles and application of STEM. People of all ages have grown up with the bicycle and we
can all relate to it. Parents and grandparents can even help children learn about STEM by using the bicycle as an example in principle and reality; they can all go for a ride!
Students can connect with parents, teachers, engineers and scientists because they all have a common understanding of The Bicycle. The best method to promote STEM education is begin with this common understanding and develop the desire and knowledge to pursue education in the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. With a good understanding of basic principles, creative thinking and a desire to improve a common product the limits are boundless.
Without realizing it, you have learned, lived, loved and developed your own career all because of a bicycle. This is what a bicycle has done for many generations and with the proper direction can provide even a better future for generations to follow.
To Educate our youth about the benefits of cycling from safe riding to a healthy lifestyle.
To provide and support bicycle programs to all children in rural and urban areas.
To provide an awareness and understanding of the bicycle industry.
To promote enthusiasm for creative design and function for the future of cycling.
To encourage and foster continued learning of bicycle design and manufacturing in conjunction with high school STEM programs.