Some people will engage in bike hacks, and other people will engage in BIKE HACKS. When we are talking ALL CAPS we are talking about serious business. In a past entry I put out a call to engineers to produce stuff that riders need/want. In the entry I was a bit critical of some students that worked on bike project for a class. They created a spoke-less wheel which is kind of cool and all, but it made me think of "innovations" that are not of much practical use.
I can't bag on the students too much because I am sure they had constraints and the professor likely had learning goals in mind, but I ran into another student project that I think is practical and awesome at the same time. Some Stanford University students, participating in the Alliance for Innovative Manufacturing, came up with a full body bike. Here is a short description of the project from the site:
AIM set about the task of creating a hand and foot-pedaled bicycle of standard size and shape. As far as we are aware no such bicycle existed prior to our efforts.
The initial task was presented to a team of Stanford University senior undergraduate mechanical engineering students taking the course, ME 113 Mechanical Engineering Design taught by Professor Fritz Prinz in the Spring quarter, 2003. The students were told that they could not change anything to the rear of the handlebar neck of a normal bicycle, i.e., all changes had to take place from the neck forward. The students were given a budget of about $1,500 and ten weeks to develop a fully functional working bicycle.
Turns out Silicon Valley is not just about computer chips, check out the final result -