giving dignity back to cycling elderly
Develop and engineer the Steady Companion concept
Adding stability to a bicycle is very difficult if you want to do it right - just adding rigid sidewheels will will have major impact on the cycling dynamics, and moreover creates a childish stigma. Me and my team faced this predicament by running numerous tests, build several prototypes and calculate everything for an ingenious mechanical system. To tackle the childish stigma we searched for ways of altering the product semantics.
In this project I was responsible for concept development, theory on the damping system and product semantics.
- 14 weeks
- Van Raam
- Michiel Kersteman, H. Bakayan, N. Brandhorst, R. op de Hoek, J. Nederend, M. van Spijker
The Steady Companion
The Steady Companion is an additional mechanical system to a bicycle, which provide stability in the most needed situations: curves, starting and stopping, getting on and off and at low speeds.
For elderly, the fear of being stigmatized is bigger than the fear of their own safety.
Transporting goods in bicycle bags or 'bakfietsen' is a common thing in the Netherlands. The Steady Companion is meant to look a regular bicycle bag system.
The steady companion is designed to look any ordinary bicycle bag rather than a special attached suitcase which the original concept proposed. A suitcase is associated with occasional use, like for a bicycle holiday, and would look off in everyday life.
Add stability and
keep steering dynamics
A rotational locking mechnanism makes sure the steady companion can be attached easily
the Theory and mechanics
The original concept of the steady companion was created by a bachelor student of TU Delft and it involved a stabilizing suitcase behind the bicycle. Although the principle was good, there were flaws to be found in both the mechanics as in the product semantics. This is were our team jumped in.
With low cycling speed comes instability, that on itself can cause falling. It would be a good thing to look at giving elderly stability at low speeds, this means the speeds when getting on and off a bicycle.
working mechanical prototypes
form and semantics
hiding a stigma
Throughout the design process me and my team ran several questionaires where we asked people to judge the appearance of the steady companion. We played around with the positioning of the bicycle bags, proportions and colours. By adding little elements we see in other products - for instance the gauze basket - we eventually were able to alter the overal look and feel to make it look like a bicycle bag system, without compromising on stability mechanism.