Tuesday, 22 May 2012

The Experiments Continued- The Bike

"Bike" Mike Tymko- Mount Royal University, Calgary, Alberta

I first met Phil last summer when I was working in Trevor Day's lab (my physiology teacher) at Mount Royal University. We have been in contact with Phil and his graduate students throughout the summer as we were doing similar work as them. Rachel (Trevor's other research assistant) and I decided it was time to meet the Kelowna crew late last fall, so we picked probably the worst weather conditions possible to drive out to Kelowna and away we went. Rachel and I got to Chris' place quite late (thanks again Chris) had a few beers and then headed to bed. As soon as I woke up the next morning, I got an email from Phil asking me if it was possible to build a Supine exercise bike that can be tilted at a 45 degree angle, portable (to bring up to the pyramid lab), adjustable (to accommodate different subjects) and would have to be able to measure wattage output and cadence...after I mended my alcohol induced headache, I agreed to take on the challenge!

After the winter semester had finished and I was back from my ski trip early January, I started sketching out how I was going to build a supine exercise bike. I spent about a week planning how I wanted to approach the build and I also bought a small Mig welder with some scholarship money I earned. It had been a while since I had welded last, so I practiced on some scrap steel until I had the right heat settings and technique down. I began by buying roughly 20 feet of 2 inch channel steel (very light) and used this for the frame. I made sure to cut the frame in separate pieces small enough to fit into a suitcase. I then went to WalMart and bought their finest mountain bike, I cut the bike in half, leaving the pedals, gears and rear tire attached. I then mounted the rear half of the WalMart bike onto the supine bike frame.

After a couple of trips to Kelowna showing them the progress and getting feedback, Chris suggested that I use a Lemond bike trainer since it would be able to measure what was needed for our experiments. Time was running out as it was the end of January at this time and the bike would be needed for baseline testing mid February. As soon as I got back to Calgary I ordered one of the Lemonde bike trainers and it arrived at my house in about a week. After a bit of thinking, I was able to mount the trainer to the bike frame...the light hunk of metal could now officially be called a supine bike!

That weekend my friend Nathan and I drove out to Kelowna to present my supine exercise bike. We had a little bit of a scare as when we arrived the bike did not produce the amount of resistance needed, so after talking to Gord Binsted that night (the bike guru) he came to the conclusion that the problem lied within the WalMart mountain bike I bought (who would have thought!). It seemed that the gear ratios were not optimal, but thankfully Gord was able to take the supine bike into a local bike shop and got the issue sorted out...finally, the supine bike was finished with only a day to spare.

I'm going to say it right now...the bike has its flaws! The biggest being that it is about 3 times heavier that we wanted it to be, but we were able to get the baseline data we needed to get, and we are now only a couple experiments away from being finished with it here up in the pyramid lab. Although the supine bike build has been a bit of a pain and I now hate the drive from Calgary to Kelowna, it has been awesome to get to know everyone that has played a role in Nepal expedition. Also, big thanks to Phil, our fearless leader, for inviting me on this expedition as it has been an incredible experience.

1 comment:

  1. The frame color is a simple, subtle cream contrasted by the bold orange rims.

    cruiser bicycle