A Journey by Bike… taking up the challenge

Posted: August 16, 2015 in Uncategorized

The idea of the continuous bicycle transmission kept nagging at me from the back of my mind. Someone should be able to solve this problem! Why not me? I loved bicycles, loved problem solving, and had built a rack and pinion steering system for my Lego car for goodness’ sake! I accepted the challenge.

challenges-ahead

In 1995, I was attending a Philosophy conference at the University of Notre Dame. While other conference attendees were debating the merits of various philosophical systems or gleefully buying Fighting Irish memorabilia, I was thinking about the bicycle challenge… and I had a breakthrough. The idea started forming in my mind of gear segments that radiated outward from a central point, which would be moved by cables. As soon as I got back to Houston, I started working on a rough design. Our tiny apartment did not have much room for a budding inventor’s work. I was pretty much relegated to an old desk  in a corner next to our dining table. Our PC at the time was ancient and slow. I still used graph paper. But, the idea was taking shape and I was obsessed with it.

slbt1-sm

The first sketch of what would eventually become VECTr.

Throughout graduate school, I kept working on the bike transmission design whenever I could… but it kept getting pushed to the back burner. I was soon writing my doctoral dissertation and starting to apply for teaching jobs across the country. I was also working part time to pay the bills, and had little time left over for the luxury of inventing. Over the years I often biked to work, and I noticed that the gear shifting was not always precise and the chain would fall off from time to time. This made me want to start again on the bicycle transmission, which I had largely abandoned in the general busyness of life.

The challenge wouldn’t let go. I had to find a way to solve it.

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