- Learning to ride a bike without training wheels requires a beginning rider to risk falling and being injured
- On the other hand, learning to ride a bike with training wheels does not provide a novice rider the desired feel of balancing his/her own body weight on two wheels
- Most beginning riders want both:
- To avoid injuries that might occur when they lose their balance, and
- To enjoy the thrill of trying to balance their own body weight while riding
- Real-Time Retractable Training Wheels allow novice cyclists to experience the feel of balancing on a bike without training wheels, while at the same time providing the rider a back-up plan if they begin to fall
- When the rider twist the handle bar grip, the training wheels lift off the ground, transforming it into a regular bike
- When the retraction button is pressed, the training wheels return to the ground
Expanded View of Twist Grip
- The wheel assembly pivot arm (N) is unlocked and raised by turning the grip (I) toward the front of the bicycle with the right hand. The wheel (P) is also raised, as it is attached to the pivot arm (N). The pivot arm (N) will lock in the up position when the grip (i) is rotated one quarter of a turn.
- If the rider loses his or her balance and begins to fall while the pivot arm (N) is unlocked, the pivot arm (N) on the side facing the fall will be locked in whatever position it is in as soon as the wheel (P) touches the ground. This gives the bicycle support and the rider a chance to recover his or her balance.
- When the pivot arm (N) is locked in the up position, pushing the release button (A) allows the training wheels to return to the ground and lock. Even if the rider is holding the grip (i) firmly in the raised position, the wheels (P) will return to the ground when the release button is engaged. The rider does not need to twist the grip (i) back to the starting position to reset the grip. It will reset itself automatically as soon as the wheels (P) comes down.
How Effective Is It – A Case Study
- Participants included randomly selected 3, 4, and 5 years olds
- Participants were randomly assigned to one of two groups: the control group (riding a normal kids bike) and the RTW group (riding a bike with retractable training wheels). The samples were blocked for gender and previous bike riding experience.
- Each participant was given 5 minutes to practice riding both a normal kids bike without training wheels and the bike with retractable training wheels.
- Then, each participant attempted to ride their respective bike as far as they could without falling (or lowering the training wheels for the RTW group). A spotter followed to catch their fall. Their maximum distance was recorded for each of two trials.
How Effective Is It – Case Study Results
- Null hypothesis: Bikes work equally well
- 2-sample t-test:
- t-statistic = -4.4
- p = 2.2 x 10-4 < 0.001
There is sufficient evidence to conclude with high confidence that 3 to 5 years olds can maintain their balance for longer periods of time on RTW bikes.
Maintaining balance for longer periods leads to a steeper bike riding learning curve and reduces falls and injuries.
When his younger twin sisters were learning to ride a bike, Peyton Robertson invented real-time retractable training wheels.
Demand for the idea was first generated when Peyton showed the invention on the Ellen DeGeneres Show and at the White House Science Fair.