PITTSBURG — After months of work, Pittsburg State University mechanical and manufacturing engineering technology students and staff, along with representatives of the nonprofit Live Well Crawford County, unveiled on Wednesday a unique pedicab they designed.
The pedicab project grew out of an initiative of Live Well’s Age Well task force to provide bike rides to aging and disabled residents in Crawford County.
“The idea was presented to the manufacturing and mechanical engineering students as a possibility for their senior design project,” said Brad Stroud, director of Live Well Crawford County.
Beginning last fall, the students spent an initial semester on the design phase and a second semester on the construction and testing phase for the pedicab project.
“The result is this amazing first-of-its-kind pedicab that can offer bike rides in a bench style seating but also with the ability to accommodate and adapt to loading an actual wheelchair,” Stroud said.
Laura Covert-Miller, an associate professor in PSU’s Health, Human Performance, and Recreation Department and co-chair of Live Well’s Age Well task force, spoke at the Wednesday unveiling about the uses the pedicab will be put to.
“Our students regularly within our department volunteer at a lot of the organizations that this pedicab will help serve,” she said. “So we hope to get a lot of our students involved in volunteering for being the bikers for this pedicab as well.”
PSU senior Mitchell Yeomans spoke about student involvement in designing and building the pedicab.
“Throughout this process we learned a lot of things,” he said. “It was a big project for us and one of the first projects of this magnitude that we’ve done in our mechanical and manufacturing careers.”
Stroud discussed how the pedicab will be used in the local community.
“With this pedicab, volunteers will be able to offer rides to people that are no longer physically able to pedal a bike on their own,” he said. Volunteers from PSU will offer rides to residents of local assisted-living centers.
Jordyn Bollinger, who worked as an intern with Live Well and was closely involved with the pedicab project, was also at the unveiling ceremony.
“During her internship, Jordyn’s dad was battling cancer,” Stroud said, “and I always had this thought that as we would get funding for this, Jordyn would be able to offer that first ride to her father. Unfortunately in the last year Jordyn’s dad has passed away. So in honor of her father, we’d like Jordyn to receive the first ride.”
Yeomans pedaled the pedicab on its debut ride with Bollinger riding as its first passenger.