Julie Medero, an engineering grad student and car-free mother of two, is teaming up with fellow engineering and business students in an effort to get more people on bikes.
Julie and her team are currently preparing for University of Washington’s Environmental Innovation Challenge, where engineering and business students are encouraged to team up and develop new products that could have a positive environmental impact.
This year, Julie is working with Henry Kellogg (of Liontail Cycles) and a great team of students who want to get more people on bikes with the help of their new gadgets.
“We’ve developed a new electric assist kit that powers a hub motor, a bright light system, an optional blue-tooth speaker system and a smartphone charger,” Julie revealed. “The kit is coming along great, and we expect to have a prototype up and running on a Madsen for the competition on April 4.”
In the meantime, the team is collecting data to convince the judges that bikes aren’t just a niche market and that the kit is worth investing in.
“We created the survey to try to better understand the obstacles to biking that people face. We want to know how well the product we’ve developed addresses those obstacles,” said Julie. “In particular, we need to be able to convince the judges at the EIC competition that bikes in general, and electric bikes in particular, have the potential to be more than a very small niche market.”
Herself a proud owner of electric assisted Madsen, Julie believes e-assist bicycles are one way to make biking attractive to more people, especially for those needing to carry groceries, kids or equipment.
Julie said adding the electric assist to her bike made it possible for her to continue transporting her kids and run errands as the kids were get bigger.
“I’ve been surprised by how many more people have seen my bike and felt like it was something they could see themselves doing since I added an assist to my bike,” she said. “I think it makes it seem more relate-able so people don’t just think that I have some sort of super-human strength they could never muster.”
Help Julie and her team impress the judges by completing this 10-minute survey. As a Thank You, you’ll be entered into a drawing to win a $50 REI giftcard.