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  • Brea Love
  • Wed March 30 2016
  • Posted Mar 30, 2016
IOWA CITY, Iowa (KCRG-TV9) –Students in University of Iowa Professor Steve McGuire’s design and fabrication class are the only students selected to participate in the North American Hand Built Bike Show.

These art and engineering students learn to build a bicycle from the ground up over one semester. They start with design, then move to fabrication using marketable skills like mitering and welding.

“I was looking for a course that puts students in the position to create something that had personal meaning, and at the same time allow them to explore a set of skills that were broadly applicable across a number of disciplines,” McGuire said.

Engineering senior Kenny Robson said seeing the experience previous students received attracted him to the course.

“In my regular mechanical engineering courses we hadn’t had a lot of hands on manufacturing and hands on fabrication,” Robson said. “Hoping this would be that class for me to really learn some hands on fabrication skills.”

After completing their bikes, students are allowed to do what they want with their product. McGuire said one student won a triathlon with her bike, while others toured the country on theirs.

Each student is invited to take their bike to the North American Bike Show and network with famous designers and fabricators from all over the world.

“I think that the newer students were kind of blown away by the people who were there, you know really famous people,” McGuire said. “The conversations that they had with the different range of people. The people who were simply attending, people who were curious about a given bike a student had made. The conversations with those folks put students in a position to have a great deal of pride over their workmanship.”

Those conversations have also turned into future opportunities. Students have earned internships, and four have gone on to work as frame builders for major bicycle companies.
No matter the outcome, McGuire hopes each student finds a unique purpose for their bike.

“Right now we’ve got 80 students who’ve taken the course and they’re spread out all over the United States after graduating and I like to picture them riding their bike,” he said.

The next group of students will visit the bike show in Salt Lake City, Utah next year.


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