Gyrowheel

Last updated on August 31st, 2015 at 12:38 am

Scraped knees, bruised egos, and disappointment have long been hallmarks of learning to ride a bike, which nearly every kid tackles typically around or after the age of 4. Not to mention parental fatigue and frustration from watching a little rider struggle and suffer injury. There has to be a better way, right? That’s what we at Gyrobike believe too.

Gyrowheel was born from four of my friends’ fascination with making learning to ride a unicycle easier (and less painful!) while we were all at Dartmouth College. (They were students at the Thayer School of Engineering while I was at the Tuck School of Business.) They needed to find a way to help keep the unicycle upright so they decided to try and create a training wheel that used the same physics principles that stabilizes a gyroscope to add the stability they needed to the bike. The idea worked.

They soon realized that this would not only stabilize a unicycle but also add stability and balance to any regular two-wheel bike and that countless little kids could benefit from finding a safer and easier way to learn to ride a bike and Gyrowheel was born. For decades, most kids have started out riding a two wheeler using training wheels. The problem is that training wheels do not simulate two-wheel bike movement, and therefore do not teach the rider gyrobike1the correct way to ride a bike. Training wheels simply keep a rider from tipping over (most of the time) and teach bad riding habits, such as leaning away from a turn. Kids using training wheels develop muscle memory that is counter-productive to riding a bike. When the training wheels come off, these riders find themselves back at square one and have to unlearn bad habits.

And let’s face it, kids don’t like training wheels. Training wheels don’t look that cool when your kids’ friends are zooming around on two wheels without them. Older kids particularly feel embarrassed by the stigma of riding with training wheels. Even kids whose parents have them skip the training wheels step struggle through the learning process with trial and error and often injury. All too often we hear from parents whose kids are either embarrassed by riding with training wheels, or have gotten so discouraged from continuously falling that they give up trying. I have a friend (who shall remain nameless) who is 33 years old and was so discouraged from learning to ride that she hasn’t tried to ride a bike since she was 8 years old!

Gyrowheel replaces the front wheel of bike and is designed to fit virtually any standard bike with the same standard wheel size. Not only does it look cooler than training wheels, it adds stability to a bike and teaches proper riding technique. Gyrowheel senses unbalanced biking and re-centers the bike under the rider’s weight when the bike starts to wobble. It simulates fast biking by allowing new riders to enjoy the stability normally only experienced while biking at high speeds. Training wheels can’t do that!

Believing that we could really make a difference, the inventors and I partnered to find a way to bring the invention to all the kids and parents out there so that learning to ride would be safer, easier and a whole lot more fun – Gyrobike was founded in 2007 with this endeavor in mind.

We spent two years in product development, prototyping and exhaustive testing. Gyrowheel was designed with a disk that spins independently inside the wheel. Our challenge was to not only develop a front bike wheel with a disk that could do this, but also to find a way to get the disk to spin fast enough to create a force – the fancy term is “gyroscopic precession” – that would stabilizes the bike. This would keep the bike steady even at a very low speed – making learning to ride easier, safer and a whole lot more fun.

Our next step was to make sure Gyrowheel was the best, safest product we could make. And we went through multiple versions – first just to make sure the technology would work the way we planned, and then to make sure the Gyrowheel was little people friendly. We fully enclosed the disk to keep small fingers safe. We enclosed rechargeable batteries and motorized the disk. We created a fun design that allows kids (and adults!) to see the “magic” disk in action.

And we tested and we tested. Gyrowheel underwent many tests — including compliance, safety, and environmental — to ensure that we would be delivering a product that parents can trust. We also tested Gyrowheel on hundreds of new and experienced young riders. And what we found was:

  • When testing in the ideal environment, (i.e. a flat or veryslight downhill location free of obstacles and distractions, including siblings, pets and road hazards), our new riders have 100 percent success rate learning to ride a two wheeler with Gyrowheel.
  • On average, riders using a Gyrowheel and no training wheels learned to ride much faster than riders who had been using training wheels
  • In fact one little girl learned to ride in just 30 minutes with Gyrowheel

At the end of the day, our mission has always been to deliver a safer, more fun way for kids to learn to ride a two wheeler. And I am pleased to say that after 2 long years, Gyrobike will begin to deliver the first Gyrowheels on the market later this year. We are looking forward to seeing the first group of new, confident little bikers, who didn’t have to learn the hard way, shortly thereafter.

HEALTHFUL HINTS

Tips to Teach New Riders:

  • Avoid using training wheels!
  • Ensuring a safe riding environment is important. Choose a location free of obstacles and distractions, including siblings, pets and road hazards. Ideally the ground should have a very slight downhill slant, though flat ground works well too.
  • We recommend temporarily removing the pedals from the bike (look in the instruction manual of the bike for guidance). Note: there are lots of bike out there you can buy without pedals, but we recommend saving your money and just removing the pedals so you can attach them when your rider is ready to start pedaling.
  • Lower the seat so that both of your rider’s feet are comfortably flat-footed on the ground while straddling the bike seat. A slight bend in the knee is ideal.
  • Help the rider gain comfort and confidence simply sitting on the bike seat and holding onto the handle bars.
  • Have the rider practice pushing along the ground with his or her feet to scoot the bike around, like a seated scooter, until he or she is comfortable pushing off the ground and able to pick up his or her feet from time to time. This exercise should build confidence and balance.
  • When the rider is comfortable with this exercise, you can reattach the pedals and start to incorporate the peddling action.
  • To assist them with balance, support the rider on his or her lower back using your hands and stand to the back of the rider.
  • Do not try and hold the handle bars of the bike to support the rider.
  • Encourage the rider to “keep pedaling” and to look ahead” – these are helpful keys to success.
  • When your rider is tired or seems to be getting frustrated, take a break but have them give it another try soon.
  • Praise and positive reinforcement goes a long way – so make sure your rider knows that he or she is doing a great job!

Thank you, Texas! Little Kids Need to Travel Safely

Last updated on March 5th, 2018 at 08:07 am

Schnee - Texas_capital1Having been one of the last 6 remaining states without a child safety seat requirement, Texas passed a law, effective September 1, 2009 requiring children under the age of 8 and/or 4 feet 9 inches in height to be restrained in a child safety seat system. This includes a traditional child safety seat with a harness or a booster seat which will raise the child up enough to allow the car’s seat belt and shoulder harness to protect the child in the appropriate places and not do more harm.

http://www.corsicanadailysun.com/local/local_story_178185644.html

The necessity for protecting the youngest in our society is an adult responsibility, long overdue. So if we protect them from accidental injury while a passenger in a car, shouldn’t we be providing that same protection when they are sick and/or hurt and traveling at high speeds in an ambulance?

Something to think about . . . and maybe do something about? Isn’t every child’s life worth it???

If you agree, then there is something we can all do to help make a difference right this very minute

A lot of folks don’t know that we’re not transporting kids safely in ambulances – including those folks in Washington who could pass some laws to do something about this. So let’s make sure enough people know about this that it can’t be passed over. (…and hey, when you’re all done entering the contest, please leave a comment and let other people know what you think about safe ambulance transport for kids)

Introducing: Thank you, Texas! Little Kids Need to Travel Safely Contest

The Prize :

To two first place winners to thank you for helping us make a difference: one month of Starbucks Frappuccinos (or $25 worth on a Starbucks card)

And Here’s How it Works:

Below you will find our CONTEST ENTRY FORM. It includes our MANDATORY entry for the contest as well as the opportunity for you to enter a BONUS entry…
For simplicity (and so that you can tweet multiple times) you can use this form for each bonus entry, however, if this is an additional entry, please check the box saying this an additional entry so we know you have already completed your mandatory entry requirement

For your MANDATORY ENTRY:

Tweet the following on TwitterNew Starbucks Giveaway! We need ANSRs for Kids (Ambulances Need Safety Regulations) Every child’s life matters! http://ow.ly/hutQ Plz RT!

For your BONUS ENTRIES:

  1. Retweet the following “New Starbucks Giveaway! We need ANSRs for Kids (Ambulances Need Safety Regulations) Every child’s life matters! http://ow.ly/hutQ Plz RT!” (you may tweet once daily = 1 entry)
  2. Click on the “Share This” at the bottom of this post & submit this to your favorite social network (= 1 entry)
  3. Join our community (note: An email will be sent asking you to verify your membership – you must login to your email & verify membership ) https://pediatricsafety.net/wp-login.php?action=register ( = 2 entries)
  4. Blog about this giveaway and link to this post http://ow.ly/hutQ (=2 entries)
  5. Join the cause on Facebook and send invites to your friends – help us spread the word that things have got to change http://apps.facebook.com/causes/299331?m=3f1cca43 (=3 entries)
  6. Sign the petition – help us tell Congress that we need ANSR’s for Kids http://www.rallycongress.com/pediatric-safety/2168/ansr-kids-ambulances-need-safety-regulations/ (=3 entries)

CONGRATULATIONS TO OUR 2 WINNERSStarbucks results-2 7-31-09Starbucks results 7-31-09

Shirley Brondum – #51 – with a Mandatory Tweet

Carol Dziuba #33 – with an Additional Entry – Signed the Petition (You’ve signed! Next, send your comments as a letter to your elected officials. entry 1)

Contest Rules:

Giveaway is open to USA and Canada readers only. Giveaway starts Friday July 17, 2009 and ends at noon EST Friday July 31, 2009. Please fill out a separate form for the mandatory entry and each bonus entry so we can make sure each entry gets counted. (…that means if you completed a bonus that has 3 entries, please submit 3 forms). Please make sure each form has your name and a valid email address. You will have 48 hours to email me if you win. Winner chosen using random.org. Good Luck to all entrants!

Real Concept Drawings

Last updated on March 5th, 2018 at 08:08 am

A Graduate Student working towards his degree in bio-engineering came on board to draw some rough sketches and help us out. Boy did he ever. Our concept with all its specifications really came to life

Eng Pict 1

It needed to be easily adjustable to accommodate children of various sizes…

Eng Pict 2

It needed to be able to go from sitting up to lying flat very quickly, in case we needed to perform CPR

…and close completely for out of the way storage

Eng Pict 3

It needed to have a scale built in for accurate medication dosing and storage for access to pediatric equipment

In the Beginning

Last updated on February 26th, 2016 at 12:49 pm

It all began with an idea…then some simple crayon drawings

Kid in mom's arms - for site

I started with what wasn’t working in terms of how they were transporting kids…

orig. design of seat3

…and moved on to what could work

…what would solve some major problems and make a difference