Being a cyclist can be fraught with danger. Not only must you be ever vigilant of drivers who either ignore you at junctions or don’t give enough room when they pass by on the road, and pedestrians glued to their phones stepping off the pavement because they couldn’t hear you coming, there are also those that think that stealing your bike to make a quick buck is somehow acceptable.
We’ve all heard stories, seen videos or know someone who has had their bike stolen. Even if the bicycle in question has been – seemingly securely – locked to a purpose-built bike rack, stand or dock, thieves use bolt-cutters or specialist cutting equipment to make away with their quarry.
Also, from a cyclist’s point of view, bike locks themselves clearly aren’t cut out for the job. Too thin and feeble looking and they’re a target, too bulky and they’re a pain to carry around either in a bag or wrapped around the frame, getting in the way and ruining your aerodynamics (if you’re in shape enough to worry about such things).
This month’s challenge therefore is to design a thief-proof bike lock that is also easy to carry around. Perhaps your design will feature a super-strong materials innovation, maybe an upgrade to the general bicycle parking infrastructure is needed, or it could be some sort of fastening or adhesive challenge. Either way, it must be compact, lightweight and impossible to break.
The idea we have in mind will be revealed in the September issue of Eureka! Until then see what you can come up with. Submit your ideas by leaving a comment on the Coffee Time Challenge section of the Eureka! website or by emailing the editor: firstname.lastname@example.org
The solution to August’s Coffee Time Challenge of designing a thief-proof bicycle lock that is also easy to carry with you comes from Chilean startup YERKA Bikes. The company says it’s bikes are the first in the world to have a padlock integrated into the structure of the bike itself.
In a matter of seconds, the frame and the seat post become a hermetic lock with dimensions of 17 x 25cm that is said to be adaptable to any structure. The frame is said to be lighter than those of similar traditional bicycles and furthermore, the wheels provide additional security thanks to their anti-theft nuts, which use a unique pattern so no extra U-lock is required. In other words, to steal a YERKA bicycle, the structure must be so damaged that the bicycle cannot be used and loses its commercial value.
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Coffee Time Challenge is just a bit of fun, but it is based on a real engineering solution. If you send in your ideas by using the
comment button below, we can add your solution as an alternative – perhaps something funny, practical, cheap or, of course,