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Pedal Power

Starting from the bottom left and moving clockwise, the people in the picture are: Ryan Brune, Jason VanAtta, Allan Muzilla, Ken Wachtel, Kent Utterback, Garrett Maple, Dr. Rider (Advisor), Lauren Brohard, John Garlitz, Judson Bauman, Ben Wibberley, Jen Smith, Michael Krak and Kathie Lifer.

Those not pictured include: Dr. Sawyers (Advisor), Jeff Carter, James Grigsby, Brandon Gloss, Caldwell Reed and Ashley Batesole.

High fuel prices have you looking for alternative transportation? Ohio Northern University’s student chapter of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) may be working on an answer.

For the second year, a team of ONU engineering students entered the ASME Human Powered Vehicle Challenge this April 29 - May 1, at the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Entered in the unrestricted class, which emphasizes practicality and safety over speed, ONU’s “Bearly Racing” team finished eighth out of 19 teams from the United States, Canada, Colombia and India.

This year’s team was composed of 18 members of the ONU chapter of the ASME. While last year’s team of seniors entered the competition as a Capstone project, this year’s team entered as a chapter project, working outside their classroom responsibilities.

Ryan Brune, chapter president and team captain, says the year-long project was a real learning experience. “We learned team management skills and had a chance to apply what we’ve learned in the classroom to something practical and useful,” he says. “It’s nice that we were able to manage this on our own.”

Human-powered vehicles must be strong, lightweight and aerodynamic, and finding the proper balance can be a challenge. The ONU vehicle is built using a lightweight steel frame and road racing bicycle components. A sleek fiberglass shell helps it cut through the air. It weighs 116 lbs. and is capable of nearly 30 mph.

In addition to learning the details of how bikes work, the team learned how important time management is when dealing with such a complex project. “Making sure we had enough time to get the work done,” was a big part of it, said Brune.

In the competition, ONU’s vehicle was ranked eighth in design; eighth in the men’s sprint; ninth in the women’s sprint; seventh in utility; and tenth in speed/endurance. Last year, the ONU HPVC team finished third out of 13 teams. Although this year’s team did not finish as high, the raw scores they achieved were higher that last year’s team in every event, an indicator of how strong the competition has become in finding alternative’s to traditional transportation methods and high gas prices.

Members of the team attending the competition were: Ryan Brune, a senior from Decatur, Ind.; Jason VanAtta, a senior from Deshler, Ohio; Allan Muzilla, a junior from Wadsworth, Ohio; Ken Wachtel, a freshman from West Chester, Ohio; Kent Utterback, a sophomore from Columbus, Ohio; Garrett Maple, a senior from Lexington, S.C.; Lauren Brohard, a senior from Crawfordsville, Ind.; John Garlitz, a senior from Holland, Ohio; Judson Bauman, a senior from Sterling, Ohio; Ben Wibberley, a senior from Powell, Ohio; Jen Smith, a junior from Ganville, Ohio; Michael Krak, a senior from Senecaville, Ohio; Kathie Lifer, a senior from Shelby, Ohio.

Also on the team, but unable to attend competition, were: Jeff Carter, a senior from Wilmington, Ohio; James Grigsby, a senior from Spencerville, Ohio; Brandon Gloss, a senior from Pickerington, Ohio; Caldwell Reed, a junior from Springfield, Ohio; Ashley Batesole, a freshman from Medina, Ohio.

Chapter advisors are Dr. Michael Rider, professor of mechanical engineering, and Dr. David Sawyers, associate professor of mechanical engineering.