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On Wednesday 25 January Marling school entered a team of four student engineers into a scrapheap challenge competition hosted by Jole Rider (The Bike Shed) in Tetbury. Our team was made up of Angus Gould, Ben Gray, Peter Dickinson, and Fergus Bentley. The brief was to create a device that was capable of transforming a bicycle into a workstation, with its own pedal-powered desk lamp.

The task was inspired by the engineering feats of William Kamkwamba, a Malawian teenager who used scrap parts to build a wind turbine to produce electricity for his village. Bikes4Africa is Jole Rider’s flagship programme in support of its mission to change lives through education. This is why the challenge revolved around the use of one of the thousands of bicycles collected by the charity, ready to be shipped to Africa.

Each team brought a unique solution to the task, which asked for a rapid, straight forward assembly and disassembly. At the end of the day, after presenting our contraption to the panel of six judges, a race was held to determine the design which best fit this criterion. We were quietly confident about our design but we did not expect to see Ben riding away on our bike in only 2.5 seconds followed by KLB with a time of over 30 seconds.

After a week of eagerly waiting to hear from the judges, the results were in! We had won and the rusty man trophy was on his way to Marling. We’re grateful for the opportunity we were given by Jole Rider – it was an incredibly fun and unique experience and we can’t wait to take part again. 

Angus Gould and Fergus Bentley

 
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