Friday, December 9, 2011

‘Double-decker’ bike designed by SMU junior

By Jenna Capelle
Cardinal Staff

One Saint Mary’s University student sees campus from a higher perspective than most, as he sits atop his own double-decker bike.

Over the summer, junior Jamie Cooper created the double-decker bike with a friend in his hometown of La Crosse, Wisc.

Rock climbing one afternoon, Cooper and his friend got the idea for building a double-decker bike. Neither of them had ever taken on a project like this before, but they didn’t fear the challenge.

“We were bored and thought [making the bike] would be something new to try. So we did,” said Cooper.

Out in the garage with welding masks and thick gloves, the guys stripped the steel-frame bikes completely, then welded them together with a wire-feeding welder. The welder melted the steel, connecting the two bikes.

A chain is stretched between the top and bottom bike frames. As Cooper pedals on the top frame’s pedals, the chain propels the bottom frame’s wheels, moving it forward.

“The hardest part was getting the chain to work,” said Cooper.

So far, Cooper and his friend have made two bikes, and Cooper plans to make more. The two bikes used for Cooper’s double-decker were donated by a local bike shop and the other double-decker was made from old bikes from his friend’s house.

Cooper wants to make a double-decker with Outdoor Leadership Coordinator Gary Borash and submit it to the Taylor Richmond Benefit Dance Auction next semester.

Besides wheeling around campus this fall, Cooper rode his double-decker bike to work and friends’ houses during the summer months. At SMU, he’s made a name for himself as “the guy with the big bike” and gotten a handful of questions about how to ride it as well as how he made it.

“To get on the bike I just kick start like a skate board and then climb up,” said Cooper.

Cooper is a graphic design major with an emphasis in photography. With encouragement from his advisor, he decided to enter his bike in the SMU all-student art show and received honorable mention. The exhibit can be seen in the Lillian Davis Hogan Art Galleries.

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