Groundbreaking Bike


Teresa Lourie and Max Ingersoll

The Groundbreaking Bike is an attempt to add delight to the groundbreaking ceremony at the North Point Development in Cambridge and Somerville. A traditional groundbreaking ceremony consists of government officials and executives from the development company lining up with hardhats and often gold-plated shovels, and shoveling some dirt that was dumped in front of them by a dump truck. It is a good way for the company to celebrate the end of the arduous planning stage of creating a building, and the start of the building stage, but the ceremony is very dull for onlookers. The Groundbreaking Bike changes that.

Designed for DivcoWest, The Shovel Bike is a fully-mechanical, bike-powered steampunk digger, which is designed to be ridden at the groundbreaking ceremony in October 2017.  Cambridge and Somerville are known for their large population of avid bikers, as well as their emphasis on sustainability and environmental conservation. The Shovel Bike was designed to represent those values, and show that the North Point development would share those interests and mesh well with the other neighborhoods in those cities.

  When the user bikes, a shovel in front of the front wheel digs in a triangular motion, similar to how a human would dig. This motion consists of thrusting the shovel into the dirt, pulling it out, moving it to the side, and dumping the dirt. The front wheel of the bike is a sprocket, which the bike chain rides on. A gear train is attached to the sprocket, which gears down the pedaling, and increases the angular velocity of the last gear. A bevel, which changes the axis of rotation, is then attached track holding the shovel.