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Mike Augspurger, Handcycle Inventor
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Mike Augspurger working on his handcycle

Mike Augspurger working on his handcycle

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Augspurger demonstrating his handcycle

Handcycle Inventor

Mike Augspurger--a mountain biker and bicycle builder--created an innovative all-terrain handcycle for wheelchair athletes.

Augspurger’s lifelong interest and training in mechanics, bicycle design, and off-road racing led him to start a bike company. Along with custom bikes, he made racing chairs for wheelchair athletes. But he was never satisfied with the basic wheelchair technology.

“I always thought, coming from bicycles, “What about cranks? What about gearing?” I kept having an image of this design in my head, and I thought, “I want to make my own. I think I can do better than this.””

Augspurger wanted to create an arm-powered vehicle similar to a mountain bike for people who can’t use their legs. He bought and rode every handcycle available, noting what he liked and didn’t like.

“You want to innovate as much as you can, but that doesn’t mean reinventing the wheel. It’s copying up to a point, and then if you do have something innovative it’s no longer copying--it’s a new idea.”

After ten years of generating ideas and rough sketches, Augspurger built and tested his own handcycle. He wanted it to offer high performance over rough terrain. So he had to figure out how to provide the smoothest possible ride while having the cyclists pedal with their arms and steer at the same time.

Next: How did Augspurger solve the problem?›

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