CLEVELAND, Ohio — 5 years in the past, Ray Petro was biking on a Cleveland Metroparks mountain bike path in Strongsville when he tried to navigate a pile of fallen leaves. His entrance wheel slipped. He fell and hit a tree so laborious it cracked his helmet.
The accident broken his spinal cord and left him paralyzed under his chest. Petro, 56 moved right into a Westlake residence along with his sister, and continued to run Ray’s Indoor Mountain Bike Park, a 200,000-square-foot transformed Cleveland manufacturing unit providing indoor trails for mountain and BMX bike riders he opened in 2004.
However he missed path using.
Earlier this 12 months, he purchased an electrical, all-terrain, four-wheel, off-road quad cycle, hoping to get again on the paths. The cycle, which price about $20,000, had grime bike tires for using on out of doors trails, padded seat, and helps for his head and trunk to assist him sit up.
However he didn’t have sufficient power in his weak left arm to steer it. He wanted to have the quad cycle modified with energy steering.
Petro needed to debut his quad cycle throughout a celebration for the disclosing of a wall mural outdoors his indoor bike park within the fall. The get together fell close to the anniversary of the 2017 accident that price him the flexibility to stroll, making his quad cycle debut particularly essential.
The scholar volunteers must make time to work on the undertaking round faculty, jobs and different commitments with a view to have the cycle prepared in lower than two months.
“Are you able to make it work?” Petro requested.
‘It’s nice to offer again to him’
The undertaking referred to as for exact engineering and manufacturing. It entailed including an influence steering unit to the all-terrain quad cycle, transferring the motor to the again, and redesigning the steel linkages between the steering unit and the cycle’s motor.
The brand new steel linkages needed to attain underneath the seat and up and over the bike’s suspension, whereas nonetheless permitting the seat to be adjustable.
Volunteer Corps memberSteve Wilson, 34, of Wellington, took cost of the undertaking.
As a path bike fanatic who typically rode at Ray’s Indoor Mountain Bike Park, Wilson had heard about Petro’s accident and needed to assist a fellow rider.
“It’s nice to offer again to Ray, as a result of he’s given us a lot,” stated Wilson, who earned a level in mechanical engineering from CSU in Could.
Wilson served because the undertaking supervisor, maintaining the undertaking on monitor. He additionally dealt with the quad cycle’s electrical system and designed the linkages.
Wilson additionally recruited three associates — additionally members or associates of the Spinal Cord Injury Volunteer Corps — to assist:
Skye Carlson, 24, of Cleveland Heights, isa CSU Ph.D pupilin utilized biomedical engineering, specializing in analysis on spinal cord accidents and exoskeletons. She designed equipment for the quad cycle undertaking.
Kyra Stovicek, 23, of Vermilion, graduated from CSU in Could with a level in mechanical engineering. She helped make levers and minimize steel with a computer-controlled water jet, which makes use of excessive stress and abrasives to chop steel.
Tyler Tokarcik, 21, of Brunswick, was the undertaking’s welder and fabricator. He’s a heavy machine mechanic apprentice at Northern Ohio Scrap Companies Corp. in Euclid, and didn’t attend CSU.
The group labored in a fabrication house at MAGNET: The Manufacturing Advocacy and Development Community, a Cleveland nonprofit consulting group targeted on rising Northeast Ohio’s manufacturing sector. They used supplies left over from different tasks to adapt the quad cycle, and Petro reimbursed them for $200 in new elements.
Adapting Petro’s quad cycle was simply certainly one of a number of tasks that the Spinal Cord Injury Volunteer Corps has taken on, stated Eric Schearer, affiliate professor of mechanical engineering and director of the Middle for Human-Machine Techniques, a analysis group at CSU.
The middle’s objective is enhancing human-machine methods, comparable to synthetic limbs, by means of analysis tasks.
Others included putting in sensible door lock that operates on voice instructions, constructing ramps, and putting in sensible thermostats for folks with mobility points.
About 291,000 Individuals live with spinal cord accidents, in keeping with a 2019 report. Sports activities and recreation actions, and gunshot wounds, are frequent causes for this sort of injury, however automotive crashes and falls are the latest main reason behind this sort of injury, in keeping with the Nationwide Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Middle.
Schearer began the volunteer corps in 2021 as an outgrowth of his efforts to get his analysis college students concerned in serving to folks with spinal cord accidents. Members embodyengineers, in addition to bodily and occupational therapists.
“It permits you to make a reference to an individual, and the work turns into extra essential due to that,” Schearer stated.
The volunteers additionally discovered the work significant.
“Doing the undertaking was superior,” Stovicek stated. “It was a reminder of why we do analysis.”
‘I couldn’t consider I used to be really using’
Per week earlier than the official unveiling, Petro and the volunteers met at CSU in order that Petro may check drive it for the primary time. The engineers weren’t certain how easily the quad cycle would function.
They watched as Petro drove round a small courtyard. It labored completely, no changes wanted.
“It was wonderful. I couldn’t consider I used to be really using,” Petro stated.
Petro didn’t really trip his off-road quad cycle on the mural unveiling get together, but it surely was a part of a show explaining the story of how the volunteer corps did the engineering. About 100 company loved meals and music on the bike park that evening.
“They have been blown away by the bike. The bike is an incredible, wonderful factor to see. It’s an incredible piece of mechanical engineering,” Petro stated.
Since then, he’s taken it again on the Metropark trails, the place he can odor the flowers and bushes once more.
“It’s actually, really wonderful for me to be again on wheels.”