Web edition: October 1, 2012
Pittsburgh’s many hills aren’t kind to bikers. Anyone hoping to pedal to work there has to contend with steep streets like Canton Avenue, which famously climbs at a nearly 40-degree angle. As a result, some residents avoid biking altogether.
But University of Pittsburgh graduate Micah Toll, 23, and a few friends recently launched an invention that they hope will increase the city’s pedal power: An electric bike called a Pulse PEVO. A superstrong battery powers the bicycle. Able to hit nearly 20 miles per hour without pedaling, it zips up the city’s most daunting hills. Toll hopes it will persuade people in Pittsburgh and elsewhere to get out of their cars and onto bikes.
Toll's success is but one, described here, illustrating how teens used problems in their community to inspire a research project.