Scooters Race Through Engineering Plaza


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Dalton Jennings, left, prepares his team’s scooter for competition alongside teammates Cole Wheeler and Mickie Clyne.

 

With a bullhorn in hand, Lauren Cooper herds students toward a starting line she set up in the Engineering Plaza.

Clutching scooters they made in Cooper’s design class, the students eye the obstacle course ahead of them. Then Cooper, wearing a shirt that declares “Scoot Hard or Go Home,” raises her bullhorn.

“Are you ready?” she asks.

And Cooper’s first scooter challenge is on.

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Lauren Cooper, a professor in the mechanical engineering department, gets students prepared for the Impact category of their scooter challenge.

 

“They’ve been working for ten weeks on these scooters,” Cooper said as “Danger Zone” by Kenny Loggins blared from a stereo at the Bonderson.

Using supplies normally used for plumbing, students in Cooper’s class designed functional scooters that combine strength, flexibility and appealing design. And for the project finale, Cooper had them pit their scooters against each other in a series of challenges that entailed weighing, testing and competing.

Mickie Clyne, a student from Boulder, CO, had ridden Razor scooters as a child. But she had never made her own before. Her team’s scooter, she said, had an edge:

“We have more customizations for ease of use,” she said.

That included an easy-to-use brake that is activated when the rider applies their heel to a springy button. While her team has spent weeks perfecting the scooter, the competition provided a chance to show its worth.

“We finally get to apply what we’ve learned,” Clyne said.

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Alena Beyer launches from a ramp on a scooter her Kit Kat team designed.

 

Scooters were assessed in events like the Strength and Impact categories and put to use in an obstacle race and ramping contest. The challenges provided an easy way to measure the different elements of the scooter project, Cooper said.

 “Plus, I study motivation for my PhD,” Cooper added.  “Students are motivated by competition, and they want to do something tangible.”