Engineering students design a bike that cannot be stolen.
Three engineering students at Chile’s University of Adolfo Ibáñez have designed a bicycle that cannot be stolen. More than a novel idea, Project Yerka solves a very common problem. This innovative cycle will be a game changer. (Videos)
The genius behind Project Yerka’s design is simple. The frame disassembles to act as the bike’s own lock by dividing the middle pipe and attaching it to the removable seat. Like any lock, all that’s required is a post to fasten it to. Unlike any lock, this thing is foolproof. The only way to steal this bicycle is to break its frame, which defeats the purpose.
The resale value of a stolen bike is not great when compared to other popular theft targets like laptops, jewelry, and cars. Nevertheless, “somewhere between 800,000 and two million bicycles – worth some $50 million – are stolen” every year, according to cycling lawyer Bob Mionske. The reason is simple: it’s easy.
In 2012, a New York Times journalist filmed himself stealing his own bike to gage the reaction of witnesses. Nobody cared. It takes one minute to actually steal a bicycle with a bolt cutter, but he used a power tool amid New York City’s Union Square for nine minutes before police got suspicious.
Fortunately (for us), one Chilean engineering student was the victim of bike theft two too many times, so he and his friends decided to do something about it. This common crime could now become a thing of the past, thanks to Andrés Roi, Cristóbal Cabello, and Juan José Monsalve. Here is their story.
ESQUIRE.COM: Tell me about your team and why you all decided to create this bike.
Juan José Monsalve: The three of us are studying Engineering. Cristóbal and Andrés are studying Industrial Engineering, and I (Juan José) am studying Civil Engineering. We didn’t start this because we saw a potential market with this idea but mainly because Andrés has been a victim of bike theft two times. Since then, he always wanted to create something to stop this problem and help others in the process. We, as a team, came to this idea while working on a class project. We thought this had a lot of potential and decided to keep on with this idea.
ESQ: What do you each plan to do with your future?
JJM: We don’t really a have life plan. We still aren’t graduated, and we know this is a must do at least in our country, but as to this project, we would love to make this our daily work. We really think this project can make a big impact in the whole bicycle market around the world, and we are motivated to help people who use the bike as their primary way of transportation. Those people are exposed to the theft, and we want to avoid that.
ESQ: Does the bike lock with a key? A combination?
JJM: As it’s shown on the video in our web page www.unstealablebike.com, the system uses only bike components to make the lock, and in this prototype it locks with a key, although we are working on other prototypes that lock with combinations. And why not? Even with your cell phone.
ESQ: Tell me about the bike. What is it made of? Does it come in different colors? When will the bike be for sale?
JJM: We only have one fully functional prototype at the time, but we want to make various bike models, with speeds, girl models, etc. Currently the frame is made out of steel and our intervention of aluminum. We are raising funds right now make more prototypes and to make a small volume of bikes, which are going to be the first ones to go out to the market. We still don’t have a date, but we think our first small volume will be ready in six to eight months, tops.
Photo credit: parabuenosaires.com