Teens showcase ingenuity with bicycle lock invention
Extendolock aims to curb helmet theft
By: Amy Crofts
| Posted: Saturday, Apr 27, 2013 06:00 am
With a homemade invention, two teens are trying to make the streets of St. Albert safer … for cyclists.
Vincent J. Maloney Catholic Junior High School students Lane McMartin and Garrett Range unveiled the “Extendolock” bike lock extension at the Invention Convention at St. Joseph High School in Edmonton on Thursday.
The event was hosted by the Learning Partnership’s I3 Investigate! Invent! Innovate! an integrated science and technology program for Grades 7 and 8 students.
In a matter of weeks, McMartin and Range put their heads together and came up with a simple device that can attach a helmet to a bicycle lock so cyclists don’t have to haul it around.
For Range, it was personal experience that sparked the idea.
“I’ve had a few helmets stolen,” admitted the 14-year-old inventor. “I just left it on [my bike] went into a gas station to get a slurpee and it was gone when I came back.”
The duo explained helmets are the most common bike accessories to be stolen. Although Extendolock works ideally for helmets, it can also be used to attach bags, purses and strollers to the bike lock.
The Grade 8 students crafted their prototype out of cloth and were hoping to construct the final design out of Kevlar, but the material they ordered didn’t arrive in time for the convention.
“Ideally it would be made of a strong substance,” said McMartin. “We also wanted to make it thin because bike helmet holes are really small. If you were to go to the store a lot of people would say ‘well why not use those rope [locks]?’ but those are too thick.”
The teens shared their invention with more than 700 students from 11 schools and three school boards at the sixth annual Edmonton Invention Convention. Conventions were also held in Calgary and Toronto; inventions included an adjustable hockey stick, a hygienic toilet seat cover and a bicycle equipped to charge your cellphone or iPod as you ride.
McMartin and Range said they will continue to make improvements to Extendolock, which will be a staple on their bicycles this summer.