USC engineering students test custom bike for special needs child

By Taylor Kearns - bio | email

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - Rachael Crawford has always wanted a bike, but a prosthetic leg ruled out getting one from a store. That's when several University of South Carolina engineering students stepped in.

After several months of designs and tests, the students were finally able to let Rachael take it out for a spin.

"It's a whole different thing when you test it and when you put her on it especially since she's never ridden a bike before," said student Jeremy Kostoff. "We were wondering how that was gonna factor in."

The answer was not very much, but Friday's test drive was a good chance for the guys to see if their prototype bike is on the right track. So far, so good.

"She had a pretty big smile on her face," said student Rex Garrison. "For someone that's never ridden a bike before, I thought she did extremely well."

A battery pack helps Rachael pedal. It's a feature her father Mark hopes she won't need as her leg gets stronger.

"They've gone well beyond what we hoped for," said Mark.

Mark says when it's complete, the new bike will have the whole family out on the road. "It's just gonna make her summer a whole lot better than it would have been otherwise," he said.

While more work needs to be done, Jeremy is confident he and his team are on the right track.

"We're gonna have to tweak a couple of things, make a few adjustments but hopefully after we do that, we can get it to her and she can enjoy it for the full duration of the summer," said Jeremy.

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