Power To The Pedal

Competition Details
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Soluva Pedal

by Marty Odlin
Co-authors: Marty Odlin, Justine Simon

The largest group of bicyclists worldwide is the developing world’s utility cyclist. The majority of these cyclists live in warm regions and bike barefoot or in soft-soled shoes. The Soluva Pedal seeks to improve this bicycling experience, working with the natural geometry of the bottom of the foot to provide a more comfortable and biomechanical efficient pedal stroke.

Current bicycle pedals are plastic or stamped steel rectangles, generally no longer than 3". Barefoot and soft-soled bicyclists tend to put the pedal directly under the arch close to the heel. They are therefore unable to transmit the load of the pedal stroke to the lower leg, and cannot engage the calf muscle. Current pedal designs place these cyclists at a biometric disadvantage.

The Soluva Pedal design solves these problems by matching the geometry of the bottom of the foot. The pedal’s arch support enhances comfort, and the pedal is 5" long, allowing for more of the foot (including the ball) to be engaged in the pedal stroke. The pedal is double-sided: one side is a softer EVA pad for barefoot riders, and the other features a hard grip-tape for riding with flip-flops or soft-soled shoes.

The Soluva pedal base is wood processed through CNC machining. This facilitates local production as the wood can be locally sourced, and the machining done anywhere there is a CNC machine. This avoids the capital-intensive plastic injection mold designs of contemporary pedals.

The pedal’s barefoot padding is made of extremely low-cost recycled EVA foam that is cold press molded into shape. It is attached to the base by a urea-formaldehyde free resin. The carbon steel spindle is the only specific-sourced component, and can be machined locally with access to appropriate feedstock and a basic lathe.