Richmond High e-Bike challenge enjoys record participation

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It was a record-breaking feat at the Richmond High track last week – and it took minimal physical effort.

The Richmond High School E-Bike Challenge, sponsored annually by Chevron Richmond as part of the Project Lead the Way Engineering Academy, took place for a seventh straight year on Nov. 21 and featured the program’s largest number of teams to date.

The students’ mission: to design and build electric bikes.

“I think this is the best year so far in terms of all the kids coming and participating in the program,” said Cortis Cooper, the Chevron Energy Technology Co. fellow who organizes the program every year.

The e-bike challenge takes place over the course of several months and has Chevron employees mentoring students and acting as judges in the competition.

Teams of five students alongside mentors are asked to research and submit proposals on designs for electronically-powered bicycles. After their proposals are reviewed by engineers, parts are ordered and the technology is assembled, Cooper said.

After the bikes are built, they race several distances on the Richmond High track, and also partake in braking and beauty competitions.

Last year, there were six teams. This year, 10 teams participated, although only 9 were prepared to compete on Nov. 21.

The program has been a fun and engaging way to empower youth with skills that include design and engineering, Cooper said.

“They learn the engineering and design steps, and then they have to go in front of judges and defend their decisions,” he said. “I think that kind of gives them the taste of what it’s like in the real world.”

While all teams won by simply participating, in the end there were some whose e-bikes ranked above the rest. Here are the results from this year’s E-Bike Challenge:

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