BAE Systems apprentices net top bike award

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A team of BAE Systems apprentices from Lancashire has landed a prestigious award after creating two new products to help disabled athletes.

The group, made up of apprentices from across the company’s Military Air and Information sites at Warton and Samlesbury, used their skills to answer a brief set to them by charity, Help for Heroes.

Teamwork: Rebekah Crolla

Teamwork: Rebekah Crolla

The team were challenged to come up with solutions to improve the safety and usability of hand-bikes as part of the company’s Apprentice Innovation Challenge, which pits teams of apprentices from across the country against each other.

The team used social networking website Facebook to establish the most frequent hand-bike user complaints before engineering a new anti-twist Gyro mechanism which houses the brake cables and stops them from twisting and breaking, and a rotating handle.

Team member Kirk Norris, of Blackpool, said testing on the Gryro showed it still working even after 500 miles whereas normal cables would break at around 90 miles.

The rotating handle allows users to reposition their hands and avoid muscle fatigue on longer rides.

He said: “A major problem for hand cycles is that the cables are under torsional stress which in turn causes them to fray and snap resulting in the loss of braking.

“What we have designed is a system which incorporates a rotation point while still keeping tension on the cables.”

Team leader Alex Griffiths said they were also hoping to use BAE Systems’ partnership with UK Sport to test the product at the velodrome in Manchester.

The team also consisted of Charlotte Bamber, Rebekah Crolla, Lucy Norris, Graham Slinger, and Jordan Molloy.

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