Getting to grips with award winning folding handlebars

Press release: 14 June 2007

A design for adding folding handlebars to bikes is one of the winners of the BSI Sustainability Design Awards 2007.

Joe Wentworth, a student graduating with an MA in Design Products from the Royal College of Art (RCA), is one of this year’s winners of BSI’s Sustainability Design Awards 2007 for his retrofit folding handlebar design.  His design aims to encourage cycling which is a sustainable and pollution free method of transport.

A keen cyclist and a lifelong Londoner, Joe is only too aware of the storage and crime issues faced by cyclists living in densely populated urban environments.  He said, “You might start off keeping your bike in the hallway because it’s convenient and safe.  But after a while it becomes an annoyance, always getting in the way, getting knocked over as the handlebars stick out.  Then you move it to the shed and never use your bike again!”

Once fitted with Joe’s retrofit handlebars a bike will sit more comfortably in tight spaces such as a hallway and negates the need for purchasing a folding bike at considerable expense.  Additionally, the cost to the environment in producing a new bike is much greater than a pair of folding handlebars.

When not in use the handlebars lock in the folded position creating a steering lock providing an additional theft deterrent.

The retrofit design has been prototyped and is undergoing initial testing.  Joe’s design is equally suited for integration with new bikes at the manufacturing stage and he is looking for interest from manufacturers.

  • Joe Wentworth is from London and is a final year student at the Royal College of Art (RCA), London, studying Design Products.
  • Other winners of the BSI Sustainability Design Awards 2007 are Andreas Zachariah for his “Carbon Hero™” personal carbon calculator, and Ben Storan who won first prize for his new design for an affordable personal wind turbine that is more suitable for the urban environment.
  • Press are invited to pre-view all winning designs on 14 June 2007, at the Great Exhibition 2007: The RCA Summer Show.

About the BSI Sustainability Design Awards

The BSI Sustainability Design Awards support design projects that promote awareness of sustainability issues or provide sustainable solutions.  Now in their 13th year, the Awards are open to all students studying at the Royal College of Art.

The Awards help students find out more about their chosen subjects while learning about the relevance of sustainability issues to design.  Prize money is used to help research and realise projects. 

Past winners include: Peter Brewin for his high performance water-saving shower – The El Nino – which uses 70 per cent less water and 40 per cent less energy than a conventional shower; and Will Crawford and Peter Brewin for “The Concrete Canvas” – a rapidly deployable hardened shelter for use by aid agencies in disaster regions.  This ‘building in a bag’ won the $100,000 first prize in the Saatchi & Saatchi 2005 Award for World Changing Ideas.

About The Royal College of Art

The Royal College of Art is the world’s only wholly postgraduate university of art and design, specialising in teaching and research and offering the degrees of MA, MPhil and PhD across the disciplines of fine art, applied art, design, communications and humanities. There are over 850 masters and doctoral students and more than a hundred professionals interacting with them – including scholars, leading art and design practitioners, along with specialists, advisors and distinguished visitors.  Alumni include Tracey Emin, David Hockney, Peter Blake and James Dyson.