The University of Iowa is the only academic institution showing work at the North American Handmade Bicycle Show. Art professor Steve McGuire started the course Fabrication and Design: Hand Built Bicycle in 2010. Ever since, UI students have been designing and welding their own bike frames in the semester course.
“We can build bikes that a regular frame builder wouldn’t build because we don’t have to sell product to somebody. We can experiment and try something so novel a client might not want it yet.” said Steve McGuire.
McGuire, an avid cyclist, created the curriculum for the class in 2010 to foster collaboration between the College of Engineering and the School of Art and Art History and to unify the four artistic disciplines of sculpture, ceramics, jewelry/metals, and 3-D design.
“We have been able to do this at Iowa because art and engineering faculty have been pursuing a first-of-its-kind curriculum called the Art and Engineering Track,” McGuire says.
Since the class started, more than 70 students have built bicycles, and seven have gone on to be engineers and craftspeople in the bicycle industry, he says. The class is helping put UI on the map in a new and unique way.
“The goal is to promote our curricular innovation nationally, in perhaps the most prominent venue,” McGuire says. “The value of this exposure for an emerging, innovative curriculum cannot be overestimated.”
Steve McGuire’s Fabrication and Design: Hand Built Bicycle class presents a unique opportunity for students to master skills that are not part of many other classroom experiences. Since the class started five years ago, more than 70 students have built bicycles, and seven have gone on to be engineers and craftspeople in the bicycle industry, he says. The class is helping put the University of Iowa on the map in a new and unique way.