I remember sitting around for an entire snowy, cold afternoon when I was about 11 wondering how I could outfit my bike for winter cycling. You've got to realize that boys in my neighborhood pretty much rode their bikes everywhere. I got on my bike to cross the street to my best friend's house. Moms could tell whose home we had invaded by the pile of bicycles in the front yard. I lived on my little Stingray in the summer.
So, you can understand why winter was frustrating bike-wise.
My dad had recently taken me on a snow mobile for the first time and I was thinking that there must be some way to re-design the tires on my bicycle to work in ice and snow. I got stuck on the concept of tank treads and sketched out several ideas along those lines. I went so far as to take one of my wheels off to try and figure out if there was a way to modify the rubber tire itself with spikes. My skill level didn't match my imagination though and I finally gave up on the idea.
That afternoon of planning and dreaming came rushing back when I saw this page on winter bikes, Recycling in a Cold Climate and some related pieces linked from an article on Make. Show your students this article and have them come up with a design of their own on a cold, wintery day.
Maybe they will be more persistent in their vision and actually create something a little more tangible than an aging man's memories!
[Image: Captured from "Recycling in a Cold Climate": http://sevenislands.50webs.com/cycleski/index.html]