2015 Archives

Rainstorm led to brainstorm for inflatable bike rack


The following is from the August 16, 2015, edition of The Dallas Morning News. Tyler Nelson's invention was built during a competition in the SMU Lyle School’s Innovation Gym.

August 17, 2015

Staff Writer

Tyler Nelson with Trunk Monkey
Tyler Nelson
(Photo by David Woo) 

Rain dripped off of Tyler Nelson’s hair as he sketched the design for his product. He had ridden his bike more than 2 miles through a storm, and he wanted to make sure he would never have to do that again.

So he created a portable and inflatable bike rack — quite possibly the first of its kind.

Three years ago, as a junior at Southern Methodist University, Nelson got around primarily by bicycle. On more than one occasion, he had to turn down rides from his friends because his bike wouldn’t fit in their small cars.

One stormy day, Nelson decided it was too much.

“It was was just a nightmare, and it was dangerous. The entire time I was riding home, I was thinking, ‘How could I have taken that ride?’”

His solution, TrunkMonkey, is a bike attachment that can inflate and latch onto the back of a car. It can be stored on the bike frame, so cyclists can have it on hand in a pinch.

The rack is made of the same material as bulletproof vests, with nylon webbing straps that secure the bike. It was designed to be attached to almost any car without damaging the vehicle or the bicycle.

Nelson, now 23, and his team launched a Kickstarter campaign in hopes of raising $25,000, which they achieved after five days. 

Read the full story.

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