RRC instructor creates bike modification for Winnipeg athlete in Rio
Dani Wenger, CONTRIBUTOR
An invention by Red River College engineer Leon Fainstein appeared at the Paralympic Games in Rio. Fainstein fashioned a device for Winnipeg athlete Chantal Givens, who placed eighth in the triathlon on Sept. 11 during her Paralympic debut.
The device allowed Givens to ride her bike more comfortably during her triathlon without her left hand, which she was born without.
“[She] was able to pull on her left arm [with the modification]… she’s never been able to do that before,” said Fainstein.
Fainstein is a double graduate of RRC and has taught at the Notre Dame Campus for more than 20 years. He spent over a year innovating the device Givens used in Rio.
In total, there were 17 revisions of the bike modification, and Givens used four of those revisions to test out on her bike. Fainstein built it by using a 3D printer in his lab at RRC’s mechanical engineering department.
“He’s a doer,” said Bill Noakes, the program chair of Fainstein’s department. “You give him the tools and resources… he accomplishes what he sets out to do.”
Fainstein gained insight into Paralympic training through the building process.
“I didn’t realize how extraordinarily competitive para-athletes are,” said
Fainstein. “It was fascinating to see and fascinating to spend time with Chantal.”
Fainstein is now working with a team of students for the Shell Eco-Marathon, a competition for students to create energy-efficient cars.