Assignment 3: Research


With winter biking sub-theme, I went in by remembering what happened to me last semester when I tried to bike. From most of what I gather from memory, I had a hard time biking in the winter because of the ice. I ended up fell once with my bike 4 feet away from me.
Then, I started to read IDEO bootcamp to have a better vision of interviewing process. After understanding all of the steps as well as mindset for the interview, I began writing down my question. The questions focus strongly on making the interviewees think deeply into what they don't pay attention everyday.

-Tell me about your experience biking in the winter?
-How do you prepare your bike before winter? Can you walk me through those steps?
-What do you think about biking in winter?
-How do you maintain your bike in the winter?

This series of question is made based on observation as well as empathize mindset. They would be added by the question "why" constantly throughout the interviews.

I started my interview on Friday, however, it was super hard to stop people from moving on their bicycles. I tried to visit Varsity bike shop, but they were too busy to answer my question and asked me to come later. After a long time of looking for biking people with an awkward situation with a Chinese man (as I approach him, he looked at me clueless and pedaled away), I found three different interviewees as I was wandering around bike racks on Washington Ave.

Tyler, computer engineering major, spent a lot of winter biking in North Dakota (his hometown)- mountain bike
- He finds winter biking is just like every other season, since he has already used to the winter.
- Ice is the main thing that makes biking harder because it is slippery.
- However, he does not prepare his bike before winter comes at all.
- It is a little bit challenging to bike when the temperature drops to 0 or negative because when pedaling really hard, you can feel the cold in your lungs. It would be very bad if one hasn't been doing much physical exercise.
- To maintain his bike, he adds W40 oil to his chain so it won't be rusty. When it is rusty, it would be hard to bike as well as bring down the quality of the bike, which effect on safety.

Jeffrey, undecided sophomore, was biking with friends to buy Chipotle.- mountain bike
- He doesn't like biking in the winter, it takes a lot of work and time to change tires or put the bike away. So he chooses to walk.
- The effort to put into biking is too much compare to walking, which is a lot easier.
- As he used to bike in the winter, he recommends to put wheel guards so the ice won't splash onto your legs as well as changing tires for better traction.
- To maintain his bike, he will put oil on it as well as avoid getting a lot of snow and water on it because it will rust.
Byron, graduate student and work at industrial front desk.- utility bike
- He loves biking in the winter since he wouldn't have to worry about crashing his car. Also, he believes that putting good tires on a bike would be easier to control than a car.
- To prepare his bike, he thinks putting on sturdy tires is the only thing that he would do because it is good gripping the ice depends on weather. He would also change his chain in the winter because they wear out really fast.
- Skinny tires have less control the big ones.
- He thinks biking in the winter is fun and everyone should do it because you can be outside.
- To maintain his bike, he sprays salted water on the bike to get snow off his bike. He thinks that it is a lot more effective than just sweeping them off, since it has salt in it.


"It is a little bit challenging to bike when the temperature drops to 0 or negative because when pedaling really hard, you can feel the cold in your lungs"

Tyler needs a new way to cover his nose and mouth when biking, or something that keep his lungs warm.

"He doesn't like biking in the winter, it takes a lot of work and time to change tires or put the bike away. It leaves nothing but a big mess. So he chooses to walk."

Jeffrey needs a new, simple way to keep his bike clean, ready for winter as well as a process to do this without leaving a big mess.

"He would also change his chain in the winter because they wear out really fast."

Byron needs a new way to keep bike chain from getting rusty too quickly.

Also, from observation, I found a lot of people have an urge to spit whenever it gets to intersection because the cold air makes their saliva sticky and hard to breathe by mouth.

By my experience from biking since last winter, I found that there are three main things that I must always keep near me. They are gloves, a beanie, and face mask( or scarf).


I think your ethnographic work is very well organized and I appreciated that you brought up your own experience of winter-biking and problems you faced from it. I thought that it was very good way to make questions constructed from your own experience. And how you conducted interviews, with whom you had interviews were well documented. So I really appreciate the detailed work and I could easily follow situations of when, why, and where problems occurred from the details of the interviews.

Needs a way and because statements were precisely stated, so overall I think you have done a very good Job with your ethnographic work.

The one thing I would like to suggest is that it is better to post some images so that your work seems more engaged.

I thought you had a lot of useful information in this blog post. That being said, I think it might have been beneficial if you had structured it a bit differently. All of the survey results seem to be squished together and that made it difficult to see where one ended and a new one began.

I thought it was a very good idea to go to the Bike Shop, even though it didn't work out the way you wanted. You could have possibly found another shop somewhere in Minneapolis or St. Paul that also could have helped you. I think that would have been a great point of view to bring in.

Overall, you have really great information. It seems that a lot of people don't like biking in winter and I don't blame them! You had good problem statements but I was unsure of which ones you were focusing on, because you did one for every interview. I think making clear points of which problem statements you are going to use will be helpful as well as possibly structuring the blog a bit more clearly. Overall, your information was great and your interview questions were well thought out! I really liked your own personal experience with the subject, it's great to see how you personally relate to it!

First off, it was fun to hear about your failed attempts at getting an interview, because I'm sure we can all relate to some extent! It was a very good idea to go into Varsity Bike Shop, and try to seek out people who you knew would relate to your interview questions and provide helpful answers. Also, It was a very good idea to structure questions in which you knew you could (and would) easily ask "why" to dig deeper for information!
As far as the blog goes, I would have to suggest maybe personalizing it a little more. Have fun with it, it makes it more fun to write and more fun to read! Adding headers and organizing the text helps the reader stay not only visually entertained, but on track in looking for what they're looking for when scrolling up and down in the post!
You have useful information in your experience and observation sections, but it would help to elaborate on it a little bit. How do you carry your hats and gloves when you're not wearing them but biking? What about your gloves makes it hard or easy to bike with them on? Etc. Pictures (even from the internet) help too!
Overall, I can tell you put a lot of thought into the smaller details that come along with winter biking, and your problem statements well summarize your findings!

Leave a comment

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by nguy2045 published on November 11, 2013 11:36 AM.

Assignment2: Silly ideas was the previous entry in this blog.

Assignment 4: Brainstorming is the next entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.