Rupert says: “As a former world champion oarsman I have spent more time than I care to remember, sitting on an ergometer in a gym. That sure gives you plenty of time to think and during all those hours I gradually developed the idea of building a road-based rowing machine. I no longer lived near a river so the idea of still being able to row in the open air rather than in a sweaty gym was very appealing. Cycling just didn’t do it for me as I always wanted the all-over body exercise that rowing provides.
I was introduced to Bristol based bike designer John Packer and over many months we developed the design for the RoadRower™. The initial issue to overcome was the basic physics of the rowing action where the body mass moves forwards and acts as a brake on the vehicle’s momentum. This was overcome by a fixed seat and moving levers for the arms and legs. This action turns the cog on the back wheel. It has multiple gears and brakes, and to steer it you turn the handle bars just like a bike.
This prototype is made of aluminium and steel but the intention is to manufacture the major parts in composite carbon fibre. We are also considering adding an electric motor to assist in hill climbs and to attract the commuter market.”