Cecile Poignant » Smart bicycles

Smart bicycles


Cardboard Bike by Izhar Gafni

Cycling is the simplest, most natural means of transport, after walking. It’s cool, green and money saving. From Berlin to New York… all hipsters have a bicycle. But, it ‘s not only just fashionable: it is a long term trend.

For the first time since the end of the Second World War the number of bicycles sold in Italy – a real car aficionados country – has overtaken the number of cars. In more than 170 cities around the world, public bike sharing programs are getting more and more popular. Since 2007, velib in Paris is the biggest bike-sharing in the world. Even in USA young people are driving less and not only because of the recession!

Bicycle is now one of the favorite products developed by designers who are no longer only interested in lamps or chairs as during the turn of century. Some designers really want to change the world and they understood the potential of this object.

Israeli engineer and systems developer Izhar Gafni has invented a sustainable cardboard bicycle “alpha” that’s strong, waterproof and costs less than £10 to manufacture. Alpha is mostly cardboard and 100% recycled materials, yet uses a belt-driven pedal system that makes it maintenance free.

A simple versatile load carrier, the “donky bike” is designed for urban living, offering an easy way to transport cargo around town – via front and rear racks as seen on this video.

donky bike

donky bike

Another great example is the bamboo bike developped by the dutch Blackstarin Ghana with locals: the production provide work to people and a sustainable, fancy urban bike.

The stylish 2 wheels vehicule today is the fixed gear bicycle, the bikes’s messengers. They are a very visible counterculture presence in cities representing freedom. Today, fixed gear riding is the subcultural equivalent of skateboarding in the 80s: a sport embedded in the urban environment, a reason to hang out outside with friends.

Last but not least, car manufacturers find also a need to develop hybrid bicycles. BMW’s  i Pedelec Concept is a complement to their car. Smart electric bike wants to help us to make city driving enjoyable .

It’s a great positive sign to see all those actors involved in the new dimension of the bicycle.  HG Wells said it so well: “When I see an adult on a bicycle, I do not despair for the future of the human race.”

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