The Future of Biking: Compact Concepts, and Balance

Posted By on September 2, 2015

Over the past year I have contributed to the fabulous Momentum Magazine in a column called ‘Bikes + Innovation’. In this I looked at a number of areas where biking, the infrastructure, and the riders are all seeing some amazing innovations. In this post, The Future of Biking: Compact Concepts, and Balance, I have collected together 2 pieces of my writing in this area to-date. Enjoy and do share with your friends.

Compact Concepts for Biking

Let’s look at thinking compactly. First up, Indian company, Lucid Design, has created a conceptual “bike in a bag” that would quickly dismantle into parts to fit into a backpack.

The Kit Bike by Lucid Design would be assembled from a series of 21 parts that twist and lock together. “The Kit Bike was designed to make problems of shipping, traveling with, and commuting with a bike, a thing of the past.” said creative director Amit Mirchandani. A pretty bold claim. Aluminum tubes would make up the frame, locking together by a series of joints that twist in to place using a rotating mechanism and then secured with a key. The white, diamond-shaped frame would attach to the steel wheel hubs on one side, so the bike could be assembled or disassembled while rested against a wall. Leather is proposed for the saddle and the handlebar grips would be made from cork. The parts would pack away into a leather backpack. Unfortunately there is currently no plan to produce the bike, but it may be considered in the future. Personally, I think that’s a real shame.

Next up is Sandwichbikes. These are inspired by the popular concept of flat packing products for home assembly. The contemporary design, the large surface of the frame, and the absence of welding joints makes the frame both visually attractive and easy to assemble. The bike is delivered in a flat cardboard box and can be assembled at home with a few basic tools. This innovative design rethinks the idea that welded and bonded frames are essential. I guess you could even pack it up nice and easily. Coming soon to an IKEA shelf near you? Maybe not, but you can buy one and help spread great design.

This next product recognizes that you and your bicycle are a fairly compact vehicle. Backtracker is a radar-powered awareness device that simply and smartly improves your visibility and helps your awareness of what is happening behind you. Backtracker is a two-part system, the front unit provides you with the speed and distance of rear-approaching vehicles, and the back unit is a light that increases light pulses as a vehicle approaches. This added level of awareness could be great for long commutes or when out on the open road.

Then there is the beautifully designed Hubless Foldable Sada Bike by Sada Gianluca. The Hubless Foldable Sada Bike by Italian designer Sada Gianluca is seriously stylish, cool, and compact. Designers compare its folded size to an umbrella and that really is quite a feat of design. While still in prototype stage, it will be interesting to see if this design will also be durable. If successful, I imagine unobtrusive bike stands that better resemble umbrella stands and custom carrying bags made by Gucci and Luis Vuitton.

Bike Tech, and Finding Your Balance

Vanhawks Valour

The Valour features a number of integrated features including performance tracking, security sensors, and interactive feedback. Using LED indicators, the bike comes with turn-by-turn navigation, allowing you to keep your eyes on the road and your hands on your handlebars.

Welcome to the first post in a new series that tracks innovations in everyday bicycling. It’s about bikes, riding, bike culture, and innovation with a technology angle. Each month this series will find and share interesting developments and innovations that could attract more people to riding bikes through smart design and technology.

The tech community is buzzing about the emergence and proliferation of the “Internet of Things”. This concept is that objects in the world will be connected to and will share data and instructions with each other and the people and systems that interact with them. In Toronto, ON, Vanhawks have produced the world’s first connected bike, the Valour.

The Valour features a number of integrated features including performance tracking, security sensors, and interactive feedback. Using LED indicators, the bike comes with turn-by-turn navigation, allowing you to keep your eyes on the road and your hands on your handlebars. The handlebar grips also alert you to nearby objects by vibrating while on-board sensors measure your calories burned, distance traveled, speed, best times, and much more, allowing you track your performance and stay informed at all times. Beyond this, Vanhawks has manufactured the Valour entirely with carbon fiber and the minimalist design is very appealing. Clearly the demand is there as Vanhawks smashed past their fundraising target of $100,000 to put the bike into production and raised over $820,000 in total on Kickstarter.

Taking many of us back to our childhood, learning to ride a bike was a big moment in our life. It changes you forever, connects us through experience and sparks the passion for cycling. Recently, smart engineers in the UK developed a product called Jyrobike that they say can teach children 3 to 8 years old how to ride a bike in an afternoon.

This bike contains a patented control hub in the front wheel that uses gyroscopic technology to keep riders upright, even when they tip, falter, or wobble. Another Kickstarter funded product, the developers were helped along by mainstream coverage from the BBC and other media outlets. While this product could eliminate the trail-by-error learning many of us went through, it could have an amazing effect on boosting confidence for riding in children that have learning difficulties, Sensory Processing Disorder, and Apraxia (amongst other conditions).

And finally, this last idea may not go further due to lack of funding. Students in Long beach, CA, see communication of a bicyclist’s intentions, increased visibility both day and night, and proper allocation of space when sharing the road as being huge issues. To better understand how to communicate in a non-traditional sense, they looked at nature to find a solution. They see VibriSee is more than just a solution. They think that it has the potential to transform the world of commuting by empowering the average cyclist with solutions straight from nature.

We live in interesting times and many people are trying to innovate to help more people get on bikes and ride safely. Until next month.

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Nikolas Badminton is a world-respected futurist speaker that researches, speaks, and writes about the future of work, how technology is affecting the workplace, how workers are adapting, the sharing economy, and how the world is evolving. He appears at conferences in Canada, USA, UK, and Europe. Email him to book him for your radio, TV show, or conference.


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