Sustainable Living Festival – Bio Bike ACCEPTED

Sustainable Living Festival - Bio Bike ACCEPTED. Bicycles Create Change.com 28th Jan 2018
Image: SLF 2018

Hey, bike nuts! Welcome back!

The last week has been super crazy getting ready, because…

A while back, my regular creative collaborator and friend Claire Tracey and I put together a roving performance idea and application for the upcoming 2018 Sustainable and Living Festival (SLF)- and we got the news it was successful!

Sustainable Living Festival – Bio Bike ACCEPTED

The Festival’s Program Coordinator Big Weekend emailed:

Thank you for your Festival application. We are pleased to inform you that your event application has been accepted!  The team at the Sustainable Living Festival are delighted to have your event as part of our program.

Woohoo!!

So, we are heading to Melbourne to perform the Bio Bike at the 2018 SLF!

Previous SLF adventures – Leki & the Ova

The phenomenal Claire Tracey and I have previously collaborated for the 2014 SLF, where we created the roving performance/art bike Leki & the Ova.

This project used Leki as the basis for a pedal-powered no-money/barter/trade/swap, mobile op shop. It was sooooo much fun!

Leki and the Ova will be very familiar to regular BCC readers, given it is immortalised as the central feature image for the Bicycles Create Change homepage.

We roved the Festival and went out twice a day. We had a brilliant time and were a roaring success – the punters loved being part of it … and so did we!

Projects - Bicycles Create Change.com

 

It was a wicked project to make and present – and Claire and I knew we worked well together and have since joined forces on a number of ventures.

So we threw our hat into the ring for this year with our concept of the Bio Bike … and hey presto! We’re in!

So, no time to waste – we have to get organised!

But first a bit of background.

What is the SLF Big Weekend?

In it’s own words, the Festival’s signature Big Weekend event will be staged between the 9th and 11th of February. Held in the cultural hub of Federation Square and Birrarung Marr, the Festival’s Big Weekend showcases the main attractions of the Festival’s calendar.

Featuring interactive workshops, talks, technology demonstrations, art, film and live performance pieces (of which our roving Bio Bike performance will feature! NG).

One of the main attractions of the Big Weekend is the Exhibitors Market featuring over 100 exhibitors, including vendors showcasing the very best of organic food, beer and wine. Ethically-sourced clothing, sustainable building designs and gardening options will also be on show.

Treadlie and Green Magazine will be back to host the always popular Treadlie Bike Hub, with bikes, accessories and even a test track to help you make the switch from horsepower to human-power.

Click here for a sneak peek at the SLF guide highlights.

Our Bio Bike Project Aim and Overview

As an arts collective, we aim to educate, encourage and empower participants to seriously think about their ability to affect positive environmental change.

Our event is focused on raising awareness about the necessity of transitioning to a ‘below zero emissions’ society and examines creative solutions to creating this widespread societal change as soon as possible.

The Bio Bikes roving performance uses positive reinforcement and humour to create public awareness about climate change and encourages viewers to participate in the performance by interacting with the sculptural bikes when they are stationary. 

Next steps…

So, it has been action stations to get the foundations organised and prepped for the Bio Bike. We already have a clear conceptual plan of what we want the performance to entail, but it is the props and bike itself that requires time, skills, materials and construction. With the Festival fast approaching, the making of the Bio Bike is a top priority.

So, I’ve been away for the last 5 days visiting a dear long-time friend, called Coolie, in northern NSW. (No internet there, hence the delay in uploading this post- sorry!). Coolie’s technical expertise, insight and fabrication workshop was invaluable in constructing a Bio Bike prototype which will be a major part of our roving performance.

The next couple of posts will be tracking our project development as we refine and work on the Bio Bike, props, costumes and production.

Stay tuned to see how it unfolds – and if you are in Melbourne, we’ll be seeing you at the Sustainable Living Festival in a couple of weeks!

Sustainable Living Festival - Bio Bike ACCEPTED. Bicycles Create Change.com 28th Jan 2018
Image: SLF 2018

World first announced this week: Hydrogen-powered Bikes

This guest blog post is by Greg Beach, who earlier this week reported on the official announcement of the World’s First Hydrogen-Powered Bicycle. Two months ago, DesignBoom reported on this design, however, it was not officially announced until this week that Pragma’s ALPHA hydrogen-powered bicycles have been manufactured and are set to become commercially available in the near future. It will be very interesting to see what impacts and reaction this new announcement will have on cycling communities and city bike share initiatives. NG.


World first announced this week: Hydrogen-powered Bikes

Pragma Industries just became the first company to launch a hydrogen-powered bicycle for commercial and municipal purposes. Based in Biarritz, France, the company has already secured 60 orders for the hydrogen bikes from French municipalities such as Saint Lo, Cherbourg, Chambery and Bayonne.

While the bikes are currently too expensive for the commercial market, costs are expected to eventually drop from 7,500 euros to 5,000 euros, and charging stations cost about 30,000 euros.

World first announced this week: Hydrogen-powered Bikes - Bicycles Create Change.com 22nd Jan 2018

While Pragma is not the only company interested in hydrogen-powered bicycles, they have taken production of such vehicles the farthest — so far.

“Many others have made hydrogen bike prototypes, but we are the first to move to series production,” Pragma founder and chief executive Pierre Forte told Reuters.

Pragma’s Alpha bike is able to travel a distance of 100 kilometers (62 miles) on a two-liter (0.5 gallon) tank of hydrogen.

Although the range is similar to that of a typical electric bike, the recharge time is significantly reduced from hours for a traditional e-bike to merely minutes for the Alpha hydrogen-powered bike.

World first announced this week: Hydrogen-powered Bikes - Bicycles Create Change.com 22nd Jan 2018

Pragma offers two types of recharging stations: one that uses hydrolysis of water to generate hydrogen fuel on-site, and another, more affordable station that relies on tanks of already prepared hydrogen fuel.

Due to the high cost, Pragma is currently marketing its bikes to larger commercial and municipal operations such as bike-rental operators, delivery companies, and municipal or corporate bicycle fleets.

After producing 100 such bikes last year, Pragma hopes to sell 150 this year to organizations in places such as Norway, the United States, Spain, Italy and Germany.

In addition to developing a bike that is capable of turning water into fuel without the need of a charging station, the company plans to massively expand into the retail market within the next few years.

World first announced this week: Hydrogen-powered Bikes - Bicycles Create Change.com 22nd Jan 2018

 


This news was reported world-wide through the major news outlets, so unsurprisingly, most of the reporting on this innovation appears to be based on the same publicity brief with articles repeating pretty much the same info. However, there were a few articles that supplied a little more detail about the bike, how it looks and it’s specifications (like this Reuters article).  

Images and original article published in Inhabitat 17/1/2018.

Vycle – Urban Vertical Movement via Pedalpower

Vycle - Urban Vertical Movement via Pedalpower. Bicycles Create Change.com 7th

 

There are some super creative professionals out there producing innovative solutions to urban issues using bicycles as the foundation for inspiration and design.

One example I have previously posted, is the incredible and now readily available Invisible Bike Helmet which is the brainchild of two Swedish Industrial Designers, Anna Haupt and Terese Alstin.

Another is the Vycle, which was first designed by Elena Larriba.

Vycle is touted as being a human-powered vertical transport solution to address increasing urbanisation.

What is Vycle– Urban Vertical Movement via Pedalpower?

Elena Larriba is a qualified architect (MArch) and an Imperial College and the Royal College of Art (MSc & MA) alumni.

Her work is concerned with responding to increasing urbanisation and migration.

Most densely populated urban environments and cities utilise vertical spaces. Therefore innovate methods for vertical transportation are being investigated – and harnessing the functionality of cycling is Elena’s answer!

Vycle - Urban Vertical Movement via Pedalpower. Bicycles Create Change.com 7th Dec, 2018

 

Elena’s website explains that her design is inspired by bicycles, in that “Vycle is a system powered by continuous cyclical movement. Its benefits are twofold: firstly, it will give stakeholders a more efficient and sustainable option to ascend, and secondly, variable energy selection will be able to cater to people of varied ages and abilities, whilst creating a personalised experience”.

The two choices of moving about between building levels: elevators or stairs – and both have some serious drawbacks. Elevators require a lot of energy and encourage laziness, whereas stairs encourage physical activity, but that for some, this can be onerous or too strenuous.

In a nutshell, Elena believes “that stairs require a lot of effort for a person to go up whereas lifts are 100% powered and that this carves out an area of opportunity that sits between the two.”

Comparatively, using Vylce appears to alleviate these concerns by being compact and space efficient, easy to physically propel, as well as removing any reliance or use of precious energy and thus is incredibly environmentally sound – go bicycles!

Concept Development

Vycle - Urban Vertical Movement via Pedalpower. Bicycles Create Change.com 7th Dec, 2018

 

The Vylce is currently only a working prototype. Further testing is required to take this product to market and comply with regulation level safety measures for implementation.

How does it work?

The Vycle team explain that this device operates by allowing “people to cycle up in an effortless and enjoyable way. The system is balanced with counterweights leaving the user body as the only weight to overcome. Using a gearing system similar to how bikes work, the user can decide how much effort they want to put to ascend or descent”.

You can see how Vcyle works in action in the video below.

Here is a possible future that Elena hopes to provide – pretty inspiring stuff!

Vycle - Urban Vertical Movement via Pedalpower. Bicycles Create Change.com 7th Dec, 2018

 

I love the visionary and inventive ways bicycles are being utilised, modified and adapted to help provide productive and resourceful solutions to growing social, environmental and technological issues.

I can’t wait to see more ways where bicycles are being used to create a more positive future for all.

Images and video courtesy of ycle.co.uk

James Novak – World’s first 3D printed bicycle

 

Two days ago, I went to the Griffith University AEL (Arts Education and Law) school final heat for the 3MT Competition.

There were 10 PhD candidates presenting – but one stood out for me.

James Novak is a Griffith University design graduate and is currently undertaking his PhD.

He was presenting his 3MT on his 4D pro-cycling helmet. It was very interesting to hear how this helmet functions differently in relation to how  technology, engineering and design features use sensors to automatically respond to rider needs for air flow, temperature control and areodynamicism.

After James had presented, I saw signage for the AEL School to the side of the stage.

One of the pictures on it was a bicycle frame (see below). I was already chuffed that there was a presentation on bikes/cycling being the focus of PhD research and though it was schewing my view of reality.  I turned to my friend and said “I see bicycles everywhere!” With James’ presentation still fresh in my mind, I quickly jumped online to see why the bike was featured on the poster.

Well, imagine my surprise when I find out that the bike is also one of James’ designs – and more so, that it was the world’s first 3D printed bike!

 

Bicycles Create Change - James Novak - 3D Printed bike

Background: James’ Previous work

Previously, James has worked on the Gold Coasts’ Q1’s Skywalk and the new MagnaLatch Safety Pool – which was a finalist in the Good Design Awards and is now a product we are all familiar with.

He also has a range of other concepts, products, designs and prototypes that he has been working on- which you can see on on his blog Edditive Blog.

To name just to name a few!

His blog also has tutorials and free downloads and when I spoke to him after his presentation, he was really keen on sharing, and exchanging information – which is something that he genuinely supports as evidenced through on his blog. You can also see more of his work on Instagram @edditive.

Click here to download a PDF with more info: The 3D Printed Bike – James Novak

James Novak – World’s first 3D printed bicycle

Prior to his 4D cycling helmet, James had already been extending engineering and design applications by utilising 3D printing to produce the world’s first  3D printed bicycle.

James Novak - 3D Printed bike
James Novak. Image courtesy of Griffith University.

James created this bike in 2014 and it has exhibited in Australia and overseas and in 2015. He was also awarded the prestigious Dick Aubin Distinguished Paper Award at the RAPID conference (Los Angeles) which is the world’s leading 3D printing industry event.

How did he do it?

 The process of making the 2014 bike: “What does it takes to 3D print a large and complex object like this? Although he spent about 150 hours modeling the item in 3D on SolidWorks over a couple of weeks, he says modeling wasn’t the most difficult part of his 4-month project. According to James, what has taken the most time and energy was actually discovering what’s possible with 3D printing, understanding the limitations of this new manufacturing tool, and re-imagining the concept of the bike frame. For making things easier, James decided to print his design via our (i.materialise) professional online 3D printing service. After the bike frame was 3D printed in mammoth resin through i.materialise, the item was exhibited at a seminar in Brisbane, Australia this past July (2014)”.

James Novak - 3D Printed bike
Image: i.materialize
James Novak - 3D Printed bike
I love how he has incorporated his name into the frame – super personalised!! Image: i.materialize

The bike is custom designed specifically to James’  body dimensions and preferences.

HIs bike is a prototype and not yet ridable, but by designing and producing the bike, it invites future explorations and developments to work towards producing a fully functioning bike.  It’s what I like to call a ‘gateway innovation’!

To this end, James’ view is that “3D printing has changed a whole range of manufacturing areas, but cycling is really interesting. The shape of the bike hasn’t changed a lot over the last 100 years, but everything else can be rethought and re-designed to take advantage of 3D printing technology.  As 3D printing allows you to create one-off products, a design can be made specifically for a particular athlete. In the next few years, I imagine we’ll be printing this bike in titanium, or carbon fibre, and I’ll be the first one riding it down the street!”

It seems that James’ prediction for subsequent innovations have come true. Since Jame’s original 2014 innovation, there have been a number other ‘world first 3D printed bicycles’ – but each has a different aspect, such the 2015 world’s first titanium alloy 3D printed mountain bike. Or more recent road bikes developments such as the 3D printed road bike using 3D printing welding process or using different materials such as the 3d printed stainless steel bicycle – both of which came out last year (2016).

In discussing his bike and the video (1′ 56”) below, he also posted that “A lot of people look at me with a mixture of excitement and confusion when I tell them what I do for work, probably because it sounds a bit futuristic and weird. And it is! But hopefully this profile video prepared by Griffith University and the Gold Coast City Council will explain things a little better than I can, featuring my FIX3D Bike 3D printed by Materialise. I always get a kick from sharing my knowledge of 3D printing with kids still in school since it is really going to affect their lives in the most exciting ways; hopefully videos like this can inspire them to take up the careers of the future.”

What about future 3D Printing of bike frames?

As it is still in its infancy, the materials being used are very traditional like resin, plastics and metals. I’m very keen to see how the new generation of 3D printing materials could incorporate (more) sustainable materials into this space to explore how 3D printing bike frames can minimise wastage and demands on resources.

I’d be excited to see a 3D printed bike made of PLA, which is a sugar-derived polymer (for which other ‘green products’ have already been made and are in current world-wide usage and are “compostable” and “made from corn”). Could PLA be stable, durable and strong enough for a bike frame? If not PLA, then what other green material could be utilised?

If this could be accomplished, it would put a new spin on of my fav rainy day road riding  quips – whereby if a friend says they won’t ride in the rain, my retort is “Your bike is not made of sugar, it is not going to dissolve in the rain! Lets ride!” – I hope I may have to change this adage accomodate future 3D printing inclusion of sustainable material innovations!

Ah, the future of 3D printed bike frames looms!

Bicycle Temporary Tatoos

Ever dreamt of having a killer bicycle-inspired tatoo, but aren’t sure of the permanent commitment?

Ever looked at a hot fixi chick and marveled at the bold black ink that decorates and differentiates the owner from all other bike riders?

Maybe you have fantasised of enshrining your love of bikes in some body art way, so that everyone will know how much you love bike and riding.

This blog has previously featured cycle ink and bike tattoos, but for this post, we are delving into the safe, but arty world of temporary bike tattoos.

Temporary tatoos are a great way to signify your love of all things two-wheels, while side-stepping the cost, uncomfortableness and potential problems of a permanent tattoo. Temporary tattoos used to be only reserved for school kids and were originally found in bubblegum wrappers or junk food promoting special deals or the latest Disney movies.

Today temporary tattoos have evolved past the pasty faded old outlines of yore, into some progressive marketing for television programs, sports teams and cartoon characters.

A recent creative development has emerged whereby local artists spruik their designs through a range of products – like homewares, prints, cards, tee-shirts,  and of course, now as temporary tatoos!

To go one step further, there are places like Australia’s Amazing Raymond who offers a personalised service to get your own unique bicycle-inspired temporary tatoo printed and shipped out to you.

So what is the attraction?

As with any tattoo genre, bicycle tattoos vary in shape, size, design and identity associations – both for the owner and the observer.

Admittedly it is does not carry the same dedication and kudos that permanent inkwork does, but at least it provides a happy medium.

Even as in temporary form, these designs are still eye-catching and communicate important messages. I think it is interesting to keep in mind what Mark Bauerlein points out, is that “a tattoo isn’t the Word made flesh, but the flesh made word.” 

May I please have a bicycle temporary tatoo!!!

Tattly

Tattly celebrates art by licensing designs from professional artists and turning them into high-quality temporary tattoos. Our artists get a generous cut of every single sale. We think that’s only fair. We see our tattoos as an experience of play and self-expression, a moment of being a rebel and doing something daring. Wearing a Tattly allows a glimpse into a life where you don’t care about what other people think. Tattly started as a side project by our founder Tina, aka swissmiss and has grown into a healthy, creative business.

These designs are originally from this site – although you will see other providers supplying the Tattly bicycle temporary tatoos elsewhere. These designs are very popular.

Bicycle Temporary Tatoos

Source for above image & words: Tattly

Tazzel

Scared of long-term commitment? We know the feeling. But with 100% customisable temporary tattoos, now you can have your cake and eat it too. Create your own design or choose from thousands of pre-made designs. These temporary tattoos are the perfect fun addition to fancy dress, office parties, fun runs and other special events.

Bicycle Temporary Tatoos

Source for above image & words: Tazzel

Etsy

Etsy empowers artists, designers and curators to start and grow businesses on their own terms. Etsy is an ecosystem that connects buyers around the world to the communities where Etsy shop owners live, work and create. By building and supporting this people-powered economy, we hope to inspire global business practices that are sustainable, responsible and profitable.

They have a decent rage of bicycle temporary tatoos, and in some cases you can custom order your own design.

 

Bicycle Temporary Tatoos

Source for above image & words: Etsy

A few other bicycle temporary tatoos providers -with much smaller ranges

Ali Express has a limited rage

Tats and Tags

For our European friends – there one sweet image available at Happy Bicycle (Portugal)

 

How to DIY bicycle temporary tatoos

If you don’t see anything you like – then feel free to make your own design.

Here is a quick 3 min video on a simple DIY hack to create your own temporary bicycle tattoo.

 


*Please note: the owner of this post and blog DOES NOT receive any financial compensation or incentives from any of the providers contained in this post. In fact we never have for any of our posts!!. The outlets included here are merely provided as a point of reference to start looking for said products. BBC does not take any responsibility for the organisations, services, actions or products contained within this post. Please exercise buyer discretion when purchasing anything online.

If you come across any other bicycle temporary tatoo providers, artists or services you think should be included here – please email me the recommendation via the contact tab.

Student engineer experiments with bicycles

As a teacher, I have many different experiences in the classroom, some challenging, some unusual, but most are very rewarding.

I am currently working on my favourite program at Griffith University, 5903LHS Language and Communication for Sciences. This course is only for international students but combines all the Science disciplines into one class to improve language, knowledge and communication skills required for science-based study and practice in their discipline.

That means my class has students from IT, Engineers, Biomedical, Environment, Planning and Architecture and Natural Sciences, Aviation and all the hard sciences as well (Marine, Biology, Chemistry, Forensic Science, Mathematics etc) which I relish!

Even though I know there are engineers in my class, I was still happily surprised when during a class discussion, one female engineering student, Win, casually mentioned that she had previously worked on a project looking how the weight of wheels affected the performance of a bicycle. I was stoked!

Student Engineer experiments with bicycles for Science/English report

Win told me about her report (which you can read below). Essentially, it focuses on testing the impact of wheel weight for a bicycle travelling uphill. This report was an assessment to demonstrate her understanding of scientific principles to a practical situation as well as practising her English.

I won’t reveal Win’s final results or her key findings, suffice to say she covers aspects such as:

  • gravitational potential energy
  • rotational inertia
  • analysis of wheels with weight vs wheels without weight
  • velocity vs time
  • momentum and acceleration forces
  • the influence of Newton’s first and second law
  • inter-observer variability

We got chatting about her bicycle report after class. I was intrigued. She told me she had selected this project for a college assignment, but that the real focus was to practice her English. She had a great time researching, testing and writing the experiment up – and have gotten a lot out of it in the process.

Bicycle Experiment Report

Here is a copy of Win’s Engineering report on the bicycle experiment she investigated: Win’s Report -Lighter wheels vs heavier wheels experiment

Bicycles being used in tertiary education

I told her I was really impressed, as not many people would think of bicycles as the basis for their assignments. I have previously posted on how zero-gyroscopic bicycles were used to teach Systems Dynamics in the late 1980s and that there are still a few tertiary programs integrating bicycles into the curriculum to more practically explain all manner of complex concepts. We agreed that bicycles are a brilliant way to learn and they should be utilized more in classrooms.

Will bicycles be more prevalent as an educational tool?

I was impressed that Win chose to focus on bicycles for her research paper, for many reasons. Not many engineering students would choose bicycles as their object of study, even less of those I presume would be female and from overseas. From my experience, purely based having to use English, most international students will select a topic that is easier to work with and write about.

I was even more impressed when she brought the paper to class the next week. Although she was a little embarrassed about her English level at the time, she gave me a copy of her paper and permission to upload it here.

The reason I wanted to share Win’s story is that I found her, her paper and the organic way that her bicycle research had come up very encouraging. It made me feel happy that bicycles were the focus of productive education (engineering and English) in ways and places that I didn’t expect. I am sure this goes on all the time (at least I hope it does!), but it was very reaffirming for it to confirmed to me in a totally unexpected way – and in a totally unrelated situation and with a student that I usually would not have been my first pick as being a bike-centered education candidate. It hoped that there were many more of these situation occurring in classrooms around the world.

The irony that she is now in my academic English class and that were bonded over her bicycle-inspired assignment was not lost on me. I love that as a young, female, international Engineering student with no cycling background (she doesn’t even ride a bike) did this topic. I also admire her bravery in giving me a copy and allowing me to share in on this blog.

If you are studying, or have a child or friend who is – perhaps plant the seed by chatting to them about the opportunities and merits of incorporating bicycles into educational settings for greater student engagement and educational/social outcomes.

Student Engineer experiments with bicycles

Bicycle-powered Christmas Tree

On the day before I left Brisbane to fly to Rotorua for our annual MTB pilgrimage, I found myself in the city, around South Bank to meet a friend for lunch.

While walking around South Bank,  I was happily surprised to see a bike powered Christmas tree. I’m a big fan of applying cycle-power to charge appliances and goods – for example when Robert Förstemann, the German Track Cycling Star powered a toaster to cook a single slice of bread – GOLD!

So I stopped to check it out and ended up chatting to the guy who was responsible for installing it.

Bicycle-powered Christmas tree

Bicycle-powered Christmas tree
Source: ABC News

Bike powered Christmas Tree

The tree looked very impressive standing 4.2 meters tall and apparently is the first of its kind in Australia.  There are four bikes at the base of the tree and the tree is covered in over 3,500 LED lights, so that when you pedal on a bike your riding charges up lights in certain areas on the tree.

Even when I was there in the daylight there was a line of people waiting to try it. Even in broad daylight you could see the lights happily twinkling away. The owner said this was the second year the tree had been included in Brisbane’s festivities and that it had been very popular.

I thought it was a great addition to the city – not only for Christmas, but also as a promotion for cycling and for a more thoughtful approach to energy consumption over the holiday period.

Bicycle-powered Christmas lights

In the area I live, each year, there is an increasing number of houses being decorating in a ridiculous about of Christmas lights. I know many people think it looks beautiful – and it can, but I find it difficult to reconcile the massive and wasteful energy consumption involved. But, there is a way to have beautiful Christmas lights AND be environmentally responsible as well.  To this end –  I’m waiting for the day when people who decorate their houses in copious amounts of lights or those who want to enter a neighbourhood Christmas Lights competitions – can only so so if they produce their own green/sustainable power to do so – by solar panels, pedal-power or some other sustainable source. If you can do that – go for it! Int his way, I think the bicycle-powered Christmas Tree could be a step in the right direction.

Until then, the lone pedal powered Christmas tree in the city will hopefully serve as not only entertainment, but as a reminder to the community to enjoy a more sustainable, bicycle-friendly and fit and healthy Christmas.

For more info about the bicycle-powered Christmas tree read this ABC news report about the tree here (also includes the video link below).

‘Starry Night’ Bike Path

I am often equally baffled and concerned riding bikes around Brisbane. It is not a city designed for easy bike use. There are areas and bike path networks dotted around, but the amount and ferocity of the road traffic is of leviathan proportions. Finding and linking the Brisbane bike paths to ride to work has had a remarkable positive impact. Which is why this new Polish bike path not only useful for urban mobility and to promote bike use, but I also see it as an fantastic aspirational challenge to other cities worldwide to lift their game and invest in more infrastructure to support cycling and walking. It serves as a wonderful precedence for other urban developers, city councils and political lobbyists to use as an example of what is possible – not just for resident use, but also as a tourist draw card and showcase of national technological advancement.

 

Starry Night  Bike Path

This is the new glow-in-the-dark bike path that was unveiled this month in Poland (near Lidzbark Warminiski). This bike path is revolutionary in that it made of synthetic particles call ‘luminophores’, which charge in the sunlight during the day, and glow at night. Luminophones can emit an arrange of colour, but designers decided on blue for visibility and to blend into the surrounds. Once charged these luminophones can radiate light for up to 10 hours – making it a beautiful and safer ride home at the darkest time of night.

This next offering in the evolution of safer, more eco-friendly and cost-effective bike lanes drew on inspiration from the Dutch solar-powered TPA Instytut Badan Techniczynch Sp. Z o. o bike path from 2014, however, unlike the Dutch path by Studio Roosegaarde, this Polish contemporary requires no external batteries or power – which really steps up the innovation and utilisation factor. Find more info about the Polish Starry Night Path here.

I hope that having such beautiful, productive and eco-friendly developments such as these, that promote city bike riding will go far to set the scene for other major cities as a means to inspire and stimulate policy discussion about encouraging and supporting increased urban bike use.

 

Source: Inhabitat
Source: Inhabitat
Source: Inhabitat
Source: Inhabitat
Source: Inhabitat
Source: Inhabitat
Source: Inhabitat
Source: Inhabitat

Using Bicycles to teach Systems Dynamics

I recently found an older academic paper that was published from the Uni of Illinois from 1989 reporting on an ‘innovative approach’ to teaching mechanical engineering undergrad students System Dynamics. It involved the students investigating open-ended engineering design questions in relation to bicycles for a full semester.  I love how in the introduction section pointedly justifies that ‘the bicycle is not a trivial topic, as one might suppose at first glance, but it is a rather formidable subject of study’ (Klein, 1989, p 4).

Bicycles challenging engineering ‘truths’

The paper goes into detail about the learning, philosophical and pedagogical principles for using bicycles as the instruction tool and how the program, class and resources were managed and major beneficial outcomes from the program.

The students applied a number of the theoretical concepts they were learning in class to the bicycles, thus modifying bicycles to take into account engineering qualities such as ‘zero-gyroscopic’ bicycles, which are ridable and therefore refute a common held scientific misconception that it is the gyroscopic effect of a bicycles rotating wheels that keep the bicycle upright -mythbusted!

Engineering modifications

The students put the bicycles through a number of different hardware modifications (such as flyball governors, raw egg dynamics, hydraulic servomechanisms and Passive R-L-C circuits) and apply various calculations and manoeuvrer to the bikes to test an array of laws, theories and modelling dynamics.  One of the most successful modifications the students applied was a rear-seated bicycles. Overall, many of the augmentations to the hardware that the students applied were evaluating outcomes of how power, stability, dynamics and functionality to see how they were effected.

So can they now answer..

Also, the engineering students were required throughout the semester to write their findings up in essays, of which included topics like:

Source: Klein (1989).
Source: Klein (1989).

Invisible Bicycle Helmet

There are a number of things I love about this innovation – the invisible bike helmet.

Yes, it is primarily about bikes and most certainly about creating positive and safe biking change.

However, it is a reinvention of the normal and breaking many (social and technical) barriers. Here are some reasons why this innovation is so special:

  • it is NOT from an English-speaking country (and not presented in English – how refreshing!)
  • it took the two inventors sooo long to get the research right (seven years!!)
  • their overall commitment, passion and teamwork is inspiring
  • and most importantly … the creators are two Swedish female Industrial Designers leading the (male dominated) field …. and kicking ass!!

How the hell…

I like the revolutionary and stylish innovation they have come up with.

It directly responds to current changes in urban biking as well as being understated and no fuss (the model only comes in black  – how Swedish chic!).

I’m still in awe of the engineering behind how it is deployed and works and I think the concept is magnificent.

The speed and responsiveness of the sensors and algorithms they have used are quite remarkable.

In Australia?

It is tempting to look into the legality of using one of these helmets in Australia.

I know you have to have a registered Australian Safety Approved helmet here. But let’s face it, in some respects Australia can be so far behind the times and considering this is a recognised international safety and protection device…. the larrikin bugger in me would love to use it and see what happens!

The company who is producing it Hovding, have them currently retailing for €299. They are up to their second model already and have won an European Patent Office Award (2016) patent. Models can come with stylish personalised covers. Sign me up!!

“Cars are so yesterday, bikes are the future.”