In Amsterdam, I’m completely satisfied with my collection of “grandma bicycles” – or better omafiets. They get me around the city at a decent speed and there are usually spaces to safely lock my bike(s) when I proceed by foot. But Amsterdam is a cycle city, with plenty of bike parking (and/or canal bridges) to choose from. It’s also a flat and safe city, making cycling a natural choice. However, with the growing popularity of city cycling as an urban transport alternative, many cities are following the lead of cities like Amsterdam or Copenhagen. From Budapest to Bogotá, cities are making efforts to improve cycling infrastructure: with “cycle-only” days, bike-sharing schemes, and dedicated cycle lanes.
Designers are following suit: creating self-locking bikes, improving rain guards, adding electric motors, or for the most hipster trend of all, attaching coffee grinders to the back wheel, making use of pedal power. Some of these designs are quirky and unrealistic, while others seem to make good sense. Inhabitat shared a few of these futuristic bicycle designs, and I’ve selected my favorites ones below.
Seattle’s Denny Bike
The Denny (image: company) offers auto-shifting, smart lighting and an integrated lock, as well as an electric assist – perfect for Seattle’s numerous hills. It also has: a removable battery that can be charged over a day at the office, flexible storage spaces, and a lighting system that increases the bicycle’s visibility on par with that of cars and buses. Understanding the importance of safety, they claim on their website, “When it comes to convincing people to leave the comfort of their car and choose a bike as their commuting mode of transport, you have to make them feel safe…” Certainly my bike of choice should I move back permanently to my beloved home city, Seattle.
Santiago’s Yerka “Unstealable” Bike
The Yerka (image: Design Boom) prides itself on being safe, comfortable and sexy. With bold colors and a sleek look, it is lovely. It’s greatest feature though: the bike locks around itself, assuring the rider of its safety when its not being ridden. The designers attest that the only way to steal the bike is to saw it in two… Since bike theft is a common problem the world over, Yerka offers a good option to tackle this. For an interview with the Yerka creators on what inspired the bike’s design, check The Daily Mail.
The Danish Diavelo
Of course, when talking about city cycling innovations, leave it to the Danes to design the Diavelo (image: company). This bike offers a sleek version of the electric bicycle, so sleek that it won the 2014 Eurobike expo. The bike has a concealed battery in its frame, and all of its e-bike features can be controlled by a smartphone, with an app that monitors activities, including battery function, speed and assist level. Smart!