National Bike to Work Day

When I envision a better world, it involves human-powered vehicles. In honor of National Bike to Work Day - Friday, May 18, here are some reflections on how to get more people riding bikes more often.

Drymer recumbent trike (photo from the forums at endless-sphere.com)

During my first decade as an adult I had no car and went everywhere and did all my shopping by bike. I’m 48 now, have a car, and ride my bike a little bit. If I could improve the riding experience, I think I would ride more. I bet my complaints are probably common: safety, hills, rain, heat in the summer. If I could figure out a good ride and share it, maybe more people would choose this mode of transportation. My perfect bike is a recumbent cabin trike with electric-assist.

My current upright bike can be uncomfortable to me sometimes, so I picture a recumbent, which is a bike that you sit down, or recline in, to pedal. I found a bike design prototype, the Drymer, that is a recumbent and also takes care of some of the complaints. It’s actually a tricycle. Tricycles don’t corner well unless they’re “leaning,” which means they have some kind of suspension to allow the cyclist to lean with all three wheels staying on the ground.

A bike or trike can be covered on top by a hard shell, and on the sides by fabric – sometimes called cabin cycles.

Here’s a video of the Drymer in action.

The Drymer is also an electrically assisted bike, or pedelec. I don’t know how well it does on hills, though – especially the steep ones we have here in Charlottesville. But if we don’t have the technology now for helping us up hills, we can develop it. I view the electric engine as a help on the hills.

I think tandem bicycles would be the way to move cargo. Tandems set speed records well over a hundred years ago because of the way each rider’s power can be combined. It could be a good way to move produce from the country to the city.

Perhaps surrey bikes could be made with transmissions that combine power in the same way as tandems.

I’ve seen quadricycle recumbents which might be up to the task.

While I’m going on about bikes, check out the Whike – a wind powered bike.

If we can make the experience of powering your own vehicle better, more people will choose it as a way to go. Perhaps we can even develop an industry devoted to it, so that we can supply ourselves with vehicles, create jobs, bring money into the area, and create a point of pride in the community.

PS – When you bike to work on 5/18/12, enjoy a Bike to Work Day Energizer Station brought to you by Bike Charlottesville!

Comments

  1. Nice article. I look froward to seeing some of these bikes in town. We are becoming more of a bike friendly city with the start of the 6th St SE corridor started. Have you been on the stretch by 6th and Monticello? We need more streets designed this way.

  2. Thanks, Dave. I used to live near 6th & Monticello, but haven’t been around there lately.

  3. Have you considered adding several social bookmarking links to these blogs. At the very least for facebook.

    • Ted Millich says:

      Our webmistress has it on her plate, so it will happen some day, but the plate is piled high.