Weekend Challenge #05 – The Bicycle Tree

London is planning a £1billion investment in getting more people to ride their bikes. Hassell have designed a more than clever ‘bicycle tree’ as part of the proposal. I really love this approach to design – it blends urban design, transport solutions, engineering, advertising and graphics, and a cool App that allows you to summon your bike down from the tree when you’re ready to head home. Wonderful stuff – all conspiring to make sustainability cool.

You can read more detail about the design by heading into Hassell’s news item – click their image below.

hassell bicycle tree 01

And this is not the only cool thing evolving in our cities to encourage us to get on our bikes – there are a number of infrastructure-scale solutions that are growing in popularity;

  • Cycling Superhighways – well established in Denmark, being rolled out in London and LA. Dedicated cycling roads that make it safer and faster to get in the saddle;
  • Bicycle sharing schemes – the first one was the ‘White Bikes Plan’ in Amsterdam in 1965. There are now hundreds of such schemes around the world;
  • Commuting Groups – you may have heard of a ‘walking bus’ for school kids? Well, same deal for cyclists. There’s safety in numbers, and cyclists also get the benefit of socialising as they ride. I searched online in half a dozen cities and they all had such groups;
  • Awesome Apps – I’ve just discovered a free App called ‘Strava’ which records a huge range of data about your ride, and also provides rankings for all cyclists on particular journey legs… some bicycle paths in Sydney have thousands of cyclists using it. It’s a fun dimension to the commute which wasn’t available a few years ago; and last but not least –
  • Coffee and Pastries – well, that’s not infrastructure per-se, but I wouldn’t want anyone to think it’s all hard work and no play ; >

I’ve just started cycling again after a long hiatus, and I’m loving it. Despite the fact that my first night ride was so slow that I got mozzie bites, my energy levels have picked up and I’m already tapping into a huge cycling fraternity. In 1997 in Sydney I felt like the only cyclist… now there are hundreds on the road.

So, you guessed it – your mission for this weekend, should you accept it, is to get on yer bike and have some fun. Don’t have a bike? See if there’s a community bike scheme in town and borrow one. Or borrow a friends. Cycling is the most efficient means of self locomotion for humans – only uses a third the energy of walking!

Feel the wind in your hair and lap up that floating feeling.

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