Oct. 19th, 2006

mirrorshard: (Default)
This piece in the Guardian utterly boggled me. Cycling, I should say up front, is a Good Thing, and I suspect there is relatively little provision for bike storage around the streets generally. What there is is generally either ugly, inconvenient, ad hoc, or all three, and having to push past bikes locked to railings or lamp-posts is irritating.

But these designs look like a really, really, really bad idea.

The one the article's showcasing is a weird futuristic hydra-like thing, where you put your bike in an inflatable pod and it then floats up into the air on the end of a cable, presumably until you want it again. The tagline on the image says "The Placycle uses ionisation to generate lift and create floating bike pods."

Don't know about you, but I don't want them hovering around over my head (and being blown about, into each other and the scenery, by the wind), especially because it doesn't look in the slightest fail-safe.

The idea of ionisation is also rather odd - I can't work out how it would work, but I can see several problems it would cause. In particular, there's a lot of organic crap in the air in cities, from all those paint fumes and fast-food aromas and especially cars, and this would just love to grab them, disassemble them, and turn them into throat-tickling, eye-burning, sniffle-inducing VOCs. (No, that's not an interesting acronym. Stands for Volatile Organic Compounds. But it's a term of art.) If you've ever walked under an overhead power line in the fog, you'll be familiar with the sensation I mean.

The other two on the shortlist are some sort of aerial conveyor belt, which sounds quite sensible (bicycle sushi, anyone?) and the practice of officially festooning lamp-posts with bikes.

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