05 October 2007


I have been thinking about some gadgets cyclists or bikommuters like myself could use, and others that would help with that intractable problem - sustainable transport. Here goes:

- Mask: yes, there already are masks to combat the effects of pollution (enthusiasts of such masks will tell me that my lungs are heavy with the detritus of carbon combustion from bus diesel engines and the like). But what I am talking about here is a mask that will help condense the moisture in the atmosphere (amply abundant in Manchester except on sunny and dry days, either in a hot summer or a very cold winter - both rare). This would help rehidration without the need to carry your own supply.

- Exercise bike: no, not the stationary kind. Instead, this will be a bike that is powered not just by foot pedals, but by the arms - so it provides all round exercise. Not an entirely new concept: the other day I saw a wheelcher for a person that could only move one arm. It was operated by a single lever which was used both to steer and to power the vehicle.

- Generator: you've seen the cycling trainers - rollers to turn your bike into a stationary one so you can improve your technique, get some quick practice at home etc. Why not extend the concept and use this effort to generate electricity? Power your electric shower for instance - either take it in turn with your partner / flatmate to power each other's hot showers, or perhaps more daringly, create a shower where you pedal for hot water!

- Modular car: OK, not a cycling gadget, but if it helps with traffic, pollution etc why not. This wold involve a small two-seater (think 'Smart') which could attach seamlessly (by retracting rear wheels, collapsing the hatch door at the back etc) to another, to make it into a four seater. And why stop at two cars - attach three or four and presto, you've got a people carrier!. It will be easier when fuell cell engines become the norm.

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