Friday, January 23, 2015

LOW-TECH MAGAZINE: The velomobile: high-tech bike or low-tech car?

LOW-TECH MAGAZINE: The velomobile: high-tech bike or low-tech car?:

'Nevertheless, thanks to the recumbent position, the minimal weight and the outstanding aerodynamics, pedalling a "velomobile" requires three to four times less energy than pedalling a normal bicycle.

This higher energy efficiency can be converted felt in terms of comfort, but can also be utilised to attain higher speeds and longer distances - regular cyclists can easily maintain a cruising speed of 40 km/h (25 mph) or more. The velomobile thus becomes an excellent alternative to the automobile for medium distances, especially in bad weather.'

I could believe this but a factor of 4 sounds quite impressive. I know the HPV competition on Battle Mountain use velomobiles and get in to the 70mph region so I guess it's not out of the question. The principle reason against them is the extra weight stopping/starting ( in traffic). If true a dedicated network could be vital to run over long distances.

Good artical worth a read.

Monday, January 19, 2015

BBC News Why do so many Dutch people cycle

There is a huge amount to hear in this BBC News interview.

1. We need to challange 'lycra culture' Cycling shouldn't be part for  leisure or new year's resolution fitness regime. Sustained health improvements will come about when people regularly commute with bikes to work. And the Dutch have shown this with thier 'low sweat to work' bikes.

2. "in the centre of London we don't have enough road space to dedicate to cycling" which is the principal argument behind elevated cycle networks. Create a flat network of segregated junction free 'roads'

Lovely to see the culture change in Hackney , London..

Frightful quote 'Cycling is one of the most dangerous activity ... you should by a car'

'We need to think radically about getting more cyclists and more pedestriants on the road'. Precisly what Elevated cycle networks do.

Note Elevated cycle networks use cycle lanes as a 'last mile' feeder network. Think of them as the equivalant of freeways/motorways for cycling. You  might do 90% of your journey on the fast thick backbone network but you can't expect to get the freeway/motorway or train to your door.

Ultralight Arches Made from Packaging Foam

On the subject of ways you could be easily installable elevated cycle lanes.

Ultralight Arches Made from Packaging Foam: Researchers from the National University of Singapore (NUS) have developed a new form of ultralight arch that could make it far easier to build large-scale column-free structures such as airport hangars, factories, stadiums, and concert halls.
The Cloud Arch is a long-span structure made using Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) foam – an ultra-lightweight material most commonly used for packaging purposes. The material is 95 per cent air, conferring it with an extraordinarily low mass.
The NUS research team, led by Shinya Okuda, an assistant professor of architecture at the NUS School of Design and Environment, and Tan Kiang Hwee, a professor from the NUS Faculty of Engineering, spent two years developing and testing long-span arches using composite materials that incorporate the EPS foam.

“EPS foam has almost similar compression strength to weight ratio as concrete and is currently used as landfill for landscape works,” he said. “We are also testing its composite properties when reinforced with bonded fabric as a possible material for permanent construction. “ - See more at:

Monday, January 12, 2015

Bicycle Rush Hour Utrecht (Netherlands) III

There is something you should realise - if there were cars not bike we would be looking at somehting closer to a 3-4 lane freeway for the same capcity.

I do have a problem with this - the cyclists are having to stop/start which is less important when it's flat but still very time/energy consuming.  An elevated cycle lane would avoid all this.

Monday, January 5, 2015

SkyCycle: Cycle Lanes in the Sky - Will the Idea come Crashing Down?

SkyCycle: Cycle Lanes in the Sky - Will the Idea come Crashing Down?: SkyCycle: Cycle Lanes in the Sky – Will the Idea come Crashing Down?

"Another practical consideration is the design of the cycleway itself. Recently published images show a transparent tunnel elevated 50-60 feet in the air, supported by steel structures underneath. The impact the cycle ways would have on London’s infrastructure is immense. If the routes are to be 50-60 feet in the air, then the inclines used to reach these heights would have to be either extremely steep, or extremely long and covering a wide area. How this is going to be achieved in one of the most crowded cities in the world remains to be seen."

I do like this, so if someone said "lets build a monorail" then the objection would be the walk ways up would be too long/bulky ? No one expects the BIG problem against underground tubes is the long walk down so why are we holding elevated cycle ways up to this higher standard. It doesn't take a genius to think a monorail would use a lift/elevator when space is tight so why no the same for a cycle way?

Even if you use a slope, then why not have a tow rope to help pull you up?

"SkyCycle, however, seems to overlook the crucial point: that cyclists are equal to other road users and should be treated as such." 

So if we substitute "car" for "bike" and suggest making a car only route (i.e motorways) then your saying car drivers would argue AGAINST motorways because "car drivers are equal to other road users and should be treated as such". 

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Why we need elevated cycle lanes.

Sky-Cycle-Ways, Elevated bike lanes

It's time for new year's resolutions so we thought we would reiterate our reasons for elevated cycle lanes. 

  • Cheap By having the lightest possible vehicle structure, it is the lightest and possibly cheapest elevated concept available.
  • Cheap By having a very light network its possible to both mass produce track and have light foundations which reduces installation time.
  • Cheap Self funding. Unlike at grade cycle lanes entrance and exits are limited to stations. This permits the possibility of a low toll to help finance further expansion.
  • Cheap compared to light rail, monorails and busses, by having no drivers, the elevated network has a small work force reducing costs. Most cycle networks have a zero work force.
  • Cheap the elevated network has no complex mission critical electronics and power distribution system. The only maintenance is too the escalators - which are a well known off-the-self product and making sure the bridges are structurally sound.
  • Cheap the only powered items are the station escalators and the internal lighting. This is a very low energy demand compared to monorails, light rail and evaluated rail. No high power systems have to be installed in the local network.
  • Cheap the right of way for dedicated track is cheaper for elevated concepts than at grade. By being built over the sidewalk or over the current city streets zero cost can be incurred.
  • Cheap A cycle network is significantly more friendly a neighbor to have near your house or business than a train line, light rail or monorail track. By being a positive neighbor there is less likely hood of local objections changing route and delaying installation.
  • Cheap By providing a mode of transport to station there is less need for space around the station for park-and-ride movement reducing land cost.
  • Cheap Unlike Monorails,buses, light rail,heavy rail and PRT. The growth in the network is no limited to rate at which vehicles are purchased and installed on the system. This removes the problem of initial system deployment where small numbers of vehicles can cause large apparent delays. If the system becomes more popular more quickly it will not cause the expense and delay of a large number of new carriages to be purchased.
  • Low risk. Unlike a PRT no new technology has be to be developed and tried out. All the components, escalators, lifts, surveillance cameras,bridges,bicycles are super low risk concepts which just have to be brought together. By being a technologically simple concept there will be no delays in installation caused by integrating new technologies.
  • Cheap by being low risk its simpler for banks to lend money against the final outcome.
  • Cheap by being a light , modular system the bridge structure can be moved leaving the foundations behind. This could help reduce costs by recycling the structure and permit the inexpensive use of temporary undeveloped land.
  • Cheap Like most evaluated systems the station elements can be simple raised modular structures which consist of possible ticket hall, elevator/escalator/on ramp. This removes on the ground land so making land for stations less vi
  • Environment Low urban impact Use of one lane one direction elevated cycle lanes reduces shadowing of surrounding buildings.
  • Health Uniquely Cycle lanes despite the level escalators provide mild to exercise useful in fighting the growth in obesity and many other health problems. This exercise can be easily integrated into every day activity by combing commuting with some limited exercise. The level of exercise can be determined by the individuals choice of speed.
  • Reduced journey times by using the elevated nature of the network it is not necessary to stop at each junction. This reduces journey time and significantly reduces energy consumption.
  • Reduced journey times By providing an integrated network like a PRT system, there are no waits to change carriages on interchanges.
  • Reduced journey times Unlike an at grade network the elevated network can be made flat even over hilly geography, this reduces the delay of traveling up hill.
  • Reduced journey times Unlike PRT,light rail,Monorails buses and heavy rail elevated cycle networks the passenger does not have to walk to the 'station'.
  • Reduced journey times. Unlike an at grade cycle network cars cannot park on the cycle lanes blocking them off.
  • Reduced journey times Unlike at grade cycle networks the floors can be designed to the highest specification for low friction surfaces.
  • Reduces journey times elevated networks do no slow down cars and vehicles unlike buses and light rail. Neither do they remove road space or parking spaces from the current urban context.
  • Reduction of congestion. By moving people from the streets they
  • Environment Reduction in pollution Each journey on the cycle lane significantly reduces local urban pollution ( Ozone, NOx CO CO2...) and makes a significant reduction in urban energy consumption. Each car not traveling improves the local environment and helps save fuel for post 2025 consumption
  • Environment The cycle network does not produce the noise and vibration of traditional elevated transportation reducing impact on surrounding buildings. So increasing the flexibility of the network layout
  • Environment Unlike a monorail or elevated rail, The low speed network can turn tight corners so increasing flexibility of network layout.
  • Cheap Elevated components if designed correctly could be cheaper to install then dedicated at grade cycle paths
  • Reduced journey times An elevated network can be installed in congested areas with out removing vital capacity from current road networks
  • Unlike traditional at grade cycle networks, being enclosed the cycle network removes some of the effort ( no head wind) and all of the unpleasantness( rain, snow, cold) for all year round usage.
  • Safety, Unlike at grade cycle networks, The elevated cycle network with Lighting at night, with limited entrances and exits, with constant surveillance camera and a dedicated security team means a stronger safety environment.
  • Safety, Unlike an at grade cycle network. The evaluated network can be build as a continuous network this means from the point of entry to exit the network it safe from collisions with road vehicles.
  • Safety. Unlike monorails there is a mechanism for escape in case of fire or vehicle mechanical failure.
  • Safety. Unlike monorails and other elevated mechanisms ,the lack of vibration and light weight means it is possible to consider suspending the track from near by tail buildings. Removing the moderately vulnerable street supports (legs).
  • Reliability. Unlike monorails vehicles can fail between stations without interrupting the journeys of other passengers.
  • Reliability Unlike All other forms of transport, power supply to the network can fail completely without severely slowing the network down. Escalators may fail but people only have a short walk up a steep slop. The whole system is fail safe.