Best of Bike Culture: Innovation Top 5
Brainwear for smart people, going Dutch on trash, backpack to downhill in 60 seconds, documenting the two-wheel lifestyle, and how to get yourself a private bike lane.
By Maria Popova
We love bikes. We love riding them, we love looking at them, we love everything they stand for. So in this bike-loving spirit, we honed down the five most inspired pieces of bike-centric design innovation.
We’re big believers here in the inherent insufficiency of mere aesthetics. But when an object is smart by concept and aesthetically delightful by design, we’re all over it.
Case in point: YAKKAY bicycle helmets, the marriage of safety and style.
Rather brilliantly dubbed “brainwear for smart people,” the helmets are basically a hard “core” covered by a soft hat-like “skin.” They’re available in a multitude of colors and currently come in 4 models, each named after a major fashion capital and reflecting its iconic style.
Danish designers who felt the need to reconcile their love for bikes with their hate of above-the-neck dorkiness.
Reason #3,587 to love The Netherlands: Bike-centric garbage disposal.
No more slowing down, no more obscene pressure for Major League hand-eye coordination. And that’s just the tip of the Dutch cycling infrastructure iceberg.
Folding bikes have been around for a while, regarded with anything from indifference to ridicule. But thanks go Bergmönch, we’re about to enter a whole new era of folding bike street cred.
The Technik folding bike is a slick, beautifully engineered technological marvel that folds into a rather regular-looking backpack weighing a measly 20 pounds. It includes a helmet net and 12 liters worth of storage space for other stuff you may choose to lug around. Best part: It takes less than two minutes to go from backpack to downhill cruising.
Few of us suspect just how broad and diverse the bike-centric lifestyle really is.
Always the subculture explorer, PUMA recently partnered with bike-minded filmmaker Daniel Leeb to release The I-Cycle Film Series — five wonderful short films documenting the contributions of five different influencers to bike culture.
Each film explores a different passion for the two-wheel lifestyle, from the artistically driven to the socially conscious to the urban-utilitarian.
Featured in the series are Matthew McGuinness, co-founder of Brooklyn-based art collective The 62, George Bliss, mastermind of New York’s Pedicabs, Brendt Barbur, founder of The Bicycle Film Festival, Matthew Modine, actor and founder of Bicycle-For-A-Day, and PUMA’s own CMO, Antonio Bertone.
Even in the most bike-friendly of cities, there are never enough bike lanes. Their scarcity is as dangerous as it is annoying — with nearly 1,000 people dying in bike accidents each year and over 40,000 getting injured, alleviation is desperately needed.
Luckily, the smart design folk at Altitude came up with LightLane — a brilliant concept that equips bikes with a set of lights, which project a moving bike lane a few feet in front of and behind the cyclist.
And while there’s no prototype yet, the idea is simply too good to perish — so get ready to roam the city from the safety of your own private bike lane while enjoying the bewildered looks of drivers and pedestrians alike.
Published January 27, 2009