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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.

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.

YAKKAY HELMETS

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.

yakkay

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.

YAKKAY is the brainchild of 5

Danish designers who felt the need to reconcile their love for bikes with their hate of above-the-neck dorkiness.

BIKE TRASH CAN

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.

via Copenhagenize

BACKPACK BIKE

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.

via Inhabitat

I-CYCLE

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.

via PSFK

LIGHT LANE

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.

via GOOD Magazine

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Monday Music Muse: Rachael Cantu

Cross-country coolness and how to go down with the devil’s thunder.

Rachael CantuRachael Cantu is an indie music poster child.

Off-mainstream mindset? Check — a SoCal native, Rachael decided to go against the grain and move… gasp… east on her 21st birthday, where she quickly made her mark on the Boston indie music scene, then victoriously returned to California. Touring with indie icons? Check — Tegan and Sara, we’re looking at you. A “whole package” deal? Check — this singer-songwriter comes with haunting vocals and a deeply human lyrical sensibility.

And since it’s time for the obligatory comparison to put Rachael’s music in context, we’ll just say she’s part Ingrid Michaelson, part Iron & Wine, part something else entirely, all dipped in the vocal magnetism of an early Sarah McLachlan.

Rachael Cantu: Run All NightWe recently caught one of Rachael’s most powerful songs, Devil’s Thunder, on an episode of ABC’s Private Practice. The song, unfortunately, is yet to be released — but you can hear it on Rachael’s MySpace or settle for this crappy YouTube version.

Give Rachael’s latest album, Run All Night, a spin for a taste of this up-and-comer.

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Animation Spotlight: Big Buck Bunny

Seven months in Amsterdam, a very fat rabbit, and some really, really mean rodents.

In October 2007, the Blender Foundation decided to invite seven of the world’s best 3D animators to Amsterdam, where the team was to spend 7 months collaborating on a short film licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 license.

bunny_logoDubbed the Peach Open Movie Project, the effort resulted in Big Buck Bunny — a delightful animation showcasing both world-class talent and the ability to create phenomenal content through collaboration.

So if you’re a believer in this kind of idea propagation, do scroll down to the bottom of this page an make a modest PayPal donation.

Meanwhile, the film is also available to download in a variety of free formats. Or, you can buy the DVD, which includes a number of super sweet extras besides the HD film — the original script and story files, all models and textures used to animate the characters, commentary tracks by the animators themselves, and more.

Here’s to the power of creative collaboration.

via Abduzeedo

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Show & Tell: Mapping Obama’s Speech

Obama’s inauguration speech, graphically facilitated in (almost) real time.

Graphic facilitator Brandy Agerbeck has hit another home run with Obama’s inauguration speech, wonderfully illustrated in nearly-real time. And while the experience was a first for Brandy — she normally facilitates messier conversations between multiple people, not succinct monologues — it was a true exercise in illustrating history.

Obama's Inauguration Speech

Graphic facilitation is the art-science of mapping a conversation as it occurs. It comes particularly handy during meetings and brainstorming sessions where ideas are being rapidly thrown around, bouncing off and copulating with each other to produce new, better ones — that’s when the graphic facilitator, madly drawing a huge real-time mural of what is being said, really… well… facilitates.

See more of Brandy’s phenomenal work over at Loosetooth and/or download a PDF of the Obama facilitation.

via Coudal

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