June 20, 2009

Streetcar launches UK's first plug-in Prius hire scheme

Car club firm Streetcar is to offer the Amberjac plug-in hybrid Prius from £5.95 an hour in London
Via guardian.co.uk


A plug-in version of the Toyota Prius hybrid, similar to the Amerbjac version being offered by Streetcar in London. Photograph: Karen Bleier/AFP/Getty Images

Car club firm Streetcar has this week launched the UK's first electric car hire scheme, offering Londoners the chance to hire a plug-in hybrid version of Toyota's popular Prius.

The modified version of the hybrid car is provided by UK firm Amberjac Projects and features a new lithium ion phosphate battery that can be charged from the mains, allowing the car to travel up to 30 miles without using the conventional engine.

According to reports from the Evening Standard, the Amberjac Prius will be available for Streetcar members to hire from £5.95 an hour.

Speaking to BusinessGreen.com, Streetcar's co-founder Brett Akker said the company's 58,000 car club members would be the first people in Europe to be able to hire a car with plug-in hybrid technology.

He added that if the trial, which is backed by Camden Council and Transport for London, proves popular the company will aim to roll out more plug-in hybrids across the capital.

"Plug-in hybrids have a lot of potential for car clubs," he said. "The Amberjac has a 30 mile range using the battery, which covers around two thirds of our members' journeys, but it can then also be used for any longer journeys. "

The news follows the launch last week of a new initiative that will see some of the capital's largest fleet operators work with City Hall to accelerate the rollout of electric commercial vehicles.

The group, which includes delivery firms DHL, TNT and UPS, as well as supermarkets M&S and Sainsbury's, pledged to increase their electric vehicle fleets and work with the mayor's office on plans to roll out 25,000 charging points across the city by 2015.

"Not only do electric vehicles save a large sum off fuel bills, helping businesses to remain lean in tough economic times, they are also great for London's environment," said Mayor Boris Johnson. "We are now going to work hand in hand with fleet owners to accelerate the take-up of electric vehicles, which are available to buy right now."

June 17, 2009

Greens propose dedicated fund for cycling infrastructure

Drop mandatory use of cycle lanes and introduce car-free Sundays once a month

The Green Party has proposed the creation of a dedicated fund for cycle projects. Speaking as the country celebrates National Bike Week, Green Party Transport spokesperson Ciaran Cuffe TD said a specific budget should be allowed for improvements in cycling infrastructure.

Deputy Cuffe said: “Ireland is twenty years behind many other countries such as Germany and the Netherlands in providing facilities for cyclists. I believe that the time is right for the creation of a stand-alone fund from which monies can be drawn down for the provision of cycle lanes and facilities. We already have a separate fund for ‘non-national’ roads. We now need a similar one, with a dedicated budget for cycle facilities.

“Local Authorities must do more for cyclists. I believe that every City Council in the country requires a dedicated Cycle Liaison Officer to spearhead improvements for cyclists. In many areas there is a lack of joined-up thinking on provision of road-space for cyclists.”

The Green Party has also proposed that the requirement for mandatory use of cycle lanes should be dropped. This would involve changes in the Road Traffic (Traffic and Parking) (Amendment) Regulations, SI 274 of 1998.

“There’s huge variation in the quality of cycle lanes,” said Deputy Cuffe. “Some lanes are very poorly designed, and cyclists should not be obliged by law to use them. Cities should also provide contra-flow cycle lanes on one-way streets that prevent cyclists from taking a direct route to their destination.”

In addition the Green Party has called for a car-free Sunday once a month on the Liffey Quays. “This would be a great opportunity each a month to give part of Dublin city back to cyclists, and would be good for the city and for tourism. Many cities around the world have similar initiatives that can boost the city’s image,” concluded Deputy Cuffe.

June 16, 2009

Custom Design your own bike

Pedal Mafia

Minister urges commuters to try cycling to work



MINISTER FOR Transport Noel Dempsey yesterday urged commuters to try cycling – and revealed the Government is seeking alternative sources of finance to save up to 10,000 jobs in State road-building projects.

Speaking as he launched National Bike week in Dublin’s Phoenix Park, Mr Dempsey responded to assertions by the Civil Engineering Contractors Association that up to 10,000 road builders face unemployment over the next 12 months, as a result of cuts in national building projects.



The Minister, who joined a crowd of 1,500 people in a family-centred cycle around the park, said he would “be hopeful that the initiative of the Minister for Finance, where he was talking about alternative methods of finance, that we will be able to bring that quickly to Cabinet”.



Already private sector financing has been found for two former public spending projects: the Newlands Cross interchange in Dublin, and improvements to the N11 in Wicklow.

But while he said the Government was keen to secure such alternative sources of funding, he warned “you can’t just keep building roads for the sake of it. From the point of view of the infrastructure programme, if alternative methods of funding can be found, if they are reasonable for the taxpayer, then obviously we will use those and try and maintain as much employment as we possibly can and that would be our aim,” he said.

Mr Dempsey said it was difficult to be definitive on the chances of the Government’s major capital programmes actually going to construction on target, given the fall in the public finances. They were, he said, predicated on a 4 per cent growth rate when the rate this year was more likely to be closer to minus 8 per cent.

He added: “People keep asking me is this going to go ahead, is that going to go ahead – at this stage until we know whether we are going to get alternative sources of finance, I can’t give you any other answer.”

But on the subject of bicycles, Mr Dempsey was more positive. In glorious sunshine he joined children with painted faces, parents on bicycles with tow bars, even a bicycle with an on-board barbecue for a fun cycle to launch National Bike Week, an event which was also raising money for Barnardos.

As he completed his jaunt – on an electrically-assisted bicycle – Mr Dempsey said while cycling in Dublin recently he had experienced first-hand some of the difficulties of disappearing cycle lanes and parking in cycle lanes.

The Minister said €5 million was to be spent this year on eliminating problems with cycle lanes and expanding the network nationally. He said applications were also coming in for the development of cycle-only networks across the country, including one from Kerry for a 40km trail.

The bad news on the day was that the cycle ride failed to live up to its target of a record-breaking 2,000 entrants. But the Minister said the forthcoming An Post Meath Heritage Cycle Tour would take place on Sunday, July 5th, and would offer entrants another chance at the record for the biggest organised cycle.

Irish Times

More info - http://www.bikescheme.ie/

On your bike! The government unveiled an ambitious plan to get 160,000 people on their bikes every day. (TV3 - 20th April 09)

€2bn to quadruple numbers cycling to work (Six One News Monday, 20 April 2009)

Dublin at the Crossroads

The creation of a new greater Dublin region governance with power to raise taxes and set a strategic vision;

A new “working partnership” of all agencies responsible for enterprise and development in the region, with strong links to academia;

An emissions trading initiative to be set up within the financial services sector;

A new IFSC-style centre for the development of digital media and licensing;

Transformation of the current CO2-heavy transport system to avoid high carbon taxes;

Mobile information technology classrooms to travel to disadvantaged areas;

Introduce a “Dublin region brand”, a “Dublin heroes” project and green, eco-friendly taxis to foster identity, recognise achievement and promote environmental awareness;

Tackle urban sprawl by adopting a region-wide policy on height and density.

Address crime through education, special programmes for people at risk and through building strong communities.

Irish Times

Schwinn's Electric Bikes

streamline_1.jpg

Do not attempt to adjust your monitor, this is really a picture of an electric bike. Schwinn’s new electric bikes are probably the slickest and most smoothly integrated set of power-assisted velocipedes we’ve yet seen. Schwinn teamed up with Protanium Inc. to develop a whole series of rides in different configurations (the Streamline pictured above), all of which employ lithium polymer batteries and in-hub motors, both well concealed.

They claim their Plug’n Drive system delivers approx. 40 miles of range and charges fully in four hours. They also claim their batteries deliver full power until completely drained (rather than slowly dwindling). Total bike weight ranges from 40-45 lbs., the electric system alone weighs around ten, the battery is stashed on the cargo rack behind the seat, and electric components live inside the frame tubes. To read more about Schwinn’s 2007 electric bike line and other trends in the electric cycling, check out Forbes Bagatelle-Black’s great review of the North American Bike Show at EV World.

schwinn_continental_bike_women.jpg

No word on price yet for the Schwinn’s, but they could be looking at a corner on the market. The company has offered electric bikes and scooters in the past, but the vast majority of motor-assisted bikes on the market come out looking freakish (like this electric bike from Aprilia or this electric bike from eZee). Beautiful as they may be to the more deeply appreciating ecological citizen, electric bikes won’t go big time until they can blend in the with rest of the pack.

After many delays, Schwinn's new electric bikes are now available in certain bike stores. The range includes the Campus, the least expensive model at $1,900, the World GSE, which sells for $2,200, and the Continental priced at $2,500. These bikes look just like regular bikes -- the electric motors and batteries are integrated seamlessly into the design.

campus_schwinn_electric_bicycle.jpg

Schwinn claims that the four pound Protanium lithium polymer battery included with these bikes is the lightest and most durable on the market. One charge will last 40-60 miles. You detach the batteries to charge them, so there are no wires on the bike itself. The bikes use a 250 watts max electric hub motor in the front wheel, controlled by a throttle on the handlebar which can propel the bike up to 18 mph. The batteries have a lifespan of about 3 years.

A word of caution: the electric bike review magazine, A To B, warns that the Schwinns they tested had battery problems when going uphill.

schwinn_gse_world_electric_bike.jpg

Cykel: A Plug-in Electric Bike Sharing Concept

cykel electric bike
Photo courtesy of Brian Mcallister

Cykel is a plug-in electric bike sharing system designed for a wide range of users and topographies. The concept was inspired by the popular bike share programs found throughout Europe.

It functions on either pedal-power or fully as an electric bike, which opens up transportation to wide range of users. It's especially appealing for cities with more difficult topographies like San Francisco.

cykel electric bike
Photo courtesy of Brian Mcallister


Designed to be very low maintenance, it has solid over-mold tires to avoid flats. And the drive train is fully enclosed as to avoid any nasty wardrobe malfunctions. When docked, the bike will charge via its two locking points.

Ideally, these systems would be installed throughout the city to fill gaps in its current transit system.

Source: Brian Mcallister for the University of Washington Design Show 2009

Via: Treehugger

June 12, 2009

The Cardboard Bike

cardboard bicycle, cardboard bike, bike made from cardboard, eco-friendly bicycle, cardboard bike Phil Bridge, student design bicycle, Sheffeld England student design, cardboard bike, transportation tuesday, cardboard2.jpg

A bicycle is stolen in England every 71 seconds. So how do you solve this problem through the power of design? According to design student Phil Bridge, make a bike so cheap that there’s no incentive to steal it. And the intrepid design student did just that, by building a bike for about $30 made out of cardboard. Yes, my friends, cardboard!

cardboard bicycle, cardboard bike, bike made from cardboard, eco-friendly bicycle, cardboard bike Phil Bridge, student design bicycle, Sheffeld England student design, cardboard bike, transportation tuesday, cbbike1.jpg

The 21 year old student designed and created a cardboard bike as part of his degree course in product design at Sheffield Hallam University. The bicycle is not made out of simple ordinary corrugated cardboard, as that would not be strong enough to hold a person’s weight. Instead, Phil used hexacomb board, a more structurally stable form of cardboard which, by the way, is also waterproof. Not all of the bike is made out of cardboard. Tires, chain and brakes are still the same metal and rubber components as any other bike.

The cheap and cheerful cardboard bicycle will hold anyone, provided such person does not weigh more than 168 pounds. And while not designed for speed, the bike does work and will get you to where you want to go. Bridge is now hoping to get a sponsor for to turn his bike into an actual product. Any takers?

cardboard bicycle, cardboard bike, bike made from cardboard, eco-friendly bicycle, cardboard bike Phil Bridge, student design bicycle, Sheffeld England student design, cardboard bike, transportation tuesday, cardboard2.jpg

cardboard bicycle, cardboard bike, bike made from cardboard, eco-friendly bicycle, cardboard bike Phil Bridge, student design bicycle, Sheffeld England student design, cardboard bike, transportation tuesday, cardboard2.jpg

cardboard bicycle, cardboard bike, bike made from cardboard, eco-friendly bicycle, cardboard bike Phil Bridge, student design bicycle, Sheffeld England student design, cardboard bike, transportation tuesday, cardboard1.jpg


Via Inhabitat

The DIY Floating Water Bike

floating bike, Do-it-youtself  project, prototype floating bike, chinese bike


Have you ever thought to yourself while riding a bike “Gee, I sure wish that I could cross that river.” Well now here’s your chance! Li Wieguo has come up with a relatively cheap and practical DIY project that lets you modify your bike to make it float and work on water. Sure beats taking a boat.

floating bike, Do-it-youtself  project, prototype floating bike, chinese bike

The alternative mode of transportation was shown off at the Naishahu Park in the province of Hubei in China and works by attaching eight water gallons to a metal frame attached to the bike. The wheels have been outfitted with paddles which allow it to maneuver. When the bike is on the road, the water gallons are raised, making it suitable for the street. Li Weiguo spent around 20,000 yuan (around $3,000) to develop the bike and is currently trying to refine his design and is looking for a manufacturer to mass produce it.

Via Inhabitat

June 11, 2009

Bicycle Arches

Archway made out of Bicycles at the Burning man festival in Nevada



Bicycle Gateway

Cycle Gateway erected for Toronto's Cycle week. This was arranged by West 8 Urban Designers as part of their proposals for the Toronto waterfront.





No More Uphill Struggle

Trampe: The world's first bicycle lift; Trondheim, Norway

Innovative solution to getting more people to cycle.

As discussed in a previous entry the Green Party is actively focusing on creating a cycle culture in Dublin, we must not forget about the Southern capital. I can well imagine one of these going up Patrick's Hill!!





Logic: ski lift technology + bicycle = a cycle[able] hilly city!



More information is available at http://www.trampe.no/english

June 9, 2009

U2's new stage

The 3d graphic animation is really crap compared to the real thing. This is huge!



Tron Space

Small Scale

Exyzt installation at the Paris Social Club



Large Scale

Exyzt - Boom Box - Nuit Blanche,Amiens




Mega Scale

Daft Punk Alive Tour 2007

June 5, 2009

MPC Showreel

Great Architecture Animation

Squint/Opera

Buildings As Active Performace

"INFINITY"

Great £d Animation work and cinematography here from Japanese film makers WOW for Citizen Advert



Exyzt



and they're prototype installation 'MONUMENTO PROTO'



and some earlier experimentation from Exyzt which has been brought around the world with Dj Etienne de Crecy



Live in Matter, London



and if you think you have seen this before, its because you probably have, when the Killers ripped it for the MTV awards in Liverpool last year

June 4, 2009

Green Party Cycle Plan for Dublin

Click here to download document

Bicycle Parking Manual for Spain

New Bicycle Parking Manual,authored by BACC, that was first presented at the recent  Seville conference for the Public Bicycle. The manual, published in Castellano, is the  first of its kind, directed at cycle parking and built-environment stakeholders, authorities and specifiers, throughout Spain. It was funded by the Spanish Institute for Energy Saving and Diversification (IDAE) and the Spanish Ministry of Industry, Tourism and Commerce. A pdf of the manual can be downloaded here. Bikeoff’s ongoing exchange with BACC and other cycle user and cycle security groups in Spain and other parts of Europe allowed them to draw on their research and in-practice experience to make informed contributions to the publication.

handbook for bicycle parking

Dansk Cyklist Forbund (Danish Bicyclist Union) has recently published a handbook on how to solve the bicycle parking problem. (Download a Danish version here)




the handbook at Rasmus Br√łnnum's Blog

Swedish Airport Coaches