There has never been a better time to ride! The spring of 2013 is packed with new innovations to make bicyclists’ lives easier, and cycling more enjoyable. Motivated by environmental preservation, economic limitations, the need for more user-friendly bike designs and customer goodwill, you might love what’s in store for bicycling this year.
We’ve compiled some of the coolest new innovations for bicyclists, and offer a glimpse of each of them here:
1. The Pump Hub could mark the beginning of the end for manual bike pumps, thanks to an automatic tire inflation device that works while you ride! Designed by Californian engineer and bicycle enthusiast Kevin Manning, the Pump Hub sits right in the bike tire and works by transferring air to the tire valve system during the wheel’s rotation. Tire pressure is set by the rider. The tire inflates as soon as pedaling begins, and the pump shuts off once the tire is full – a process that takes about one and a half minutes. Completely flat tires can be filled by simply spinning the wheel by hand for about 60 seconds.
2. The Thin Bike is a full-sized bike that has been cleverly designed to make it easier to carry, transport and store. The Thin Bike has a lightweight frame with foldable pedals and a quick release, fold-flat handlebar mechanism. There are plenty of reasons that a thin bike can alleviate the headaches associated with owning and using a full size bike, especially for people living in small spaces with no storage options. The Thin Bike’s addition of a grease-free carbon drive means you can carry it up and down stairs and on mass transit without getting dirty. Sweet. Designed by TreeHugger.com founder Graham Hill, who has teamed up with Berlin-based Schindelhauer Bikes to manufacture the Thin Bike.
3. Bike Share programs rock. Europeans have enjoyed bike share programs for decades, so it’s about time they began catching on in the U.S. Now, 30 U.S. cities have launched bike share programs, including Boston, D.C., Minneapolis, and Chattanooga, to name just a few. Bike share programs allow any adult to rent a bike for short-term commutes between designated bike stations or docks scattered across the city. Bike share programs save users money, lighten automobile use, and help reduce the automotive carbon footprint.
4. The Cardboard Bicycle Project takes green to a new level by producing bicycles made of durable, recyclable cardboard. Israeli engineer and systems developer Izhar Gafni invented the cardboard bike, making it strong, waterproof and inexpensive (about $9 per bike) to manufacture. Although it really is made of cardboard, The Cardboard Bicycle looks like it’s made of a hard, lightweight polymer. The bike is stronger than carbon fiber and can carry riders weighing more than 400 pounds. Close to being mass produced, once it hits the market you can pick one up for about $20.
5. Free Air Company was started by the owner of a great little bike shop in Hermosa Beach, California, Steve Collins, who set out to improve what they called their “hose situation” – a couple of air hoses left hanging out of the window for customers to use. Collins, founder and president of Free Air Company built three “free air” stations in his garage, and installed them where the bike shop hoses had been located. Customers loved them, and appreciated the fact that Collins set each free air station up with easy-to-follow instructions, removing the intimidation factor that goes with putting air in bike tires. Free air brought goodwill to the bike shop, and launched the Free Air Company, which manufactures the Free Air Station™. Bike stores can purchase these high quality, accurate and reliable units, and Collins says that if a bike store sells just one nice bike to a customer attracted by the Free Air Station, the unit is paid for.
Let us know what you think of these new innovations for bicyclists, and if you know of any we failed to mention. We welcome your comments!