What is trending now?
Bicycles. Seems that recently everywhere you look one is seeing a renewed interest and obsession with bicycles.
Why its important?
Three reasons this is happening, it is cheaper, greener and local-er.
The rocketing cost of transport is spurring the return to pedal power. Bike sharing and bike rental has already been in operation in Europe and in the US. Vélib’, is a bicycle sharing system in Paris, that has been very successful even if they did take some time to get it off the ground. In London, although sponsored by Barclays Bank, they are named “Boris Bikes” (after the mayor Boris Johnson who initiated the system). In New York they are sponsored by Citibank and thus named CitiBikes. The largest system is in Hangzhou, China, which has 60,000 bikes, compared to Paris’ 20,000 bikes.
Helmet hub is a helmet renting vending machine that will be launched soon in Boston to compliment their bike sharing program. Whispers abound of similar bicycle projects back home, the most recent announcement by the city of Johannesburg of a bicycle project which is a link between Noordgesig in Soweto and Orlando that will serve as a pilot project for other non-motorised transport promotion projects.
It’s greener and healthier
In recent years people have become more aware of the environment and their own wellness, riding a bike is simply better for both. You can get yourself and electric bicycle locally, reminiscent of the old school “help-my-trap” (moped), to get you up those hills from the guys at Cycology.
Locavores (persons that prefer local produce, goods etc) are a fast multiplying breed. The new luxury, as I wrote in another flux observation ‘The Pedestrian’, is to live within walking distance to your office, your kid’s schools etc. Well, then to live within biking distance is a close second. Look closely and you’ll already see fixed gear and restored vintage bikes for sale in your very local, especially hipster, coffee shops. The Whippet coffee shop in Linden, Johannesburg even has a refurbished Penny Farthing for sale.
Another global attempt to take back the local is the Critical Mass movement, Critical Mass is a monthly bicycle ride to celebrate cycling and to assert cyclists’ right to the road, with rides happening locally in Johannesburg, Cape Town and Pretoria.
What’s the butterfly effect
Is it bike friendly?
The most obvious effect of the bicycle trend is that homes, businesses neighbourhood need to think bicycle. Are there safe places for the bikes to be stored, locked up? Are there special bicycle roads? Simply put a coffee shop or mall with access for cyclists and a safe bike stand is more likely to get more customers than one without.
The more cyclists, the more tech will be developed and available, here are some accessories for your bike already out there. The Helios handlebars that integrate lighting, turn signals, GPS navigation and a speedometer using LED’s right into your handle bars.
These are to be controlled with an app on your smartphone of course. Which, interestingly enough, you can power with your pedals by purchasing an Atom from, which stores the energy generated from your pedalling in a removable battery pack that you can use to charge via usb almost any mobile device. Which you will need after you have connected the Wahoo RFLKT to your iPhone. This gadget allows you to control and access your apps and listen to your music on your device, whilst integrating with your fitness apps.
The pioneers and global hotspots
Most major metropolitan cities have started to or caught up to places like Amsterdam in the Netherlands, to become more bike friendly. At the end of the day, this trend is being driven from the bottom up, the more bikes on the road the more the powers that be will create the systems, tech and infrastructures needed to support the cyclist.
By: Pierre Du Plessis
Pierre is a communicator, a dreamer and a troublemaker. He loves how we are all connected in more astounding ways and more than we ever thought.
He is completely obsessed with life in contemporary culture and he wallows in new ideas and marvels at how they can restore and re – create our world.