New Zealand. I mean, what’s in the water! A reader brought my attention to the Shweeb system, by this crazy guy Geoffrey Barnett, who has gone so far as to build a full working prototype. Talk about confidence in an untried idea! And what is the idea? Pedal powered capsules, slung from a monorail. No friction. No wind resistance. No hills. No traffic—save perhaps two dozen loafers ahead of you on the line, just waiting for you to catch up and push them along. Alright, so there are some issues. Plenty of issues (modal shifts, redistribution of capsules… don’t get me started). But gentlemen, please, surely there is more to discuss around bicycle transit than helmet laws, lycra, or whatever else we can find to divides us.
In the end the Shweeb may not be about urban transit, in any form we know it already. But what about applications in industry? Transporting workers to mine sites perhaps. Linking remote communities in places where roads often wash out. What about as a device to stretch a particular building across an extraordinarily large site, to colonize it, for whatever reason. Or why not just build these things everywhere, because we can, and are bored putting men on the men.
In our appraisal, the Shweeb would benefit from wattage monitors, making it cheeper to use for those who pedal harder. That way, heroes like me, will be compensated for pushing slow pokes like you.
Ideas competition: the reader who pens the best architectural application for the Shweeb, as a comment below, will win an invitation to the forthcoming cycle-space launch party.