The technoascetic velomobilist, iPhone equipped

Help me here gentlemen, I have an opportunity to speak with the team behind the Copenhagen Wheel when I go to Boston next month, but I’m not sure I’m convinced of the Copenhagen Wheel’s merits. The cyclist in me says, "no way am I going to use an iPhone to control my speed, or choose routes with clean air, or any such nonsense." And I can’t see regenerative braking working for cyclists, unless they’re heading down mountains. But the architect dreamer in me, wants to explore the potential.

You see, the city has become an article of faith among architects, the way the body was in the Renaissance, or the primitive hut was to Laugier. So for decades architects have been seeing buildings as microcosmic versions of their urban contexts. The prospect of using augmented reality (AR), and these prostheses, bicycles, to invert that equation and turn the city into a building of sorts, is electric my friends.

I want to ride in a toga, like Caine on Kung Fu, with no worldly possessions spare my fixie and an iPhone mounted on the handlebars, where lesser mortals might mount their brakes. I want to make the whole city my office. I’ll check into hotels when I’m ready for bed. We’ll all live this way. We’ll just drift from city to city. We’ll wander the globe.

Many cyclists reading will be lost about now. Architects though, will see where I’m coming from. But dreamers don’t understand cycling, and cyclists don’t understand dreamers. Perhaps the world needs a new Steven Roberts, the guy who crisscrossed the US on a 125kg recumbent equipped so he could type computer reviews as he rode, using four keys beneath each of his hand grips. Well today he could achieve as much in his work day on a 6kg fixie, with a voice recognition app on his iPhone. Better still, he (or myself… because he might be over it) could crisscross countries in a three wheel canoe. I figure if I vent my insanity here, I won’t need to act out. 

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