For most people, the end of biking season looms with the beginning of autumn. But the bicycle evolution keeps on cycling forward. Here are five excellent – and innovative – options that might just turn you into a perennial pedaller.
1. A bike that reflects your true colours
Strada makes every one of its individually assembled bicycles a unique expression of its owner. Customization begins online with a profile of an all-white bike and a five-colour palette for mixing and matching the frame, grips, chain, rear rim, front rim and tires. Or you can just push Randomize! for a more roll-of-the-dice look. The combinations are endlessly dreamy.
2. The thinking bike
Taking everything that’s good about the Prius, Toyota enlisted Parlee Cycles and design studio Deeplocal to come with an equally state-of-the-art bike. The 10-week assignment over this past summer resulted in a super-light concept bike and neuron helmet that allows riders to change their gears when they change their mind. You simply think “shift up” or “shift down” and the bike responds. The integrated GPS system also predetermines the ideal gear based on your current location’s terrain, and an app monitors heart rate, speed and cadence. Over time, it also remembers your pedalling behaviour on certain routes and switches to autopilot mode for auto shifting.
3. A model with integrated lights and locking system
Oddly, bike lights have always been sold as accessories, not fixed elements. Dutch company Vanmoof changed all that a few years ago with its sleek anodized aluminum framed bikes that sport solar-powered LEDs, chargeable through a micro USB. A heavy duty built-in chain lock can be pulled out of the frame’s top tube, wrapped around a post and locked with a key. The latest limited-edition is called Düsenjäger, designed by Sjoerd Smit; its beautiful, super-smart construction just won it a Red Dot award.
4. The bike that grows itself
Bamboo frames are a favourite among eco-lovers, but the Ajiro Velobike actually grows into its form right out of the earth, making it the first bike farmed rather than factory made. The concept is the brainchild of Alexander Vittouris, a student at Australia’s Monash University, who developed the bike using arborsculpture – the science of modifying plants to grow into predetermined shapes. The idea – a finalist of this year’s Australian Design Award – James Dyson Award – is to create a clean footprint and eliminate post-harvest construction.
5. The cargo bike
A few years ago, Valentin Vodev of Pix Studio in Vienna designed a sporty looking baby buggy that featured a foot-pushing scooter, making a stroll through the park a whole lot more fun – and fast. His latest design is a three-wheeler with a generous suitcase attached for carrying loads of up to 40 kilograms. While it is electrically assisted, the Vienna Bike isn’t bulky. The space between its back two wheels measures just 35 centimetres, not much more than a regular bicycle, and it can also fold for easy transportation.