Friday, May 2, 2008

What time is it? Well, time first began in...

Hans Tan Studio wants to tell you what time it is in as many words as possible on a sign that displays the time, offering a visual interpretation of a clock in paragraph form...all of which, at quarter till three (you'd think writing a repetitive, redundant, run-on, redundant sentence would be fairly easy, but you'd be surprised).

This work, Idea of a Clock II, is a literal conversation piece, playful in both form and function. I love how it drags out the normal function of a time-piece, forcing the viewer to read the time instead of telling the time. We could all use a little slowdown nowadays.

Although I don't normally post about installations like this, I found it too hard to resist. It's neat in an I'd-never-need-to-purchase-that kind of way.

In essence, the design is the sentence itself, where language is used to convey a clock as an idea, reducing a timepiece as an object to the immateriality of an "idea piece". The idea behind a designed object finally loses its pretense with matter and stands in front.

Monday, April 28, 2008

A Carectomy isn't as invasive as you might think...

Don't believe me? You try living without your car for a year. Believe it or not, it can be done...

Considering that bicycles are the most energy efficient vehicles on the planet and gas prices are continuing to soar over $4.00/gallon, let's see what the future has in store for the modern two-wheeler, because it won't be long before the critical mass begins to push pedals nationwide.

By the way, Happy 1st day of Bike to Work Month!!!

Viva la velorution!


The Classic Design:
The Trio Bike 2.0 - Copenhagen
While the bike itself isn't necessarily a classic, the design certainly is. Commuters have long been searching for a bicycle that will help them multi-task trips to the grocery, library, bakery and onward. Sometimes, a saddlebagged velocipede just won't suffice. The style is classic and the design is, trends be damned, everlasting. Expect to see a new line of SUB's coming to a bike shop near you. Don't believe me? Check out a bike happy city like Amsterdam. Here's 82 pictures taken in 73 minutes.
The Trio Bike has been touted as, "the world's first family carrier bike with 3 independent functions: a bike, 2-seat buggy and multi award winning carrier bike. Simple interchangeable design requires no tools to switch between functions. Capable of carrying 80kg payload equivalent to 2 children aged up to 9 years."

Simple, adaptable, user-centered design from the Danes? Who knew?


The Future/The Now of the Modern Commute:
As gas prices continue to fuel an unintentional, global environmental movement and more and more people continue to push their cars aside, bicycle storage --in addition to offering valuable LEED credits for a building-- will become commonplace. And as cities continue to trend towards an urbanized environment, the more wonderfully stylish ways in which to store those bicycles will begin to hit the streets!

The entire award-winning Cyclepod line is made either from 90% recycled (and recyclable) aluminium, or fibre-reinforced plastic (FRP), which is 20% recycled and 60% recyclable. The pods also offer a solar-powered security light for ambient night light. I'd like to see the base put on a rotational wheel, so you could embed the entire system in a wall like a lazy Susan, making your own little bicycle closet!

Bike Tree
Think of it as an urban storage attic. And while their storage unit design is wonderfully modern, their website is horrifically dated and difficult to navigate. So please hold on tight as try to explain...

The trunk of the "tree," while somewhat larger in appearance, realistically takes up no more space than its live brethren. The bicycles are pulled up in to the canopy of the cover by battery-stored solar power, where they sit guarded by automatically activated security cameras until their owners requests them downward. It really is an amazing system, but the company could really use a makeover, especially if they're looking to compete in the tech sector.

The Tokyo Bike Lift
I have no other website information for this system, other than the fact that just about every tech website has published this video in the last week, thus making it valid in interest alone. I love the concept, but the application is entirely overdone.


The Future/The Now of the Modern Commute:

I'm beginning to wonder just how trustworthy us Americans can be, considering bike-share programs seem to be taking off all over the world...except the United States. The system itself, however, is in reality just beginning to take shape.

According to some experts, the bike share concept --though 40+ years old-- is only in version 3.0. As far as current successes go, your choices are limited: Bicing in Barcelona, the Vélo'v in Lyon, and Vélib' [above photo] in France - all of which have shined to some extent. So why should the future excel, compared to the failures and minimal successes of the past? Integration.

New bike share concepts are now including modern mass transit. This "fourth generation" of bike share, like the one taking shape in the cities surrounding Washington DC, are planning on integrating their programs with bus and light rail, offering complete packages for maximized mass transit.

Some programs already taking shape: Portland, Tulsa, the aforementioned Washington DC area.


The Future of Bicycle Design:
TheftProof Bike - Core 77 One Hour Challenge
Seats get stolen, wheels get ripped off, and anything not bolted down soon disappears. So the question is, how do you add to a bike to protect it from additional thieving?

This concept from RBAid in the Core 77 One Hour Challenge won top prize for its inherent usability. After locking up, most users will already remove their bicycle seat, so why not integrate it into the security system? I think it's only a matter of time before we see this go in to production on novice/commuter bicycles.


The Future of Bicycle Design/The Modern Commute:
The HE: Human Electric Hybrid Vehicle
Like its predecessor the Twike (which only gets 550 mpg) the HE is the Toyota Prius of bicycles, only you are powering the gasoline.

The HE has powered stored in its battery cells to provide uphill and forward assistance, but recharges during downhill descents and during moments of de-acceleration from regenerative braking. Still not enough juice? The HE also utilizes photovoltaics placed on top of the vehicle.


The Future of Bicycle Design:

The Cube Urban Concept Bike
What looks more like a triathlon time trial bike is actually a foldable, collapsible concept of sexy.

My German is a little rusty, but if my translations are correct, here's what I can tell...

The wheels are made out of light-weight carbon, but collapse to next to nothing in just two steps. It was designed as something for "sporty" people to use strictly for commuting, instead of using their weekend sport bikes/mountain bikes (think of it as TheftProof Bike 2.0). Cranks and pedals are removable and the frame collapses on adjustable fulcrums, while the seat adjusts both horizontally and vertically.

I have long-believed that the folding bike would go the way of the flying car - always a want but never a possibility. This concept, however, brings feasible design to the table. I would NOT kick this design out of my morning commute.

But if it's not UrbanAdventure-enough for you, here's a much "harder" model from Folding Bike Innovations, called the Onyerbike (flash saturated site).


The Future of the Bicycle Friendly City/The Modern Commute:
I've seen the future, and it's got some big-aaaasssssss sidewalks. Nothing gets my commuter wheels spinnin' faster than the idea of physically separated bicycle lanes, 20ft wide sidewalks and independent streets for mass transit vehicles. Outside Online has a great article explaining these concepts (and more) after the picture.

From Outside Online:

Pedestrian Plan
1. I'M WALKIN' HERE!: Even, level sidewalks should be at least 20 feet wide to allow ample room for pedestrians and enough space for people to stop and chat or look in shop windows without causing a pileup.

2. BIKER ALLEY: Creating a safe, welcoming environment for city cyclists begins with bike lanes painted a noticeable color (green in the Manhattan and Brooklyn pilot projects) and separated from traffic by parked cars or flexible bollards where possible.

3. NO PARKING: Free and cheap parking will have to be severely cut back. "You can essentially store your property in this public space that could be used so much more productively," says White. Selective removal of on-street parking will discourage car use and recapture space for wider sidewalks, bike lanes, bike parking, plantings, sitting areas, and even taxi stands.

4. EXTRA PROTECTION: Extending the medians through the crosswalks, in effect creating a protective bracket on the side of the crosswalk exposed to traffic, keeps pedestrians safe, gives them a mid-crossing refuge, and keeps traffic from cutting too close to the medians. Bollards serve as both a visible marker and physical barrier.

5. A WIDE SWATH: "We need to have extended, exclusive pedestrian crossing time," says White, "so people aren't molested by turning vehicles." Crosswalks should be clearly and uniformly marked, with signals recalibrated to a walking rate of 2.5 feet per second to give enough time to the elderly, young, and disabled.

6. LOOKOUT: The installation of both red-light and speed cameras, particularly in high-traffic areas, will keep motorists to slow, pedestrian-safe speeds.

7. LOUNGE AREAS: Encouraging cycling will require more bike racks and bike parking; making the streets safer for pedestrians will require more bollards and better lighting for sidewalks; and benches, tables, and other places to watch the world go by will foster community in public spaces.

8. STRIP GARDENS: Raised and widened medians with plantings serve as refuge, help "calm" traffic, and give the street a boulevard-like feel.

9. CURB ENTHUSIASM: "Bumping out" intersections with curb extensions and bollards (rigid three-foot posts) means safer streets, narrowing crossing distances, making pedestrians and cars more visible to each other, and keeping traffic in line. They should feature on the corners of high-traffic streets.

I want to riiide my biiiicycle....

As Bike-to-work month continues to creep up on your back wheel, I thought it might be interesting to see how efficiently we could map our bike routes, breaking down everything from kilometers and calories, to routes and roads.

[Photo: Bicycle parking at a library in the Netherlands. The foldable plates on the top of the stands can be lowered over the seats if it begins to rain.]

Speaking of efficiency, I'm lazy! It appears as though Bike Hacks has already beaten me to the pedal. They've compiled a list of both global and location-specific mapping tools to help you organize your commute.

The list is quite impressive, not just in terms of interweb tools, but in terms of interest. It's great to see that there so many different regions picking up their bikes, and putting down those congestion-inducing car keys.

From their website (via Carectomy):

Crickey, there are a lot of ways to map your bike route! This list focuses on freely available versions. I’ve caught a lot of them, but I’m sure there are more. If you notice that I missed your favorite free bike route mapping tool, drop it in the comments!

There are plenty of places that’ll sell you a bike map, but I’m mainly interested in maps that are offered for free. And, amazingly, these aren’t all variations on (the excellent) Google Maps. This list is broken into two sections, with only the vaguest notions of organization. The first section are resources that are more global in nature. The second section are more location-specific maps.

Read more HERE