Get on your bike! It’s trendy. This is obviously great news for lowering emissions and improving fitness but the growing trend of the bicycle is also bringing about some great innovations, events and developments. Here are a few that have caught my eye recently:There are a number of companies offering ‘old bikes made new’. But none of them do it quite so beautifully as Monochrome. Monochrome offer four different models and apparently each recycled bike produced uses only 20% of the energy required to create a new one. Add to that their finishing touches, such as hand stitched leather seats, stainless steel handlebars and a monochrome finish using water-based inks, and what you get is a a very cool ride. I’ve been happily wearing my Neumatica bag for over a year now. Neumatica, an Argentinian company, have a great range of products, all well-designed, durable, waterproof and made from rubbish. Well, recycled car and bicycle inner tubes to be more specific. Another company recycling old inner tubes is Colombian, eco-friendly design company Cyclus. Their striking designs are unique, especially their Pangolin backpack and Pangolina handbag. Cyclehoop is an award-winning British company of designers and architects, specialising in the production of cycle parking solutions. The Cyclehoop is a retrofit bike stand that can be fitted to existing street furniture, such as signposts and lamp posts, to provide a secure bicycle parking for up to 2 bikes. Cyclehoop has also developed a sturdy, vandal-proof public bicycle pump. The bollard like pump has already been installed in two sites in London, lets hope it spreads to more. The Masa Critica (or Critical Mass) movement is not an organisation, it is more like an organised coincidence that happens when lots of cyclists meet in the same place, at the same time and ride together through the city. It is well established in Buenos Aires and on the first Sunday of the month at 4pm, cyclists meet at the city’s famous Obelisk landmark (see photo above left) to take an unplanned route around the city. But its not just in Buenos Aires… Critical Mass started in San Francisco back in 1992 and has since spread to over 300 cities worldwide, including London.
In the last 6 months or so dedicated bike lanes (see photos above right) have appeared in Buenos Aires and more importantly there are cyclists using them. However, as with any change, it will take some time before the cities non-cyclists stop thinking of the bike lanes as handy parking spaces or places to put their rubbish bins and skips!Bikes are beautiful. Take them out of their usual two-wheeled transport context, add a little imagination and what do you get? Well if you are artist Benjamin Bullins then you get a bike stand for a sink (see photo above left). There are plenty of other examples of people getting creative upcycling bike parts, check out Upcycle Bicycle on Etsy.
Bikes are also prominent in Mexico City’s trendy Zona Rosa and Roma neighbourhoods. Although when I visited recently their presence was more noticeable as props in shop windows and featuring as street art (see photo above right) than actually being pedalled. Except for the shiny red EcoBicis, the Mexico City equivalent of London’s Boris Bikes, which were plentiful around the city (see photo above right).
So there you have it! Let me know what you think about any of the items mentioned above… or any others that deserve a mention.