Futurists think a lot about what transportation might look like. Will we travel via bullet train or hyperloop? Who and what will take us to space? Are those hoverboards coming anytime soon? jetpacks? In the future, I plan to keep riding my bike, I’ll pass on that smartwheel, thank you very much. The bike as we know it, however, might look drastically different, and they’ll likely be able to do all kinds of things bikes of today can’t.
For cyclists who think that turning wheels on the ground has gotten old, there’s a hover bike in the works. Aerofex is working on a “bike” that looks more like Annakin’s pod racer from The Phantom Menace. Powered by ducted fans, it reaches heights of approximately 15 feet. There’s a conceptual prototype, and the company is now developing a usable version. But unless you’re on Tatooine, the hover bike probably won’t ever enter the consumer market.
For cyclists who aren’t content with getting around in one of the greenest ways possible, there’s now a design for a bike that actually helps purify the air via a dust and carbon monoxide filter. Bangkok-based company Lightfog has affixed the filter to handle bars, where it pulls dirty air in and then expels it clean. The frame, which contains a lithium-ion battery, uses photosynthesis in order to produce oxygen. The idea is still in development, with a prototype apparently on the way.
If you’re into making your own bike, you can order parts from Dutch manufacturer PedalFactory and assemble your own set of wheels. The company’s Sandwichbike may not taste great, but is purported to be about as easy to put together as your lunch, taking only 45 minutes. Yeah, we’ll see about that. It will also set you back just over $1,000, but for that cost you can rest assured that the 19 beech plywood and aluminum parts are all locally sourced and weatherproofed.
You don’t want to ride your futuristic bike without accessories. Blaze is a bike light designed to minimize the myriad bicycling accidents that occur when drivers turn into cyclists who are moving straight ahead. I can verify how easy it is to get caught in a driver’s blind spot, sometimes cyclists are nearly invisible to cars. Blaze attempts to rectify that with its ultra-bright LEDs that project a flashing bike symbol onto the road 5 meters in front of the bike. It attaches like any other bike light, but I have a feeling drivers will pay a little more attention to this. The long-lasting lithium-ion battery can be recharged via USB and can be pre-ordered for March shipment for about $200. It may seem like a lot, but compared to the cost of scraping your body off the road, it’s a bargain.
And if that should happen, one of the biking accessories of the future is the invisible bike helmet, which functions like an airbag for your noggin. Because in the future, you may not need a car, but you’ll definitely want your brains unscrambled.