Kolelinia - you'll believe a bike can fly!
If only. That was (and still is) my thought on seeing this proposal from Hungarian architect Martin Angelov. We're always being told by those pesky cars that we should pay our road tax and get out of their way: I, for one, will be pleased to stump up some cash if it means I can ride through the air to work on my own dedicated sky track.
"Everything started in the summer of 2008", says Angelov on his website at www.kolelinia.com. "I decided to participate in the international architectural competition Line of Site and the first crazy idea which came to my mind was to make flying bicycle-lanes, using steel wire, something like a ski lift but working on the opposite principle in which the wire is static and it doesn’t need electricity. Ultimately I sent only a pencil sketch and the idea placed for the final, which was held on February 2009 in London. My detailed presentation won the City Transportation Interchange brief.
"During the autumn of the same year I decided to develop the idea in further details, and many of the principles have been changed. This represents the third step of the development. Time only will show what will come out of it…"
There's lots of things I love about this. The main one is that it's been worked out in exacting detail, in spite of the fact that it's quite clearly mental. If they built this in Bath I'd use it every day - It's exactly what we need over the Churchill Gyratory, soaring from the Holloway to alight neatly on the station approach. I can see it in my mind's eye now: lovely. However, I can't see any developed country with a concept of litigation adopting the idea, however brilliant, at least not without some pretty serious Health & Safety hoops to jump through at each end which would probably add an hour to the commute. And you'd have to pay the safety-monkeys too, which means some kind of toll. And car drivers would complain about something. Favouritism, most likely. Or maybe the fact we don't pay 'sky tax'.
I'm particularly impressed with the bar-mounted pulley that attaches you to the guide wire, and has a rotating plate to work round the need to anchor the wire. You'd want to make sure the bolt holding your shamrock on was pretty tight, and it's not clear how you'd fit it to your drop bars, but we can work round these minor issues, I'm sure, if it means we can all ride our bikes 30ft in the air. Make it so, Bath and North East Somerset council. I'm counting on you.