Want to live on your bike? Dutch designer Bas Sprakel has come up with a novel cargo bike that extends to provide enough space to sleep.
Sprakel sees his Woonfiets (living bike, or housetrike) as mainly a problem-solver for the homeless, providing a lockable compartment to store their possessions and expanding to turn into a safe place to sleep at night; it can be locked from the inside too.
The Woonfiets is "a bike camper designed to alleviate or even to solve the major problems of the homeless," he says. Here's a quick introductory vide:
He explains that the Woonfiets is quick to set up, and provides a homeless person with a means of transport as well as shelter and storage, so not only can they get about but could potentially use the bike to do odd jobs like delivering shopping. Here's a video taking a longer look at the bike:
Another advantage is that the Woonfiets user would sleep well, says Sprakel. "He will therefore be fitter in the daytime, will feel better and take better care of himself. It will no longer be necessary to numb himself with drugs or alcohol as the user is protected and feels secure in his sturdy cocoon."
The prototype in these pics and videos is made from plywood, but Sprakel says it could me much lighter if made
from moulded plastic.
Sprakel estimates a Woonfiets will cost between a thousand and fifteen hundred Euros, which as Treehugger points out means it would have to be underwritten or covered by donations to be supplied to a homeless person.
The next stage in the development of the Woonfiets will be the creation of prototypes in moulded plastic and Sprakel is looking for donations to help with that effort through the Woonfiets site.
Our official grumpy Northerner, John has been riding bikes for over 30 years since discovering as an uncoordinated teen that a sport could be fun if it didn't require you to catch a ball or get in the way of a hulking prop forward.
Road touring was followed by mountain biking and a career racing in the mud that was as brief as it was unsuccessful.
Somewhere along the line came the discovery that he could string a few words together, followed by the even more remarkable discovery that people were mug enough to pay for this rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work. He's pretty certain he's worked for even more bike publications than Mat Brett.
The inevitable 30-something MAMIL transition saw him shift to skinny tyres and these days he lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.