British company XploreAir is seeking crowd funding to finalise the design of its Paravelo flying bike.
We reported on Czech flying bike last month but this is a totally unrelated project from Kingston-upon-Thames.
On the one hand, it seems completely nuts. On the other hand, well, it’s a flying bike! It looks ridiculously good fun. Plus, the designers have come up with a new word: flamping. All will be revealed in a mo.
The basic idea is that the Paravelo is, according to XploreAir, “A conventional two-wheeled bike that transforms into an easy-to-operate aircraft requiring no licence to fly and capable of altitudes of up to 4,000ft.”
4,000ft? Over 1,200m? That’s getting some serious air.
The flight comes courtesy of a para wing that you tow behind the bike on a trailer. You unfurl the flexible wing, fire up the biofuel-powered fan, and away you go.
To be honest, we know very little about flying beyond the baggage allowance on EasyJet, but XploreAir say that the Paravelo flies at speeds of up to 25mph for a maximum of three hours at a time. In order to take off, you need open ground clear of obstructions – an area about the size of a football pitch.
You can fly with the bike docked to its air frame trailer, or you can detach the two and wear the fan on your back for a foot launch.
“This set-up gives improved performance in the air and allows for take off in higher and changeable wind conditions. In most territories, no licence required to fly in this configuration,” according to XploreAir.
As you might have worked out, flamping is a portmanteau: fly/camping. The idea is that you use the optional tent to head off on an adventure. You ride your bike out of the city, towing the trailer behind you, take off somewhere suitable and pitch your tent when you land. You have to say, that does sound pretty cool. The tent uses the motor cage as a structural element.
XploreAir are looking for financial support totalling £50,000 on Kickstarter.
“We've demonstrated our design performs well, but we need to transform our flying prototype into an aircraft rugged enough for expedition duty,” says XploreAir. “Only once we're satisfied it's tough enough and following further rigorous testing will it go on sale.”
With 17 days to go, £8,397 has so far been pledged. Go to XploreAir’s Kickstarter page for all the details.
Mat has worked for loads of bike magazines over the past 20 years, and been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. He's been road.cc technical editor for seven years, testing bikes, fettling the latest kit, and trying out the most up-to-the-minute clothing. We send him off around the world to get all the news from launches and shows too. He has won his category in Ironman UK 70.3 and finished on the podium in both marathons he has run. Mat is a Cambridge graduate who did a post-grad in magazine journalism, and he is a past winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer.