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Back To The Future - cycling predictions for the year 2045

Today's the day Marty McFly travelled to from 1985 - so what do you think cycling will look like three decades from now?...

A futurologist claims that 30 years from now, cycle lanes in London “will pull bikes along using linear induction motors and simple metal plates fitted to the bike."

The prediction, reported in the Evening Standard, comes on the very day that the character Marty McFly was sent forward to from the year 1985 in the movie Back to the Future II.


It was made Dr Ian Pearson in a report for construction firm Hewden. He says: “While we’re not all flying around in cars, there are things such as the use of drones, video conferencing and some of the physical structures that were portrayed very accurately in Back To The Future II.

“For London, going into space will be a regular occurrence in 2045,” he forecasts, adding that some of the city’s skyscrapers could stretch 18 miles into the sky by then.

That got us all thinking in the office – how might cycling have changed in 30 years’ time?

Here’s some of our predictions – some light-hearted, others less so.

  • Strava implants. Giving you retina display of segments, leaderboards etc etc … and a small electric shock if you are toppled from a KOM.
  • It will be too dangerous to cycle outdoors and loads of places will be flooded due to climate change, so cyclists will be using VR to cycle with friends around the world from the safety of their homes.
  • Cyclists won’t be allowed on the roads, only on bike paths, and will be forced to wear hi viz, helmets and shoulder and kneepads and have a microchip inserted into their neck.
  • Gene manipulation will have replaced doping.
  • London cycle commuters will be hot-wiring the induction plates on their bikes – leading to endless comment pieces in the Daily Mail & Telegraph, which merged in 2035.
  • Tyre widths and wheel sizes will automatically adjust depending on the prevailing conditions. so you could start out on 700x23 and finish on 27.5 x 38.
  • Rapha's collaboration with Lidl will receive a five-star review on, but the range will be shunned by a confused public.
  • Mark Cavendish will spend the year 2045 training with the Great Britain curling team as he continues to seek that elusive Olympic gold medal at the following year's Winter Games, to be held in Qatar's brand new indoor alpine sports complex.
  • Bikes will still be around and will still look pretty much like the bikes of today. The bicycle is just a perfect invention – efficient, practical, non-polluting. How do you improve on that?
  • But drones will carry pumps, sandwiches and spare inner tubes for you when you're on a long ride.

The pace of change in technology in the widest sense makes trying to guess what will happen 30 years in the future a difficult game, of course – just 10 years ago, for example, it was impossible to imagine the impact the likes of YouTube, Facebook and the smartphone would have on the world.

And in a cycling context, who’d have seen things like Strava coming, or city-wide cycle hire schemes, or in sporting terms Great Britain dominating the track events at the Olympics and producing the winners of three of the last five editions of the Tour de France?

But going back to 1985, there was one technology in cycling that was clearly going to have a huge impact – carbon fibre. It’s hard to envisage a similarly transformative innovation that will hit the mainstream in the years ahead.

What are your predictions for cycling in 2045? Let us know in the comments.

Simon joined as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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