I heard about this idea on the Smart City radio show this weekend (for those of you who missed it, a podcast of the show is available here). Chris Hardwicke is a Toronto architect with an interesting conceptual design for a bike transit system in his city. The Velo-city project proposes a network of elevated tubes above the city (picture giant hamster tubes). Using a fluid-dynamics system, riders would always have a tailwind while traveling in the tubes, permitting higher than average travel speeds. The concept is somewhat “blue sky” and is really geared toward getting people to think about solutions. Details of the plan can be found on the project’s website.
As interesting as this project is, as I heard about it I couldn’t help digressing into thoughts of how fast I could go in such a contraption. With no crosswind and a very strong consistent tailwind, I could do some serious time trialing. Maybe someone should apply this concept to the Tour de France prologue. A track-mounted camera could follow the action as the pros cruise though the illuminated tube at 60 mph plus. Spectators could watch from below as they bank through the turns in the giant transparent tube. Just imagine it, a combination of a time trial and a luge run. What could be more exciting? Okay, Okay, don’t worry, I’m kidding. Seriously though, check out the Velo-City website. I would be curious to hear what some of you think of Mr. Hardwickes concept.