Eric Birkhauser is a designer with open mind and with amazing projects he is working on. The last one is the ZIPcycle. A lowracer recumbent with rear fairing. As usually, also this concept looks very nice and has the kind of “automotive” design people like. As I told, his mind is open so he is not only thinking about a bike, but he is thinking about bike share program. This is probably the first recumbent bikes share program idea on the world 🙂
His bicycle parking lot is named HELIOtrope and it uses a Sun to charge batteries of the ZIPcycles hanging on the construction. The other revolutionary idea is to produce the ZIPcycle not from glass or carbon fiber as would be common now, but to produce enough big volume of them so they can be produced out of aluminum the same way as the car body.
Sure, as you look at the concept, there are tons of problems. The lowracer is not really suitable for riding in the city. Recumbents are not really that popular among people so one can even think of recumbent bicycle program etc. etc. But many new ideas have started with projects people thought were absolutely impossible to use in the future and look where we are now.
If you want to know more, read Mark’s post about ZIPcycle and about HELIOtrope. I also recommend a post on bicycledesign.net about his previous project called PETALvelomobile.