The URB21—I love it. It reminds me of Fred Flintstone driving his car—but in the 21st century!
The Human Energy Moving Urban Vehicle, aka URB21, was designed to reduce emissions of fossil fuels while being easy in function and maintenance.
My favourite feature is that the URB21 is equipped with an inertial flywheel, a system capable of accumulating energy produced by pedaling. I could pedal this 297 pound machine up to speeds of 72 kph! Wow, maybe I'll finally know how it feels to smile while biking up a hill!
Green vs. Reality blog
Davin "Reality" Luke looks at the safety considerations of the URB21 and puts it to the Johnny Depp cool test.
But the question remains: is it a bike or a car? Within Vancouver there already exists a tension between drivers and cyclists. At 1.45 metres wide, there is no way the URB21 could attempt to fit bike lanes around Vancouver, it will have to ride the roads. However, at that size, riders will not be able to run lights and swerve through traffic the way cyclists often do now, which drives Vancouver motorists crazy! Also, given its speed capability, the URB21 should be able to keep up with city traffic no problem.
But what about drivers who don’t want to ditch their cars and take up cycling? The sitting position along with the controls placed conveniently at the sides of the driver help avoid muscular fatigue. If this flywheel can truly get up to high speeds, then I should be able to get all over town at the same speed of a regular car, minus the sweat of a bike. Sounds great for taking to work.
Plus, the shell, made from fibreglass and built over a recycled composite structure, is large enough that both motorists and pedestrians will definitely see me coming. The brake and signal lights are an added bonus giving me confidence other drivers will understand my intentions.
I think the URB21 would be great for commuting across Vancouver and to Burnaby (no highways for me, thank you!). However, I would love the UB21 to have a second seat and set of pedals. Being able to cruise around with a friend, but sitting side by side, would be a lot more fun than riding single or tandem.
Would you cruise Stanley Park in a URB21 with me, Davin?