The Cuddlebike (i.e. Valentine’s Day Special)

cuddle-bike

A proposal for this bike design showed up in my email a while back and I let it hang around, figuring it’d somehow fit into a post, eventually. Just to be clear I periodically receive concepts and proposals for all sorts of bike-related stuff. Actually I get proposals for other things too but I won’t bore you with the details of how I’m going to get rich by helping out the heir of a certain deceased African despot.

Some of the bike proposals that have landed in my mail:

  • alternative drive systems since we all know how awful pedaling is
  • systems to charge all of one’s mobile devices by bike on the way to the office since electrical plugs can be so scarce at the workplace
  • Chinese made bakfietsen sold by the container-load, flatpacked. They cost about $100/bakfiets in case you’re wondering.
  • But after seeing the “Cuddlebike” a few times the idea began to grow on me. Admittedly one does have to first be able to look past the miniature size and crude construction of the yellow prototype. Wouldn’t that actually be fun to ride though (in a normal size of course)? With a long enough seat and treadles perhaps three of four people could ride it together. Perhaps it would be handy for blind or mobility challenged riders.

    Then I found the little mpeg video in the mail showing a much more developed looking version of the Cuddlebike. Kinda neat.

    cuddle-bike-2

    Interested? Then contact its inventor who claims, incidentally, that the Cuddlebike is patented. He’s looking for a manufacturer to take the product further.

    Kristian Brömme
    ak [DOT] broemme [AT ]hotmail [DOT] com

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    9 Responses to “The Cuddlebike (i.e. Valentine’s Day Special)”

    1. Todd Edelman Says:

      Fijne Valentijnsdag!

    2. a nonny mouse Says:

      Well, shoot, taint that something! How wide is the saddle? It seems, from this shot, to be something like that chair in the movie, Sleeper. Happy Valentine’s!

    3. Mary Westmacott Says:

      I love these, what fun! wish i had someone to snuggle up tight with and go for a ride, ah well, maybe one day, Thanks for posting x

    4. Frits B Says:

      @a nonny mouse: Up till about 1800 the Dutch army had an instrument for punisment of minor wrongdoings called the “paard” or horse. This was a triangular beam with the sharp side up, on which the miscreant had to sit for several hours, legs on both sides of the beam. Much like a narrow racing saddle, and with the same effect on non-trained users. Not nice. And that is probably why this cosy bicycle has platforms to stand on rather than pedals.

    5. henry Says:

      I’ve heard the Dutch army has recently replaced the “paard” with a carbon fiber racing bike saddle, one of the really light ones that has no padding. It’s mounted on a little stand and apparently much easier to bring along than the heavy paard.

    6. ten Says:

      I might be being a bit optimistic, but I can see this concept working. On a normal bike your passenger is just dead weight, but on this they can contribute – nice on the uphills. Even two or three passengers would be feasible, so long as they were good friends of course (if not they soon will be…).

      Taking things a bit further, you could combine this with a bakfiets and get the whole family on one bike. And if you had a big load to get up a hill, or that you needed help unloading, you could find a buddy to help. This could substantially increase the capacity and therefore utility value of a cargo bike, and thus be one more step away from dependence on cars and vans to move stuff around, without having to introduce more complicated mechanics like electrical assists. (I’ve been reading lowtechmagazine.com recently)

      Of course, it’ll only work if the extra weight and drivetrain complications, and the really big pedals (and the paard) don’t make it a pain to ride when there’s just you, for the same reason that you don’t seem many people riding tandems around town on their own.

    7. henry Says:

      ten,
      I agree, which is why I posted it. In contrast to all the pointless and impossible design concept bikes shown off in shows and competitions here’s an idea with some fresh thinking and many conceivable applications. Sure there are some technical hurdles to be solved but at least they don’t rely on superconductors, or dilithium crystals to be possible.

    8. ten Says:

      In the current news climate it’s hard not to add that any solution that moves us in the direction of less power consumption has to be a good thing – the current nuclear crisis in Japan is clearly partly a result of the (perceived) need for huge amounts of power consumption to make society function. Less consumption = less need for nuclear = less radiation danger (similar logic applies to the dangers of fossil fuels, including less need to support totalitarian Middle Eastern regimes – http://www.monbiot.com/2011/03/14/oil-and-trouble/).

      If we can only reduce our energy consumption down to low enough levels we might well be able to fulfill our needs with renewables. Clearly clever application of the bicycle concept, allowing people-power to get work done, is a vital part of this process.

      (Cutting pointless waste could also make huge inroads – the illuminated airconditioned malls to be found 15minutes from me in any direction are in my opinion an abomination).

      For alarmists, sceptics and people who have simply not had the chance to consider the options with imagination, lowtechmagazine.com that I mentioned above provides illuminating (no pun intended) examples showing that consuming less power does not mean a return to the dark ages. (I first came across LTM via your blog links, by the way!).

      On the contrary, with imagination, good design, and some carefully chosen compromises we can probably engineer ourselves a way of life that is comfortable, meaningful, fulfilling, and cherishes what is really important – health, security, human relationships – without wrecking neither our environment nor other people’s lives.

      I’ve veered a bit off the topic of bicycles here (with this much to say I should probably get my own blog…) so I’ll wind up by saying that my own personal (utilitarian and very non-technical) interest in bicycles is because I think they’re such an elegant solution to many of our society’s technical problems. The developments over the last decade in spreading utility and cargo bicycling are really encouraging. Bicycle designers, I salute you – keep up the good work!

    9. Kristjan Holm Says:

      Well, I didn’t find your email to make separate proposal, but there is another solution available to carry more than one person in smart way: www [dot] vigurvant [dot] com. Any comments are more than welcome!

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