When 007 was a teenager...
The Environmental Transport Association (ETA), a British company that offers bicycle insurance, recently surveyed 800 cyclists to find out what aspects of cycling they liked the least. The primary purpose of the survey was no doubt something boring and insurancey, but one of the spin-offs is kind of fun – the company put together a one-off bike concept that addresses four of those dislikes in a rather extreme fashion. It’s the B.O.N.D. (Built of Notorious Deterrents) Bike, and it’s almost certainly the only bike in the world with a flamethrower built into its handlebars.
Yes, a flamethrower. Apparently 52 percent of those surveyed named “cars and lorries passing too close” as their number one complaint about cycling. What’s a cyclist to do? Easy, they shoot fire at those vehicles – that’ll learn ‘em! ETA didn’t provide any details about the fuel source or the hardware, no doubt because they don’t want anyone building one of their own. Insurance companies are funny about not liking it when people set fire to things.
Another gripe of the surveyed riders was potholes, with 25 percent of riders citing them as a problem. The B.O.N.D. Bike addresses those holes in the road with a Ktrak caterpillar-type doo-hicky in place of a regular back wheel. Yes, a fat tire and rear suspension would make more sense. And yes, the Ktrak is actually designed for riding on snow. And, yes, it would be pretty slow and clattery on smooth roads. C’mon, though, it’s a James Bond-inspired vehicle! Practical, shmactical.
For seven percent of cyclists, worries over bicycle theft were their primary concern. Now, you might think that the B.O.N.D. Bike would take care of that with some sort of super heavy-duty lock... but you would be wrong. Instead, it has an ejector seat. The idea, one would assume, is that this feature is supposed to be activated as the thief is riding away, either propelling them into the air, or delivering the equivalent of a kick to the crotch. The fact that it’s activated at the handlebars, however, means that thieves would have to eject themselves. Perhaps it has a misleading label beside it that says “Turbo Boost,” or something.
Two percent of those surveyed listed cold weather conditions as their least favorite part of cycling, which is where the other component of the Ktrak system comes into play – a ski blade that can be swapped with the front wheel. Although it looks like that blade perhaps hydraulically lowers into place, in reality it seems to just be mounted beside the wheel for easy access by hand.
And no, you can’t buy the bike.
“Wannabe James Bonds will be disappointed to hear that we have no plans to sell the B.O.N.D Bike, but it shouldn’t be necessary for cyclists to resort to flame throwers to get a little consideration on the roads,” an ETA representative stated. “Correct road positioning and an assertive riding style can dramatically reduce cars and lorries passing too close.”
The B.O.N.D Bike will be unveiled at the Cycle Show at Earls Court in London (7-10 October, 2010).