Riding a bicycle through city traffic is often dangerous enough to be considered an extreme sport, but a concept by architect, Martin Angelov, takes the thrill of city cycling to a whole new level – literally. His design proposes a new type of bike lane, based on steel wires and suspended up to 4.5 meters (14.5 feet) above the hustle and bustle found at street level.
The above picture of the Kolelinia - a contraction of the Bulgarian words for ‘bike” (kolelo) and ‘line’ (linia) – might look a bit like riding a bike on a tightrope, but the bike tire actually sits inside a U-shaped furrow, while the outer edge of the left handlebar is attached to a steel wire for stability. For added safety cyclists would also be expected to wear a safety harness.
The Kolelinia is intended to join existing bike lanes that are currently separated by areas shared with motorists – possibly with a bridge-type line. Angelov also suggests the Kolelinia could be used for special tourist lines or even longer transportation lines.
Although the concept provides an interesting solution to an all too common problem, there would appear to be some kinks that need to be ironed out before such a system could be implemented.
Firstly getting cyclists with a fear of heights to use such a device might be difficult – even at a maximum height of 4.5 meters.
Also the time needed to hook the handlebar and safety harness up to the device would need to be kept to a minimum – particularly on shorter lines like the connection of two bike lanes.
And if longer Kolelinias were to be built there would need to be some system for overtaking. Otherwise all the Kolelinia is likely to achieve is moving the traffic jam up into the air a few meters as everyone comes to a crawl behind the slowest cyclist.
But to be fair, Angelov admits that building a prototype is the only way to identify and rectify the problems of the Korelinia, which is exactly what he hopes to do.
He plans to hand build a 15 -20 meter long prototype of the concept. Then, after dealing with any issues made obvious from the prototype Angelov hopes a bigger version could be built – possibly a short tourist line in a city or an extreme sport line in nature surrounds.