Architecture

Bored of taking the stairs? Vycle would let you pedal between floors instead

Bored of taking the stairs? Vy...
Designer Elena Larriba has developed an early prototype of the Vycle
Designer Elena Larriba has developed an early prototype of the Vycle
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We can see the Vycle being installed in the kind of high-tech offices that successful startups seem to favor
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We can see the Vycle being installed in the kind of high-tech offices that successful startups seem to favor
While using it to climb a skyscraper is a non-starter, using the Vycle to move between two floors seems possible
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While using it to climb a skyscraper is a non-starter, using the Vycle to move between two floors seems possible
Designer Elena Larriba has developed an early prototype of the Vycle
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Designer Elena Larriba has developed an early prototype of the Vycle

ThyssenKrupp's Wonkavator-style elevator isn't the strangest way of getting around buildings you'll see this year. Architecture graduate Elena Larriba has unveiled a novel alternative to climbing stairs and using elevators – it's named Vycle, and it would let you pedal your way between floors.

Bringing to mind the treehouse elevator, Vycle is still pretty early in development, but Larriba, who's a postgraduate studying at London's Royal College of Art, has produced a working prototype. It's balanced with counterweights to take a lot of the effort out of moving upwards, and you wouldn't fall to your doom if you stopped pedalling for whatever reason.

"The prototype developed until now is just a proof of concept to test how does it feel to lift your own body weight," explains Larriba. "In the prototype, the gearing ratio is set to 10 percent which means that a person that weighs 70 kg (154 lb) only needs to push 7 kg (15.4 lb)."

Obviously it's not going to be practical to pedal this thing to the top of a skyscraper, and Larriba doesn't see it replacing stairs or elevators, either. Instead, she sees it as potentially useful for climbing up temporary structures like cranes and scaffolding.

We can see the Vycle being installed in the kind of high-tech offices that successful startups seem to favor
We can see the Vycle being installed in the kind of high-tech offices that successful startups seem to favor

"In the construction sector, around a quarter of the workforce is aged over 50," explains Larriba. "Vycle is an alternative to long ladders often used in these temporary works that can offer the user a more sustainable and safer way to navigate through scaffoldings, cranes or transmission towers."

Office spaces are also mentioned as a possible use for the Vycle, which seems pretty doable. We could definitely imagine it being installed in one of those trendy workplaces filled with foosball tables and slides that some tech startups seem to favor, for example.

It's early days yet, but Larriba told us that she would love to try and bring the Vycle to market once the concept has been refined. The prototype can be seen in use, in the following video.

Source: Vycle

vycle - urban vertical movement

6 comments
willis97
Ive seen man lifts in industrial plants that seem a lot more practical. Ya step into the cage close the gate and pull on a chain on a pulley system to lift yourself. Its superior to this idea although not as cool and gimmicky. The reason being is you can fill the cage with cargo. This bicycle system is going to need some kind of harness or cage anyways for safety. The chain lift ones are great because if you need to out so much shit in it theirs no room for yourself you can lift it from standing on rhe floor and pull on the chain and send the materials up so someone on the level above can unload it.
Bob Stuart
I like the use of leg power. The first obvious improvement would be adding counterweight equal to the lightest rider. That would reduce the force needed for similar people so they could just stand and work a treadle, keeping their packages in their hands. Next would be a variable counterweight system. You could step on to be weighed for counterweight adjustment, and then just give a little jump to unlatch the lift and give it momentum.
Bonzadog
OK, interesting and cheap - but will not, I think, amount to anything.
Paul Anthony
Gears? And please adjust your chain!
Douglas Bennett Rogers
I am actually making something like this--a low geared trike for climbing steep hills. This is actually the opposite of a bicycle. A bicycle is geared up to make you go faster. This is geared down for lifting heavy weights. The machine shown has an equivalent 10% grade for a 1:1 gear. This would be like 5% on the lowest bicycle gear.
ljaques
I'm with Paul wanting gears (why isn't it 1:1?) and a chain adjustment. That gearing is just t o o s l o w . Hmm, re: counterweights, it might be good for commercial use, but it would be a health hit. The problem is that the average time spent on any given health equipment is 90 days, max. Cool idea, and it may become a standard part of Sillycon Valley company buildings.