Yabba dabba doo!
If it ain’t broke, you probably don’t need to fix it -- but a pair of German designers have gone and revamped the bicycle anyway, an invention that has remained relatively unchanged in over a century.
Without pedals or a seat, the “Fliz” as it’s called requires riders to strap into a harness and build up speed by running, with their head sticking out between the frame. If it sounds awkward, it’s because it probably is.
“The prior aim of developing Fliz was to bring a completely new driving experience to everyone,” creators Tom Hambrock and Juri Spetter said on their website.
Fliz is a reference to the German word “flitzen,” which means to whiz or dash. It’s an homage to what the designers consider the first bike, the “Laufrad,” a velocipede that predates the version of the bicycle we are all so familiar with today.
To ride the Fliz -- or rather, have it ride you -- users build up speed, Flintstones-style, by running and then cruising with their feet resting by the rear wheel. While steep hills are tough for the Fliz and safety remains a concern, the designers insist that it shouldn’t be seen as a bicycle replacement, but rather a fresh option for urban environments.
“We created a velocipede concept of healthy, ecological mobility in overcrowded urban space,” Hambrock and Spetter wrote.
The bike is an entry for the annual James Dyson Award, an international student design award. Participants are urged to “design something that solves a problem.” The winning team or individual receives a £10,000 prize, plus an additional £10,000 for their school.