Could "Shweebing" Be the Next Hit in Urban Transportation?


by NTDTelevision

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As a tourist attraction in New Zealand's north island, the Shweeb is proving to be a hit. It's a combination of monorail and recumbent bicycle technology and in its current form it's designed for fun.

However, the Shweeb's developers have much loftier ambitions for their creation.

Inventor Geoffrey Barnett thinks it could be the next big thing in urban transportation.

[Geoffrey Barnett, Inventor and Director of Shweeb Technology]:
"To me as a cyclist, it's just obvious, you should be able to ride over the top of the traffic, so I came up with the idea of a weatherproof capsule that is completely safe."

Barnett sees overhead pedal power as a means of solving inner city problems of congestion and pollution caused by cars. He says it also has applications for parks, river crossings and university campuses.

He worked on the design for six years after coming up with the idea when he was living in Tokyo, a crowded metropolis where he thinks the Shweeb would fit perfectly.

[Geoffrey Barnett, Inventor and Director of Shweeb Technology]:
"You jump on, you sit on the recumbent seat, it's very comfortable, it's like sitting at home on your sofa. You can get up to speed of up to 50 kilometers per hour just on this track, which is a very small track. In its present form this will get to about 60-70 kilometers per hour on a flat track, it's got seven gears to play with and it's a lot faster than any other bicycle."

But it may not be for everyone. It is fast, clean and efficient ... but it's also hard work.

"It's really amazing, so exciting but my leg is so sore, I'm so tired."

The word "Shweeb" is derived from the German "schweben" which means "to float" or "suspend."

Geofrrey Barnett wants to give the word new meaning in a pedal-powered future world.

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