Is the Shweeb Ready for Prime Time?

shweeb bicycle monorail image

The Shweeb is derived from the German "Schweben", meaning to float or suspend. A logical name for a device invented by a New Zealander living in Tokyo. Commenters had issues when we wrote about it last year, But somebody likes it; It just won a million bucks in the Google 10100 competition. Google writes:

Shweeb is a concept for short to medium distance, urban personal transport, using human-powered vehicles on a monorail. We are providing $1 million to fund research and development to test Shweeb's technology for an urban setting.

>> VIEW SLIDESHOW: 10 Weird Forms of Human Transportation
shweeb in city rendering image

There are benefits over a regular bike, including an aerodynamic shell, protection from the weather, and the increased speed that comes from the drafting effect when the shweebcars move together.

But there are problems too, such as what happens if you get stuck behind someone very slow, or the previous user was really sweaty and smelly. More at Shweeb, via Inhabitat

velo city tunnel image

I think that Chris Hardwicke's Velo-City of elevated bicycle highways is perhaps a better option. It is "a high speed, all season, pollution free, ultra-quiet transit system that makes people healthier. Using an infrastructure of elevated cycle tracks, velo-city creates a network across the City." You can pass, and you can use your own bike.

But personal preferences aside, it is a great step forward for human-powered transport.

More on human-powered transport
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How to Go Green: Commuting
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