From farmed bamboo velobikes to biogas bikes, alternative modes of transportation can come in a dizzying array of shapes, sizes and modes of operation. Even oldies can still be goodies: aiming to revive an early form of the bicycle for public use in a historical park, French designers André Fontes and Guillaume Lehoux of Noir Vif created this striking modern update of an antiquidated form of the two-wheeler.
Made as a prototype for the tourist park Departmental Domaine of Chamarande, part of the Essonne region, this design is reminiscent of the dandy horse ("draisienne" in French), which was first invented in the nineteenth century as a precursor to the bikes we are familiar with today. Originally designed to be propelled by the feet, old dandy horses are slower than pedal-powered bikes and didn't have a seat that could adjust to the rider's height. But in this case, these modernized dandy horses are suitable for slower sight-seeing, as in this case here, and have some clever enhancements. Here's the old:
And the new:
Quite an interesting evolution that makes a vintage concept still relevant, resulting in something that looks like a cross between a scooter and a bike. Made with molded maple plywood that has been harvested from sustainable sources within France, Noir Vif's version features some contemporary improvements like a height-adjustable seat, brakes, a handy storage basket and even a clipboard for tour guides.
It's a stylish revision of an old idea that has garnered plenty of public approval, enough that you can expect to see a fleet of these by next year at the Departmental Domaine of Chamarande. More over at Noir Vif.