The Vycle Is a Human Powered Elevator

This story is part of Treehugger's news archive. Learn more about our news archiving process or read our latest news.
©. I want to ride my Vycle I want to ride my Vyke

Stairs are so pedestrian. Here is an alternative that will give you a lift.

We love stairs; they are great exercise and do their work without using energy. We also love elevators, which enable vertical living. And bicycles, the most efficient machine for moving people. So we are totally cranked for the Vycle, a bicycle that travels vertically.

Vycle is a patent pending system that allows people to cycle up in an effortless and enjoyable way. The system is balanced with counterweights leaving the user body as the only weight to overcome. Using a gearing system similar to how bikes works the user can decide how much effort they want to put to ascend or descend.

It’s designed by Elena Larriba and is yet another brilliant idea coming out of the Royal College of Art, with engineer Jon Garcia. The designers write:

There are currently two main methods for vertical transportation that have prevailed for the last 100 years: the stairs and the lift. Stairs requires a lot of effort for a person to go up whereas lifts are 100% powered. This carves out an area of opportunity that sits between the two. This carves out an area of opportunity that sits between the two.

Taking inspiration from bicycles, Vycle is a system powered by continuous cyclical movement. Its benefits are twofold: firstly, it will give stakeholders a more efficient and sustainable option to ascend, and secondly, variable energy selection will be able to cater to people of varied ages and abilities, whilst creating a personalised experience.

The designers show images of people climbing up the sides of buildings, which might be a serious stretch.

© Vycle

But they also show office buildings where they connect between floors, not quite such a distance to travel. Going vertical is still more work than going horizontal, although it is counter-weighted, so you are not hauling your entire body weight. Also, elevators are going through a revolution now with the ThyssenKrupp Multi, which work because the motor is in the cab; this might work the same way with multiple bikes in the shaft, since the motor is the person pedalling. It might even have the ability to go horizontally like a regular bike at some point.

I really have always wondered what they put in the coffee at the Royal College of Art, because some of the most creative and original ideas we have ever shown on TreeHugger have been from their year-end show, the work of their graduates. We have not heard the last of theVycle or of Elena Larriba.