The ConferenceBike: Showing you other ways to look at your city.
SCULPTURE TO RIDE:
What you see here is a “ConferenceBike”, a “sculpture to ride” developed as a Mobile Public Arts project by artist Eric Staller beginning in 1985 . It’s a bit weird as you will see, but if you climb aboard and start to peddle with the others it gives you a new angle on your city, and makes people smile. .
WIKIPEDIA: The ConferenceBike is a 7-seat human powered vehicle created by artist Eric Staller and manufactured in Santa Cruz, California, USA by conferencebike.com and in Germany by Velo.Saliko. One person steers and all may pedal . The bike has a circular jointed drive-shaft and rack & pinion steering. In most countries it has the same legal status as a bicycle. There are now 300 ConferenceBikes in 18 countries.
ARTIST: “Here’s what Eric has to say about this: At the risk of sounding like Steve Jobs, I’m not in this for the money, I’m in it to change the world! I want there to be CoBies putting smiles on faces somewhere, every hour of the day! When you get on a CoBi for the first time you are a kid again; it’s a bit of an amusement park ride. Everyone is goosed into feeling “isn’t this funny! Isn’t this the silliest thing!” a bike-full of 7 complete strangers facing one another, forced to look into each other’s faces, and really sort of forced to participate in the forward motion. Even the most skeptical person, after a 10-minue ride says: “yeah, I can really see the uses for this.”
“I’ve personally ridden CoBies all over the US, Europe and Japan. I’ve had groups of cops, doctors, firemen, corporate boards, special needs schools, singers and even a brass band on board! I’ve been on corporate team-building outings; I’ve been on rides for charitable causes and middle-east peace caravans; I’ve had Jimmy Carter at the wheel. I’ve looked into the faces of hundreds of thousands of people at the wheel of a CoBi. The expressions are the same everywhere as we ride by: smiles, waves, thumbs up, comments shouted, cell phone pics snapping. People gather round: “can we try it?”
“I can’t personally pick up every person in the world and take them for a ride. Now the Cobi can be out in the world without me at the wheel. Anyone with the vision to bring this to his/her community will be giving a gift to that community. The CoBi is a symbol and a tool for bringing people together.
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About the author:
9, rue Gabillot, 69003 Lyon France
Bio: Trained as a development economist, Eric Britton is a public entrepreneur specializing in the field of sustainability and social justice. Professor of Sustainable Development, Economy and Democracy at the Institut Supérieur de Gestion (Paris), he is also MD of EcoPlan Association, an independent advisory network providing strategic counsel for government and business on policy and decision issues involving complex systems, social-technical change and sustainable development. Founding editor of World Streets, his latest work focuses on the subject of equity, economy and efficiency in city transport and public space, and helping governments to ask the right questions and in the process, find practical solutions to urgent climate, mobility, life quality and job creation issues. Currently working on an open collaborative project, “BETTER CHOICES: Bringing Sustainable Transportation to Smaller Asian Cities” . More at: http://wp.me/PsKUY-2p7 * This article is published under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 licence.