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Riding solo, unsupported, through the whole of Africa: weekly round-up #11

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Riding solo, unsupported, through the whole of Africa: weekly round-up #11

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June 22nd, 2015

This week’s round-up looks at cycling in Silicon Valley, the impact of electric bikes on various services, bionic cyclists, and hugely ballsy cycle adventurers.

Google are taking it upon themselves to make cycling a viable transport option for the tech geeks over at Silicon Valley.

Citylab reports on the tech giant’s bold vision to significantly reduce the stress associated with cycling, by updating the cycling infrastructure facilities to be more modern and appealing to ride on. This infrastructure will have to bypass busy American freeways, and offer a practical and inviting alternative to public transport.

The image below shows a before and after of average stress riders experience when riding in the area – note the big swathes of green, low stress environments in the vision plan slide:


They say they want the area to look and feel more like Copenhagen than California for cyclists. Their full report can be found here.

A connected, low impact alternative

Also in logistics, the ECF has reported that five Eureopean cities that were testing electric bikes as transport options for homecare services, such as childcare, construction and delivery of meals to the elderly, have all decided to continue their use after satisfactory results.

Many benefits were reported by the companies involved: increased efficiency in delivery time, reduced fuel cost, improved corporate image.

This is an interesting development, and could have promising implications for deliveries in other companies. It’s worth noting that electric bikes were often used in tandem with traditional delivery vehicle fleets (including cars, vans, etc). The most suitable vehicle for each task is chosen, with priority given to bicycles where the cargo size and journey distance are within the correct range.

Bionic bicyclist

The future isn’t just about bringing cycling to the forefront of people’s minds as a transport choice. It’s also about enabling people to ride who may currently be unable to do so.

One fantastic example of this is Nicky Ashwell’s bionic hand, which was featured recently in the Guardian:

Nicky was born without a right hand, and her new bionic hand replaces an immoveable, prosthetic one she used until now. It offers true to life movements thanks to an accurate skeletal structure, and allows Nicky to ride her bike comfortably and safely.

Fantastic news!

Balls of steel

We found a fantastic adventure report this week of a man who cycled solo, unsupported, through the whole of Africa.

The report was actually published in 2013 but it makes fantastic reading, especially after Mark Beaumont’s recent successes with his Africa Solo trip.

The to4ak blog writes about Kazimierz Nowak’s trip. He hit the continent on 26th November 1931 on his trusty 7 year old bike, and spent the next 2 and a half years riding towards Cape Town. Locals on the route were astounded he was able to ride his bike through the desert, and greeted him with curiosity and good feeling, allowing him to “take food from native villages and mingle with locals, listening to legends”.

You can see his route below, and we definitely recommend reading the whole blog post at to4ak!

An impressive line!


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