Thursday, July 03, 2008

Conference Bike

I’m fairly obsessed with this contraption, the Conference Bike, a human-powered machine that carries seven riders and has room in the middle for a keg of beer.

I believe a sufficient number of Conference Bikes used appropriately could—in a small way, anyway—save the world, by offering an alternative “zero-carbon” transportation option as well as fostering discussion and dialogue among riders of all ages, genders, and classes.

Or anyway, it would be hilarious and delightful to see a fleet of “CoBi”s deployed on Seattle city streets; seems to me that they’d be way more efficient than, say, the South Lake Union Trolley, far less expensive, and no tracks to endanger cyclists of the two-wheeled variety.

So, I’ve been talking with the guys at Dutch Bikes Seattle, who have the local Conference Bike franchise, such as it is, about getting my hands—and I guess, feet, too—on a CoBi so I can start exploring ways it might be deployed more broadly in the community.

What I hope to do is lease one for the month of August and just start trying it out in different applications: as sort of a “pedicab” for sporting events or street fairs, as an “attractive nuisance” rolling by in the nightclub district, as a venue for taking an “underground” tour of Seattle, or even as a jitney bus around my neighborhood.

I also think the CoBi would be the perfect place to conduct philosophy discussions; I could see people taking a “Pedaling Philosophy” tour, where we would ride around and engage in philosophical inquiry, but maybe this is the sort of activity that only me and half a dozen of my friends or acquaintances in the entire world might find interesting.

But this is just the sort of thing I want to find out in August, by having a CoBi of my own to experiment with.

First thing I have to find out is whether you can get a banquet (drinking) license for it.


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