Are pedal-less, seatless “running bikes” the future of urban transportation?
The German designers behind FLIZ bikes seem to think so, and with their invention up for a prestigious James Dyson award this year, it’s capturing a great deal of interest in the design community.
“FLIZ comes from the German “flitzen” and means speeding… with your feet…” reads the project’s description on the James Dyson Award website. “It is a velocipede concept of healthy, ecological mobility in overcrowded urban space.”
To get around on the FLIZ Bike, a rider must strap his or her body into a harness, which hangs from the frame. The rider then propels the contraption forward by running. Sort of. When enough momentum is achieved, the rider can rest his or her feet on special posts near the back wheel. While it looks strange, FLIZ designers say the laminated frame and five-point belt system actually make it more comfortable and ergonomically sound to ride than traditional bikes.
“These aspects reduce pressure in the crotch and distribute the body weight while running,” they write. This may come as some benefit to avid cyclists who suffer from sexual health problems due to saddle pressure.
Many web commenters are intrigued by the Fliz bike, but most seem hesitant to embrace the idea of actually using one.
“How can we make a bike that looks dumber, is less stable, less safe, and harder to use….” wrote thedanswanson in the comments on a YouTube video posted by FLIZbike.
Other comments liken it to a “Flinstones bike” a “Wild wacky action bike” and Mr. Garrison’s “IT” machine from South Park.
“The Fliz Bike takes us back to the original hobby-horse-style walking bike of the 1820s, before people figured out that pedals and a chain make the whole thing so much easier,” writes Dvice.com. “While the Fliz might be okay for goofing around on flat city streets, it’s hard to see how you could climb even the slightest hill.”