3 new smart ideas that involve bicycles

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Here are three examples I've stumbled across recently that demonstrate how bicycles seem to attract clever schemes.

It stands to reason — the bicycle has been considered the best invention in the last 200 years.

The city of Pleasanton, California, is employing microwave technology to sense bicyclists approaching several intersections in the town.

The “intersector” — a microwave motion and presence detector — can identify bicycles in traffic. It either extends or triggers a traffic light if a bicyclist is detected.

Cyclists in Pleasanton like the technology because they're not tempted to squeeze a yellow light or run a red light at an intersection where conventional traffic trigger devices can't detect bicycles. Also, bicyclists don't have to cross traffic lanes hit the crosswalk button.

No one, as far as I know, has complained about being zapped by microwaves. There's more details at the Contra Costa Times: “Pleasanton is first in nation using microwave technology to protect cyclists.”

The company that pioneered the hybrid automobile has assembled some free-thinkers to create a bicycle that shifts gears through the use of brainwaves.

The Prius X Parlee program is the brainchild of Toyota, which brought in Parlee Cycles of Beverly, Massachusetts, and some technicians at Deeplocal in Pittsburgh to create this concept bicycle.

You got to wear a bicycle helmet with this bike, because it's packed with neurotransmitters. Then you train an iPhone app to recognize the brainwaves you create when you want to shift. Next thing you know, you're on your bicycle and shifting into  your granny gear on that hill just by thinking about it.

The Toyota Prius Projects website reports that the technology is a success. A cross-country tour with the bicycle might be next.

Although known for its African bicycle adventure, the Tour d'Afrique Ltd. is a Canada-based company that provides bicycle touring opportunities around the world.

One of those is in South America. The Vuelta Sudamericana Bicycle Expedition leaves this fall from Buenas Aires and meanders nearly 4,000 miles to Lima.

This year, Professor Paul Porter, a faculty member of the Department of Agronomy and Plant Genetics at the University of Minnesota, is going along for the ride. He'll be teaching a credit course on South American culture and agriculture. The traveling bicyclists in this class will learn their lesson first hand.

He's done this before when he taught “Food and Agriculture from Cairo to Cape Town at 10mph” a few years ago in Africa.

You can find out more about the course at the University of Minnesota website.

Permanent link to this article: https://www.bikingbis.com/2011/08/03/3-new-smart-ideas-that-involve-bicycles/

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