The future of bicycling?

As you might know we are in favour of personal rapid transit, however not all PRT systems are the same, though most are powered by electricity. But not the Shweeb, which is instead powered by muscle-power. As shown on this YouTube video, Shweeb consists of a monorail track on which aerodynamic capsules are moving. Like bicycles these capsules are propelled by peddling.

According the inventor of Shweeb, the capsules can go as fast as 80 km/h, but you don’t need to be an athlete to do so. And since the system is entirely run on human muscle power, it’s also an environment-friendly mode of mass transit. Sounds great.

Well, not completely. Though you don’t have to be an athlete, a lot of people can’t use this system because they are paralysed or have other medical conditions which prevents them from using this system. Secondly, the system doesn’t allow passengers to take much luggage with them. So doing your weekly groceries with Shweeb, forget it. Thirdly, the capsules are only for one persons, which is problematic for those who want travel in groups.

This is not to say that Shweeb is a bad idea, on the contrary we like it very much. Only if you are to decide on investing a huge sum of money on a public transport system, you need to consider all advantages as well all disadvantages of the systems under consideration. And as far as we can see, Shweeb seems to be just another idea which sounds nice, but would never be used at large scales.

See also:

The Official site of Shweeb

2 thoughts on “The future of bicycling?”

    1. I think you are talking about transportation in space habitats, aren’t you? As I have argued in my post “how high can we build in a space habitat”, I showed that the strength of the artificial gravity “field” is dependent on the radial distance to the axis of rotation. Hence a tube like the one you propose can only constructed if it coincide with the axis of rotation. Deducing from my understanding of classical mechanics, I see no feasible way to suspend the artificial gravity locally.

      However, your idea is not quiet stupid at all. The father of free space habitats, the late Professor O’Neill, has argued that since near the centre of rotation there will be low gravity, this zone could be reserved for people to float freely. And there’s no need for tube, but is allows us to play quidditch (the real version of course, and not the “muggle” one).

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