Ver­ti­cal Bi­cy­cle Con­cept ‘Vy­cle’ Is A Healthy Al­ter­na­tive To The El­e­va­tor


In our in­creas­ingly ver­ti­cal and densely pop­u­lated cities, space sav­ing is vi­tal; there’s not al­ways room to in­stall full-size el­e­va­tor shafts in apart­ment blocks where space is at a pre­mium. En­ter Vy­cle, a con­cept de­vel­oped by de­sign grad­u­ate Elena Lar­riba that boasts the bonus of health ben­e­fits.

Spot­ted by Dezeen at the Lon­don Royal Col­lege of Art grad­u­ate ex­hi­bi­tion, this new ty­pol­ogy bridges the gap be­tween the stairs and the lift, and thus is a health­ier way for peo­ple to as­cend and de­scend build­ings as it al­lows them to nav­i­gate ver­ti­cally us­ing their bod­ies.

Tak­ing in­spi­ra­tion from a bi­cy­cle, the patent-pend­ing pedal-pow­ered, ver­ti­cal trans­porta­tion sys­tem is at­tached to a ver­ti­cal rail that can be fit­ted to the side of al­most any build­ing and is sim­ply pow­ered by con­tin­u­ous cycli­cal move­ment. The sys­tem works through a bal­anc­ing act of coun­ter­weights, leav­ing the user’s body as the only weight to over­come. Us­ing a gear­ing sys­tem sim­i­lar to how bikes work, the user can de­cide how much ef­fort they want to put into reach­ing an­other level.

“There are cur­rently two main meth­ods for ver­ti­cal trans­porta­tion that have pre­vailed for the last 100 years: the stairs and the lift,” said Lar­riba on the con­cept’s web­site. “Stairs re­quires a lot of ef­fort for a per­son to go up whereas lifts are 100 per­cent pow­ered. This carves out an area of op­por­tu­nity that sits be­tween the two.”

How­ever, Vy­cle is not only about prop- erty ef­fi­ciency and space sav­ing. It also looks to im­prove the long-term well-be­ing of peo­ple in com­mu­ni­ties, cater­ing to those of var­ied ages and abil­i­ties while also “rein­tro­duc­ing the sense of flow and com­mu­nity that cur­rently is exclusive on the ur­ban ground plane,” added Lar­riba.

She also sug­gested that Vy­cle could be used dur­ing the con­struc­tion of tall build­ings due to its light weight, flex­i­bil­ity and low square-footage, mak­ing it suit­able for retrofitting and tem­po­rary in­stal­la­tions like in the use of scaf­fold­ing or cranes.

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