The Copenhagen Wheel

Unveiled at the Copenhagen Climate Conference on December 15, 2009, the Copenhagen Wheel is designed to promote cycling as one of many solutions to help mitigate the impacts of climate change. The Copenhagen Wheel was designed by a team at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and is the ultimate accessory for techy bike enthusiasts or just-plain gadget lovers.

The Copenhagen Wheel not only stores energy from braking to be used when a rider needs a boost, but it has an assortment of other fun features that work with a rider’s iPhone. Stolen bike? Well, you can send a signal to your wheel from the iPhone to increase the resistance on the wheel and signal its location. Steve Jobs would be proud.

Copenhagen-wheelImage Credit (and header): SENSEable City Lab

The other Steve – Steve Hed, that is – is skeptical about the wheel, according to this article in the NY Times, but then again, he makes those old-fashioned human-powered wheels. But all joking aside, the Copenhagen wheel could definitely encourage more people to use bicycles. Despite my die-hard devotion to pedaling myself around exclusively with my own power, I think assisted bikes are a huge step above driving a car and perhaps a good way to transition people over to a non-assisted bicycle. My only question is will the cost of the wheel, plus the iPhone and service fees, be prohibitive to people who think riding a bicycle shouldn’t really cost much money?

My other question is could you put such a wheel on an Extrawheel Voyager Trailer? Extrawheel trailers are single-wheel bike trailers that use a standard front bicycle wheel to carry your load. The idea would be to put the wheel assist feature of the Copenhagen Wheel into a custom Extrawheel trailer designed to fit the wheel. That way, the wheel assist features of the Copenhagen Wheel could be part of the trailer when needed and removable when not necessary. Anyways, just a thought. Maybe I’ll see what the designers at MIT have to say about it…


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