By Clara Navío
One of the most important tools in action against climate change is sustainable mobility. Reducing emissions in transport is essential, since this activity is responsible for 38 percent of greenhouse gas emissions from diffuse sectors, according to data from the Ministry of the Environment in Spain. And, according to the World Bank, in total fuel burning, CO emissions2, originated by transportation in Spain represent 35.3 percent.
Therefore, one of the great efforts that can be made in cities, where a high percentage of the world's population is concentrated, toachieve the objectives of the Paris Agreements, is to put the means toget citizens to move more in clean public and private transport, and less in private transport powered by fossil fuels. And what means of individual transport is the least polluting par excellence? Exactly: the bicycle. We wanted to get here.
That is the reason why bicycle rental systems, cycle lanes and, of course, cyclists are proliferating in cities. Citizens who, either with their own bike or with a public one, have incorporated this alternative to their trips. Promoting and facilitating its use by more people for more trips is the objective, in Spain, in Europe and throughout the world.
Now, although it is easier, bicycles also need your attention and maintenance. And when there is a puncture, not everyone knows how to fix it themselves. A few months ago we talked in this same section about wheels with puncture-proof tires that some young Americans had developed; Well, also the big brands have been with it. It seems clear that, given the foreseeable worldwide proliferation of the use of bicycles, it is advisable to take positions and prepare the ground. And the market. For this reason Bridgestone is working on the development of bicycle wheels that will not have to be inflated and that will not suffer punctures.
They call itconcept AirFree and the Bridgestone Group, in collaboration with Bridgestone Cycle Co. Ltd., are investigating the feasibility of this product with a view to launching it on the market in 2019.
The novelty is that, in reality, it is not a tire, but “a wheel with its metallic spokes, like all others, but instead of connecting with a rim, they connect with a structure that incorporates other resin spokes that are attached to the wheel tread. And it is these resin spokes that give the wheel elasticity and driving comfort ”, explains Juan Carlos Fernández, Head of the Technical Sales Service at Bridgestone Spain, adding“ the tread is compact, it does not have an air chamber; For this reason, it is not necessary to inflate it, nor to be aware of the pressure nor it can have punctures and the maintenance needs are minimal ”.
The main component of these wheels are «somethermoplastic resins, reusable and recyclable, so that they will require fewer resources to build them and will have less environmental impact in this phase of their life cycle, definitely".
These wheels work to “reduce rolling resistance, that is, the cyclist has to make less effort to make them turn. That is something that with conventional ones is achieved by controlling the pressure so that the flexion of the tire is adequate and it costs less effort than the wheel turns ».
However, at Bridgestone they are not starting from scratch when developing this product now, because already "in 2013 a similar technology was introduced applied to wheels of small cars, such as those used for golf courses."
In any case and with one type of wheels or another, the bicycle will coexist for a long time, surely always, with other motor vehicles, heavier and larger and the most vulnerable part, as far as road safety is concerned, it's going to be the bicycle. And the cyclist, of course. It is not necessary to remember now how many of them have died on Spanish roads in recent weeks due to abuses. There are also other accidents, not fatal, but which can also have very serious consequences for drivers on two wheels. Therefore, both cyclists and drivers of motor vehicles should exercise extreme caution. In the way of driving, but also incorporating complementary safety measures.
Equipment and applications arrive regularly on the market to provide an extra safety for cyclists. Joining conventional helmets are foldable ones and those that incorporate a visor with which you don't have to wear sunglasses and, in addition, avoid the wind on your face. There is even a kind of airbag helmet-scarf for cyclists.
One of the keys to bike safety is being seen. Everything cyclists do their part to be more and better seen by other drivers will increase their safety. In this section, in addition to the rear and front lights, there are vests and reflective bands to wear on the arms or ankles. Now there are also some stickers to stick on the rims of the wheels, which light up in the dark, and make the sides of the bikes more visible.
The same objective of making the bicycle more visible has the Bikesphere device, presented in partnership in Michelin's #TrendyDrivers initiative, to improve road safety.
It was created by the Innovation team, led by Charly Rodríguez Omalley, from the Wysiwyg agency, and it is “a device that marks two costal lines of light around the bicycle and delimits a security area, a living space of a metro and an environment around the bike. During the day it works like one more parking light. But it has presence sensors that, at night, when a car approaches, activate more flashing lasers that mark that safety area more intensely and make the bike more visible.If that car gets too close and enters that living space, the light is intensified again, three times more, and it goes into intermittent mode, to warn of the danger and allows the reaction», Explains Rodríguez Omalley.
The Bikesphere, which consists of two boxes that are installed, one at the front of the bicycle and the other under the saddle, was born at the Wysiwyg agency because “a group of us are regular users of the bicycle, which we wanted to do something to bring security. And among the ideas that came up, this is the one that we saw the most interesting and novel, we offered it to Michelin, which, let's say, sponsored it and incorporated it into its #TrendiDrivers road safety initiative.
A very interesting aspect of the Bikesphere, which is still in the prototype phase, is that it will not be for sale, “but a guide with the components, an assembly map and even a list of the components will be available on the internet very soon. online sales points for parts. The download of the documents and the software will be free and free, and we estimate the cost of the parts at around 500 euros, so that anyone can download the plans and build it. it can be built ”.
The truth is that the "invention" has created a lot of expectation and the video has thousands and thousands of views "from parts of the world: China, Indonesia, Canada, Great Britain, etc."