The Shweeb -- A Human-Powered Monorail


(YouTube Link)


The Schweeb is an experimental transit system in New Zealand that combines the bicycle and a monorail track. Users lie down individual pods and work the pedals to move forward:

Our proposal to get you safely and quickly from one point in the city to another would be to elevate you onto a network of interconnected monorails where you never have to stop at traffic lights. The ideal vehicle for such a system already exists. Fully faired recumbent cycles, because of their low aerodynamic resistance, are breaking all bicycle speed records and currently reaching speeds of 90 kph (56 mph) in sprints. Suspending these comfortable and highly efficient machines from monorail tracks has the added advantage of taking away the rolling resistance of pneumatic tyres. Trains of Shweebs can further reduce the aero drag – ten people travelling at 40 kph will each have a lot less work to do than a single rider at the same speed. A single rider requires only a fraction of the energy to achieve the same speed as a normal cyclist – thanks to the significant reductions in both aero drag and tire friction. The vehicle is completely weatherproof, you can't derail or fall out while on the cellphone or blackberry!


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I see they have branched out to the UK - the www.shweeb.co.uk site (corporate) talks a lot more about the non-racing applications. Kinda interesting...
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Only a major shweeb would think this idea could ever fly. Even in the no-fatties-allowed NZ, there's no way they would ever put all that money into a infrastructure that would depend entirely on the fitness level of it's citizens.
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