Sunday 15 August 2010

Is this the bicycle of the future?

This amazing bicycle is perfectly suited to the mountainous terrain of Norfolk, where I came across it on a cycle superhighway in Great Yarmouth.

A small petrol-driven engine takes all the strain out of ‘pedalling’. Perhaps the idea could be developed with bigger engines. We could call them ‘motor bikes’ and they would allow riders to travel at speeds of 150 mph.

It would have been interesting to know more about this contraption, which can be seen in a mock-up of one the town’s historic ‘Rows’ in the local Time and Tide Museum, but there was no explanatory label. However, there was a very helpful information board explaining that the ‘Rows’ – narrow, pedestrian-only alleyways containing homes and shops, had to go because

The Rows got in the way of progress.

Greet Yarmouth needed new, wide roads.

A bit like the M11 Link Road, then, where hundreds of Waltham Forest homes got in the way of ‘progress’ and were bulldozed (with hundreds of police there to crush resistance from those troublesome people who don’t regard mass car dependency as progressive).

Though to be fair the Museum provides a gripping account of the herring industry as well as the evolution of Yarmouth (a compact car-sick town with the usual joke cycling infrastructure; the town didn’t strike me as particularly Great).

The museum’s advice about access and parking covers car parking but naturally excludes consideration of anyone intending to arrive by bicycle. That’s progress, folks!