27 September 2009
Bike-bus warms up Hamburgers on car-free day
Our Hamburg correspondent was at the city's second Autofreier Sonntag (Car-free Sunday) last weekend, and drew our attention to this curious bike-bus, powered by the passengers. (Thanks to Klaus de Buhr for the pics - there are more from the day on his Flickr site.)
Our correspondent writes: Around a kilometre of main streets in the centre of town were closed to motor traffic for 24 hours, with a strip left specially for this quirky Fahrradbus. The same strip also permitted cyclists and skaters to pass alongside the action and choose where or if to stop (instead of being forced into the mass and to become pedestrians as seems usually to be the case).
The Fahrradbus drivers have bus driving licences - they usually drive the city's powered buses. They were clearly having a lot of fun.
The bus takes a maximum of 20 people, and needs at least six to power the bus. One model had a row of seats at the back for pure passengers. The driver doesn't pedal, but steers and operates the brake. It can get up to about 25mph. (Here's another design, on YouTube.)
The Autofreier Sonntag began at noon and contined into the evening. There were two live music stages but during the day the biggest draw seemed to be the breakdancing demonstration. This was followed by the chance to try out a Segway on a slalom course. There was also a 'beach' with deckchairs overlooking the Alster lake, a chance to try out bicycles with electric motors and electric cars.
The city was also showing off the new style bus due to be introduced soon - it has a trailer.
But the best bit about the day was and an idea I'd like to see adopted in London... all of the city's public transport was free for the day... the buses, the underground, the regional trains within the greater hamburg area, the 'S-Bahn' (alternative to the undreground), the ferries...