The basic bicycle design has not changed in 120 years because it is a truly fantastic design that is stable and safe to ride. The mini-farthing has been designed to make a form of personal transport that is better suited to a modern city. Rather than just take a normal bicycle design and squash it up, our aim was to see if there was another configuration that was more suited to the task.
So, we started with a blank sheet of paper and addressed some pressing questions:
- When is walking, cycling or driving less convenient for either short-distance commuting or for commuters to link with public transport? For example, factors like: speed, effort, parking, lock and leave, area that can be covered?
- What are the impacts of limited personal storage space in heavily populated urban areas? Including home and office.
- What are the bigger trends in urban living as they relate to personal transport? For example: increasing urbanisation, decreasing personal space, pollution, development of cycle-friendly infrastructure, increasing emphasis on using mass public transport, hostility to the car.
In the mini-farthing we have come up with a novel approach.
The key advantages of the mini-farthing design are:
- It is super-small and light so it can go everywhere in a city. The light weight means it is easy to carry up/down stairs, in the store or as part of a commute. The small folded size means it is easy to tuck away on a train or bus, in a car, in an elevator, in a closet, under a desk etc.
- There is no parking hassle meaning it is faster to get from point to point. And because you can just take it with you, there is less risk of theft.
- The mechanics are enclosed so it is both low maintenance and clothes don’t get damaged (particularly when carrying).
- It is a stable platform with emphasis on safety. The shorter wheel-base makes it very manoeuvrable, the front wheel is a decent size for bumps and curbs, the upright riding position makes it easier to see and be seen in traffic and handle-bars are no longer a hazard in an accident.
All of these features mean that a mini-farthing can often be the most convenient and fastest way to move around congested cities - particularly when combined with public transport.
The mini-farthing cycle configuration can be used for all types of drive systems, from pure electric to pedal as well as pedal assist. The mini-farthing can be made from a variety of materials, from injection moulded materials to super light carbon fibre.
Click here to see the range of possible designs. The first licensee of the mini-farthing design, YikeBike, has created a super high–end all electric version that weighs
less than 10 kg.