by , 08/24/06

Twike, Eco-transportation show in Chicago, Emily Pilloton, sustainable transportation

Hybrids, electrics, and Twikes, oh my! Last week’s Eco-Transportation show in Chicago left visitors in awe at the wide array of safe, efficient, and environmentally-friendly transportation options on the market today. Organized by Foresight Design Initiative, the Chicago-based non-profit dedicated to the furthering of sustainable design efforts, the first Eco-transportation show, held on the streets of downtown Chicago, had a simple mission: to showcase more sustainable transportation choices.

Show highlights included the battery-powered Twike, a three-wheeled, pod-shaped cousin of the traditional bicycle, a bio-diesel Volkswagen Passat, an electric pick-up truck and ATV, and the “sport-utility” Extracycle, capable of toting luggage, another person, or even an armchair.

The event is yet another example of The City of Chicago’s recent commitment to green efforts, at both a grassroots and government level. Attendees ranged from interested passers-by to the Commissioner of the Chicago Department of Environment.

The event coincided with Foresight’s monthly Green Drinks event and a discussion panel entitled City Planning for More Sustainable Transportation.

+Foresight Design

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  1. childress February 14, 2008 at 4:00 pm

    > Plenty of airflow…

    Well, yes, and no. As current caretaker of Twike #433 (seen in the photo above), I can attest that the Twike is a convertible, and it is a rag top… not so much a T-top though, from comparing the photos of a 78 Camaro. And the 10-year-old Twike is by no means airtight — my 6-year-old daughter has commented several times this winter ‘Daddy, it’s snowing in the Twike’ — fine particles of snow you can see in the morning sunlight.

    However, I’d argue that getting plenty of airflow is not as easy as it sounds, and requires some manipulation, which I think I’ll be able to pull off this summer (got it from Margaret last fall).

    Contrary to what one might think, you DON’T want to take the top completely off. It’s a pain to snap it back on in, and the heat of the summer sun will roast you, even if you have a hat on. Best to roll up (in Twikespeak, you are literally rolling the windows UP in a roll to open them) the windows but leave the ‘top’ in place.

    The major problem is that the laminar airflow around the canopy of the Twike is too good — it doesn’t ever drop down INTO the Twike, but keeps on going. Good for efficiency; bad for cooling off. This is coupled with the fact that the canopy of the Twike makes for a very good passive solar heater (great for sunny fall/winter days, but there’s no way to shut it off in th summer).

    So I think this summer I will try creating ‘two scoops’ out of the ragtop by ‘skipping’ a snap in the front. This will of course end up making the windows not close all the way, but it will still keep most of the rain out, and should easily redirect the breeze created by movement down into the Twike.

  2. Cycle Santa Monica! December 17, 2006 at 5:53 am

    I so much wanted to have a TWike join us on the AltCar Expo Rally/Caravan (Video from Caravan)

    If there are any TWike owners in California, please contact me (contact info is at the link to the video. And if there are any TWike owners planning trips to the Los Angeles or Santa Monica area please contact me. I would love to meet up with you and see the TWIke. Thanks!

  3. Carl September 22, 2006 at 5:37 pm

    The Twike has a ‘T-Top’ roof, like your daddy’s ’78 Camaro had. Plenty of airflow.

  4. Streetcar Eddie August 25, 2006 at 11:24 am

    An enclosed (tri)bicycle? It must get as hot as a hen house in the sun. How well ventilated is it?

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