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TEDxBG 2010: Martin Angelov

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Hello. I am an architect, but today I am not going to talk to you about beautiful forms, balanced compositions, or complicated metaphors. I would like to pay more attention to the space, which remains outside the buildings, and more specifically about the movement in that space. We are born to move. This is what makes us alive. Sometimes we perceive movement as something formal, as a routine. But movement should be a rite, an experience. It would inevitably tell on the quality of our live. It's hard nowadays to find space for pedestrians, let alone for cyclists. We wait for the things to change by themselves. We wait for someone to give us public space. We wait, and at the same time we are in a hurry. We don't love out cities. Everything beyond the four walls of our appartments is labeled "Indifference". Will this indifference be our heritage? During the Ottoman yoke we found security beyond the thick walls of our homes. During theso-called socialism public manifestations had costmany people their lives. Unfurtunately, nowadays too we cannot perceive public spaces as ours. It can seem funny to you, but public spaces are something unknown to us. Not because we don't know them as they are but because it's hard for us to imagine what possibilities they could provide us with. Today we will talk a bit about moving around by bicycle in city environment. How many of you ride bycicles? Great! And how many of you would trade their car for a bike, if there were perfect conditions for that? Cool. You must have heard of the Man on Wire, or Philippe Petit. He is a french acrobat who became famous for bein able to stretch a metal rope between the roofs of the twin towers in New York and he manages to pass on that - completely illegal, of course. The reason I mention it is becayse this guy is an extraordinary source of inspiration to me. He embodies the man outside the frame. He demonstrates a clear flight with very little resources and a lot of willingness. What happens though, when you start riding a bike along a tight-rope like that? No one can tell except for these brave people. There is strange beauty in watching how far could abilities of man go. And the reason is because deep inside us we believe that we are capable of things like that too. This way, lead by similar emotions last summer I decided to participate in a contest and I made a mixture between alpinism, acrobatics, ski lifts, public transportation and finally, our own bikes. I stirred it well, and this way Line of Bike was born. This is a concept of how, not being acrobates, not being alpinists, we could ride our own bike on tight-ropes. An attempt of city flight. It sounds freaky, but I will try to bring a bit of realism in it. The principle is exactly the opposite of ski lifts. With ski lifts the rope is moving, serious amount of energy is consumed, and also serious maintenance is required. Here, though, the rope is static and the pleasure of movement goes completely to the cyclist. This lane's purpose is to bridge over problem spots in our cities, and more. This is something like a kind of bridge which could be easily mounted and dismounted Beyond the functtion that we receive, a new horizon of perception opens in front of us regarding the cities we live in. At the final of the contest I tried to prove if it's possible. What you see is a side view of the system. The bile moves in an elastic groove supported by two metal ropes, and a third rope above the cyclist holds the device for security. It is fixed firmly to the bike and it doesn't let the bike move in both directions. This was the second step of the idea development, which was made over an year ago. There were still questions about the way of attachment of the security rope to the supports. The size of the device suggested it would be a part of the system and circulate in it, but this circulation was not very clear either. That is why, this autumn I decided to go on with the idea development in some more detail. At the same time, the organizers of TED asked me to talk in front of you, and I would like to thank them, because it provided an additional motivation for me. The actual outcome is... You will be the first to see this third step of the idea evolution. The name of the system was also changed. Words like "bike" and "line" in English became "bike" and "line" in Bulgarian and together they formed Bikeline. I will try to introduce the new features to you. I believe that the system became far more simple and feasible. The main change is that the security rope is no longer above the heads of the cyclists but it's immediately next to the handle-bar. This provides far more direct support for the bike. And besides, security devices become far more compact. This is how the model of the bikeline would look. Both groves where the bikes move, as well as both secirity ropes are attached to these characteristic frames that you see. They, on their part, are attached to existing piles or newly mounted ones, or other stable base. It is interesting that during the design phase these rectangular spaces came naturally - you see them and I think they could prove to be quite key in a public private partnership as a natural advertising space. This is a close-up of the grove. It is deep enough to provide stability for the bike. It is held through these clutches that you see to both metal ropes. This is its detail which shows the holding of the clutches to the grove through rivets. The next element is the connection of the security rope to the frame. The idea is to make the line as continuous as possible, only broken by this cylinder that you see. Soon you will see the role of this cylinder too. And finally, the third - and most key - part of the system, the security device, which is by itself a completely new invention. I mentioned that it is already far more compact, and besides, it is already a personal security device. Meaning that it belongs to the cyclist, who is responsible for its provision, its maintenance as well as its correct attachment to the network. Generally, it consists of three parts: this small rectangular profile that you see, which is tightly fixed to the handle-bar, one-time. This could happen in a specialized service-station, which uses a specific standard. The second part is the device itself, which is set into this profile. Its purpose is to provide the connection with the rope. And finally, the cyclist him/herself attaches through a carabiner, rope and security belt to this device. This is a section of the relation towards the device and the rope. And this is a short video which shows the action of this transition which happens at the moment of connection of the rope towards the frame. Those are exemplary alpinist media for attachment of the cyclist to this rope. And those are graphically the necessary steps for preparation of the bike and respectively the cyclist. We mentioned this fixation of the small profile. That is where the device, which is mobile, is set. When not in use, it could be removed and tucked away in the backpack, for example. And finally, the attachment of the cyclist to it. This way, the bike is completely ready to be plugged in the network. Which means that no additional preparation is required. The bike is just strung to the rope, the same applies for the unhooking. This is a sketch which shows the main two types of bikelines. The first type is a short segment which bridges over a specific problem spot. The second type is a bikeline created with the purpose to connect more remote places. For example, a block with another block. And because it is longer, a need of stops emerges. The stops are platforms where the rope breaks. The leader is unhooked of the line, there is the option to go down, turn back, go on forward or just rest. Those are also the places where overtakings could take place, or respectively the crossings between lines like this. Here, I suggest an exemplaty distribution of expenses. For example, these frames could be undertook by an investor. One of their motivations could be this direct advertising. The municipality on its part undertakes the ropes. And finally, the cyclists provide themselves with the security devices. The next several slides are model situations where such a system could be implemented. Surely most of you know the notorious bicycle lane parallel to Evlogi Georgiev Blvd. - it ends up in nothing. It could be extended with a bikeline likle this up to the bridge next to the National Palace of Culture, this way bridging over the traffic. This bicycle lane is broken at several places and similarly, those obstacles could be overcome. People often speak of the Students town and the insanity that it has become. But unfortunately, this is discussed only when an accident happens there. No one has ever made a gesture to this part of Sofia. And I am really convinced that if a complete bicycle lane is ever made in Sofia, of any type, the connection between the Students Town and the city centre and respectively Sofia University, should have a priorty. It would be a minimum gesture for the young and active people of Bulgaria. People who would form the future habits of our dear socitety. The previous line could be extended, for example, to the lake of Pancharevo. Imagine a weekend ride, when you don't have to ride your bike on dusty roads, wait at traffic lights, watch if anyone would hit you. You just get on the bike and go there. And finally, the last - and may be the most independent - type of bikeline - its purpose is touristic. Meaning that everything about is is secured - the line itself, special bikes for the tourists as well as all the other safety features. This is a completely new way to see your own city from completely different point of view. A touristic line like this could not only lead us to the city, bit it could also lead us to the nature. And finally I would like to mention, that we live in an age of rapid technological development but in fact our movement vehicles are evolving extremelly slowly and clumsily. Is it possible that we create a completely new type, a new level of movement? Which would require a minimum resource and minimum influence to the environment? Imagine that one day, instead of building massive highways we just stretch metal ropes. And instead of getting into our two-tone vehicles, we attach ourselves to these metal ropes, through electric capsules. It sounds utopian, it sounds like a sci-fi plot. May be. Imagine that one day movement happens not just faster, but also with more pleasure. I wish you more movement during the new year. Thanks for your attention.

Video Details

Duration: 14 minutes and 37 seconds
Country: Bulgaria
Language: Bulgarian
Genre: None
Producer: TEDxBG
Director: TEDxBG
Views: 100
Posted by: tedxbg on Jan 19, 2010

Martin Angelov presents his Kolelinia project!

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