The Shweeb, the world’s first pedal powered monorail system, was invented by New Zealander Geoff Barnett almost ten years ago. Although the Sweeb is currently set up as an adventure park ride, Barnett’s original inspiration came from a class he was teaching about transport solutions.
Having lived in Tokyo for a number of years, Barnett endeavored to find a method of travel that would not only be green but also provide an aerobic workout. His vision also was driven by the need for people to get safely to their destination in a heavily congested city such as Tokyo. Barnett envisioned a series of elevated rails above the city where commuters would sit in a recumbent position and pedal along.
The monorail’s design involves a see through enclosed ventilated capsule, adjustable seat, and handlebars. It has seven speeds and in a urban setting it designed to top out around 15 mph, but on the tight track in Rotorua speeds of 31 mph have reached with ease. The Shweeb uses half the energy of a road bike and about a third of a mountain bike. It interests me to see how this would look in bustling city.
For now, you can get a sense of their ingenuity by checking out these photos and video. Also, check out the website.Tweet Print