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Velodrome in the Sky

25 Jun 2013
Progress: Concept

Take a glance at the Velodrome in the Sky and you might think it to be that fairground classic, the centripugal swing ride. Look closer to find that those are bicycles flying through the air.

Each rider hangs from two counter-rotating shafts which transmit the pedaler's torque up to one of the many rails around the central hub. Once per quarter-lap, the opportunity arises to switch lanes: aiming the handlebars mechanically moves a leader - protruding from the tiny carriage up above that is the link between rider and rails - and engages points in the track so as to send you rimwards (or hubwards), enabling the most casual of overtakes.

Illustration of the velodrome in the sky

Vehicles need no longer be drab diamond frames. Take to the skies by pedal powering a personal triplane! Revel in the real rotation of your miniature Spitfire's propeller, also driven solely by legwork (whimsical weaponry may be implemented). Telekinetic transport is available for the jockey of the velocipede featuring an extraterrestrial in the front basket. Monocycles, unicycles, penny-farthings, tandems, double-deckers, recumbents and even (for the post-modernist) exercise bikes can all be mounted for you to ascend on your cyclic journey. This wacky race would not be complete without an airborne pedalo.

But my personal favourite, with its quixotic coefficient of drag, is the balsa wood flapping ornithopter. Leather goggles provided.