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Published on July 26th, 2011 | by Shannon Soesbe


Solar-Powered Bike Guide Concept Has Potential {Video}

July 26th, 2011 by  

Have you ever considered visiting Seoul, South Korea?  It’s a sprawling metropolis teeming with over 10 million people, the very picture of a technologically advanced, ultra-modern city.  And yet, the area has been settled for over 2,000 years.  As a result, there are numerous historical spots that are worthy of exploration by residents and tourists alike.

While there is the option of taking a Seoul City Bus Tour, where you hop on and off the bus at various points of interest, it would be a much more relaxing experience to explore the many parks, palaces, and temples by bicycle.  Unfortunately, there is nothing relaxing about the idea of getting from spot to spot within Seoul on a bike.  As a former resident, I can vouch for the crazy-making traffic and daredevil attitude of most drivers. I have twice been driven around by cabbies who admitted to not having their glasses with them, and it didn’t seem to bother them one bit.  To venture into Seoul’s traffic on a bike is to take your life into your own hands.  Add to this the fact that tourists wouldn’t really know where they’re going, and the bike option seems pure folly.

Unless you’re designer Kukil Han.  He has come up with the idea of combining buses and bikes into a safe — and relatively green — package.  The bus, which has a solar-power roof, takes bicycles and riders from point to point, eliminating the need for individuals to navigate traffic.  That is the basic idea, but there are great little details worked in that make it even better.

Riders would sign up for a tour at one of the many kiosks set up around the city.  At these locations, there would be information about each tour, and riders could use a touch-screen display to check on times and pre-pay for the service.  While inside the bus, passengers watch television screens showing information about the upcoming location.  After they disembark with their bicycle, a screen mounted on the handlebars of the bike displays the same information, as well as GPS navigation, historical facts, and more. Riders are also notified via the screen when it’s time to return to the bus.

Bike Guide from Kukil Han

There’s a lot of potential in this idea, particularly for exploring places within large cities that might otherwise be daunting for the average tourist to navigate to on their own.  After all, it’s one thing to rent a bike in Paris, and quite another to know where to go with it and to not exhaust your body and patience in the process.

Will the bus/bike hybrid catch on?  Seoul might be just the proving ground it needs.

Related Stories:

  1. Korea to Abandon Printed Textbooks by 2015
  2. South Korea Plans to Create 1.5 Million from Clean, Green Energy by 2030
  3. Inspire Software Propels City Bike-Sharing Programs

Photo via Kent Kanouse 

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