Combining wind and sailing to bike faster: this Dutch innovation can hardly get any more Dutch!
This innovation by Dutch energy company Eneco uses the wind to make you cycle faster, without any effort.
Cycling, wind and sailing
The Netherlands is known for cycling; the average Dutch person cycles 650 miles per year. But beside the cycling culture, the country is also known for its windmills and thus; its wind. This can make cycling a challenge or at least a lot more tiresome. Luckily, this wind can now be used to the cyclists’ advantage, making them bike faster.
Eneco approached industrial designers Hans-Erik Wagenaar and Gidon Krot to figure out how to make the wind work for the cyclists and they came up with The Eneco Windbag.
Wagenaar and Krot are industrial designers that have a great affinity with fashion and work for brands such as G-Star, Scotch & Soda and Buddhato Buddha. They invent clothing pieces and accessories that are not only pretty, but also have different clever functionalities.
Design meets functionality
The Windbag is a backpack that not only lets you carry your belongings, but also uses the wind to bike faster without pedalling harder. The backpack has built-in sails you can release by pulling a cord. The spring mechanism takes care of the rest.
Wagenaar and Krot first looked at the functionality and figured out how to make the wind work for a cyclist. In that respect it’s important to keep in mind how most people sit on their bicycles and how you make sure they catch the optimal wind.
The mechanism of the sails is built in a way that they stand upright no matter how you sit on your bike. The sails are adjustable as the wind isn’t always in your back: this way you can go even faster when the wind comes from the side, much like with a sailboat.
A lightweight prototype
The designers wanted to make sure that the backpack wouldn’t lose its practicality due to the sails, so they’ve made the backpack an average size and adjusted the size of the sails to the format. The mechanism of the sails is on the outside of the backpack so you keep enough space for your belongings inside. And it only weighs 2.5 kilo’s, so it’s not that great of a burden.
As of now there’s one working prototype of the Windbag, but the designers hope that the backpack will be produced on a larger scale. But in order for that to happen, they need partners and support.
Dutch trains run on wind energy
Energy company Eneco is responsible for the fact that almost all Dutch trains now run on wind energy. With over 600.000 passengers each day, this makes a great difference!