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The Kolelinia - a rush-hour bike-path in the sky


February 17, 2010

The Kolelinia concept puts a bike lane above the hustle and bustle of city traffic

The Kolelinia concept puts a bike lane above the hustle and bustle of city traffic

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Riding a bicycle through city traffic is often dangerous enough to be considered an extreme sport, but a concept by architect, Martin Angelov, takes the thrill of city cycling to a whole new level – literally. His design proposes a new type of bike lane, based on steel wires and suspended up to 4.5 meters (14.5 feet) above the hustle and bustle found at street level.

The above picture of the Kolelinia - a contraction of the Bulgarian words for ‘bike” (kolelo) and ‘line’ (linia) – might look a bit like riding a bike on a tightrope, but the bike tire actually sits inside a U-shaped furrow, while the outer edge of the left handlebar is attached to a steel wire for stability. For added safety cyclists would also be expected to wear a safety harness.

The Kolelinia is intended to join existing bike lanes that are currently separated by areas shared with motorists – possibly with a bridge-type line. Angelov also suggests the Kolelinia could be used for special tourist lines or even longer transportation lines.

Although the concept provides an interesting solution to an all too common problem, there would appear to be some kinks that need to be ironed out before such a system could be implemented.

Firstly getting cyclists with a fear of heights to use such a device might be difficult – even at a maximum height of 4.5 meters.

Also the time needed to hook the handlebar and safety harness up to the device would need to be kept to a minimum – particularly on shorter lines like the connection of two bike lanes.

And if longer Kolelinias were to be built there would need to be some system for overtaking. Otherwise all the Kolelinia is likely to achieve is moving the traffic jam up into the air a few meters as everyone comes to a crawl behind the slowest cyclist.

But to be fair, Angelov admits that building a prototype is the only way to identify and rectify the problems of the Korelinia, which is exactly what he hopes to do.

He plans to hand build a 15 -20 meter long prototype of the concept. Then, after dealing with any issues made obvious from the prototype Angelov hopes a bigger version could be built – possibly a short tourist line in a city or an extreme sport line in nature surrounds.

Kolelinia via ETA.

About the Author
Darren Quick Darren's love of technology started in primary school with a Nintendo Game & Watch Donkey Kong (still functioning) and a Commodore VIC 20 computer (not still functioning). In high school he upgraded to a 286 PC, and he's been following Moore's law ever since. This love of technology continued through a number of university courses and crappy jobs until 2008, when his interests found a home at Gizmag. All articles by Darren Quick

Great idea :-) But what about the pollution rising up from the traffic below? I used to ride from Strathfield to the CBD (Sydney, Australia) most mornings and had to give it up because I nearly choked on the fumes! Cycling above the traffic does appeal to me though :-) Aussie Bob.

Aussie Bob

Flat tyres, toilet breaks, U-turns, passing slow pokes, corners?, rest stops, fear of heights....

This has got to be the lame-brained idea of the year. NO, the decade.... No wait, the century.


Another problem, won;t a suspended stell wire have some element of \'sag\' in the middle, and how much will sag increase with a 15 stone cyclist sat in the middle of it? Sounds like a bouncy ride to me, and it\'ll become a series of dips/hills.

A better solution would be to forget about using a bike altogether, and focus on an electric powered vehicle to sit on the wire and be pulled along... hang on, thats a cable car !!!


I agree there are quite a few big problems with this, still, the basic idea of bike lanes ABOVE the car lanes is sound, I\'d love to see it here in london.


i like the idea of riding above traffic, but a bike designed to hang on a cable would be more desirable, and safer........sort of like a ski lift that you peddle

Facebook User

I hate this idea. The areas of town that have all the wires for trolley cars already look so overcrowded- last thing we need is more wires stretched across air space. Driver liability is an issue- if an idiot biker loses balance and falls into traffic- can he sue the car that hits him?

Facebook User

Tread lightly here folks, give this idea a chance. Any negative posters I ask this of you: What have you done to address this problem?


This idea is great, but we could build on this though. Why have bikes at all? Why not have a clear tube made of UV resistant plastic wherein small capsules seating 1 or 2 people could move. Overtaking slow movers would just mean \"flying\" over them, where the entire inner surface could be used as a \"road\". The tube could be filled with air-conditioned negative-ionized air. Toilets or other stopovers could be provided along the way by means of bypasses for these tubes, an analogy would be to look at capsules as blood cells and tubes as arteries and veins. This tube network could encompass an entire city. Hospitals could have ambulance capsules. Police could have capsules of their own. One could even extend this tube right to one\'s doorstep.

Facebook User

isnt most pollution heavier than O2, what about windy days though why not have a railing on the outer side

but i agree lame idea as it sits, seems like a lot of engineering for the bike which is so elegant in its own simplicity

it might make a great extreme olympic sport if you tilted it like the luge run


I don\'t think this was intended for Americans... or ANY country with a very high level of liability claims ( eg: Australia! :P). Would be great in most other places though. U-steel won\'t warp as much, and if the clips that go on the handle bars were < ok, like a T-bar at the Ski resort, goes round and round a circuit>, with riders reconnecting at regular stops to the next circuit - or pedelling past slower riders on the road. It could work, or could crash. Do the prototype!!

Facebook User

Stupid IDEA: SUSPEND the bike. Two wheels, One left and one right. At a split, you choose the right or left wheel and suspension, so you can continue left or right. A system which \"retracts\" the not used wheel. Put low power charging on the wires or rails and so on. Stupid people.


I would think that by the time cycling pervades transportation to the point that separate lanes become viable (affordable), the automobiles will have abandoned their lanes making those available.


The concept as presented affords no protection from adverse weather. This would make it a seasonal activity in many parts of the world. But the idea of an elevated bikeway with weather protection is appealing, particularly from the standpoint of not having to mix with other forms of transportation, not having to stop at intersections. Why could we not just have an elevated roadway for bicyclists that would permit them to ride as they do on the street? The elevated roadway surface could be made of a lightweight composite. Jon in Detroit

Jon Levin

Come on guys I mean it\'s interesting! It\'s better to be slow in the air then killed by a car I guess... I do agree with your points though. Weather conditions will make it dangerous, but weather conditions affect us on the ground, so I don\'t really see a difference.

But it looks like a rather good idea, plus it would be pretty awesome to fly in the sky on a bike ;)

Facebook User

@ facebook user Has already been built to some success. Chk out this: http://www.gizmag.com/the-shweeb-human-powered-monorail/9678/ or http://www.shweeb.co.nz/

Add some electrical assistance (for the elderly etc) and simple automation for lane changes etc and i\'d rather ride that any day...beats my recumbent bike especially in bad weather


I don\'t think so folks... First, I\'m sure that my handle-bars are at a different height than yours. Second, I don\'t know about you, but when I attempt to ride my bike on a precision line, I can NEVER keep the wheel from wobbling. Third, this contraption looks to be VERY heavy! Add to that a half a dozen riders ranging from 120 pounds to 220 pounds each and you have almost a ton of weight suspended above moving traffic. Heck, we can\'t even maintain our bridges! What kind of maintenance will this thing require? Fourth, the way a bicycle turns is by leaning and utilizing the smaller circumference of the inner and outer tread areas. This causes the tire to turn. If your tire is in this \"U\" groove, and the side of the tire hits the wall of the groove, this will force the bike to turn. Not good...


I don\'t think it will work but it may give birth to some ideas. At least it would be nice to ride in the air while idiots on the ground run into each other\'s cars while staring at the \"flying\" bikes.

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