The Twike

Is it a bike. Is it a Car. No it’s a Twike

When out on a cycle I once saw one of these carrying a young couple silently over the Bavarina lower Alpine hills. It rounded the a corner in front of me and I go a good view . A three wheel vehicle about the dimensions of a Robin reliant, but all canvas and fibreglass and on bicycle wheels (or something close), it seemed to be powered by the couple themselves, side by side in a recumbent position. It was only when they had agreed on their direction that they sped off that it became apparent that something more than just pedal power was at work.

Further research has revealed that what I saw that day was one of only 400 made and largely residing in German and Switzerland. The latest model claims a top speed of 85 Kmph and a range of 200 Km. A good though not outstanding range compared with some of the new conventional looking electric cars starting to appear based, presumably, on the Sinclair C5 insight that pedal power and battery power combined go further. At least this latest evolution of the concept seemed to have no problem getting up quite a steep incline as I watched it disappear over a hill.

The reason it is a fantasy bike (though I we were going to get technical this probably classified as a car) is not about its capabilities. It is just because it looked so great that day and made me imagine cycling huge distances at a good speed, your loved one beside you, never tiring, never missing your destination due to exhaustion; able to pedal hard when you were feeling fit and ease up and let the battery take the strain later on. In short it looked like all the joy of a cycle (exercise, total quite, very close proximity to your environment — with the hood down) coupled with all the comfort, reliability an convenience of a car.

Of course I would not be as good as cycling at its best. You would not ‘feel’ the road in the same way or power through hills in the same way, in fact it may well be that the peals are not connected to the drive train at all and just feed a dynamo, I don’t know; but for a way of making a leisure tour over a long distance as a couple, it looks like a great alternative. Perhaps when I am in my 50s there will be more vehicles like this, at an affordable price, and I will be happy to enjoy a more relaxing form of touring.

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