John Metcalfe was CityLab’s Bay Area bureau chief, covering climate change and the science of cities.
It's like riding inside the Popemobile, but less cool.
This "Motor Capsule" has everything that a sports-bike enthusiast would desire: a dangerous-looking design, a low profile for rapid traffic moves, a throaty exhaust roar that inspires awe in everyone on the sidewalk.
Wait, no it doesn't. It's a noiseless hybrid that has the same aerodynamic and design qualities as a bubble-style washing machine. Take this baby out onto the streets and you might have people throwing laundry at you. But the weirdness of this conceptual ride – another A' Design award winner – doesn't end here.
Athanasia Leivaditou, the creator of the cruising capsule (as well as this incredible "Umbrella Coat"), wanted a motorcycle with added layers of safety for the rider. She writes: "The main concept is that the driver’s body is protected in a big capsule made of metal, carbon-fiber and fiber glass. It can be considered the helmet of the body."
That's just the beginning, though. If the operator suffers a collision, the enclosed driving discus will actually disconnect from the body of the bike and roll, like a dropped penny, down the highway until it loses momentum. Call me a wuss, but that actually sounds worse than wearing a helmet and leathers and suffering some road rash. Does the bike have a cup holder for Lysol to clean all the vomit off the interior?
Here are a few more looks at the capsule:
Images courtesy of Athanasia Leivaditou and the A' Design Award & Competition.