Via DC Shoes
Via DC Shoes
A few months ago I wrote a post about the Biophilia Hypothesis which states how humans have an instinctive bond to nature and the natural environment. I thought that if a new design could encourage consumers to enjoy nature, that experience would strengthen the Biophilia bond and make us more inclined to make environmentally friendly choices in our urban everyday lives.
In that respect I think outdoor equipment companies over the last 10 years have done a great deal to encourage consumers to experience nature and although difficult to measure, they have probably also helped people become more environmentally aware.
The first big motorcycle trade show of the season, EICMA 2013 is only a few weeks away. As I’ve always been passionate about bikes, it got me thinking what kind of new motorcycle design concept would I want to see this year?
I’ve ridden out to camp in the Oregon High desert a few times, but have always been held back by my fuel limitations. Basically my 20 liters was enough to just get me in and out and so I wasn’t able to do much motorcycle exploring beyond camp (yes, alternatively I could also have loaded the motorcycle onto my truck until I got to the desert trails, but it would have meant not riding the mountain roads along the way).
Back to the Biophilia Hypothesis; in a sense Motocross motorcycles like hiking products also encourage consumers onto nature trails, but the spirit seems to be more of adrenalin filled screaming and racing than appreciation for nature, travel and exploration (such as is hiking).
Now with the advent of electric motorcycles I think there can be a good opportunity to design motorcycles for nature appreciation, more sustainable wilderness exploration and with a true outdoor spirit.
A quiet, but powerful motorcycle that can encourage consumers to venture further into the outdoors and for longer periods of time. To smell and even hear more of nature, detaching from the urban triggers and routine, to strengthen our bond with nature and encourage the development of more environmentally friendly perspectives and culture?
Creating a new market and an authentically “green” Motorcycle.
The E-Venture concept is a sustainable motorcycle which can refuel itself through it’s integrated renewable energy accessories, allowing riders to venture deep into the wilderness. It’s a personal idea I’ve wanted to illustrate for a very long time and now learning about the Biophilia Hypothesis it makes even more sense to leverage it’s eco-culture creating potential.
I chose to use the Brammo label as an homage because they seem to have always pushed their electric motorcycle visions even against the greatest odds. Brammo is also from Oregon which was in part the inspiration to this idea.
Following the growing trend of Meta-Identity multi-use products, a phone becomes an internet browsing device, a GPS and a music player and camera. The bike carries an integrated wind turbine and a tent made with photovoltaic film. Both technologies are then used to charge 2 support batteries and even the main motorcycle battery when the bike is not in use. So you can also ride around camp even while the support batteries are charging.
Click on each image for a Hi-Res close up view.
Although I agree that styling and aesthetic are very important, I feel there also needs to be a deeper more holistic design vision to sustain cultural progress. Designs that offer more benefits than style and speed.
Introducing the Biophilia Motorcycle Experiment, an environmental design vision.
A new outdoor mobility package, possibly through collaboration, leveraging the technological resources of a motorcycle manufacturer and the outdoor vision of a brand such as Merrell, or Arc’teryx.
Or better still, despite the dystopian undertones of Aldous Huxley’s “Brave New World”, what if the governments or brands also installed solar and wind power motorcycle/vehicle charging stations in remote areas of parks?
Although quite how reliably electric enduro bikes will function in dust, mud and water remains to be seen. Not to mention the additional mining and depletion of rare earth metals & minerals required to make the electric components. And while the technology may not yet exist to make this concept feasible, who would have said the electric motorbikes would become feasible 10 years ago?
Without vision and ideals, there can be no progress.
For more bike designs and sketches click HERE
How do we design products which leave no traces of waste (or not more than can be sustainable)?
And how do we create commercial advantages from it?
It’s an ideal, but without goals there is no progress.
Interestingly the Swiss government already locates leaks in it’s waste water treatment plants, by tracing back the non-biodegradable artificial sweeteners (used in food and drink) from contaminated Swiss lakes through springs and rivers.
The Biophilia Hypothesis by Edward O. Wilson is a theory in Evolutionary Biology which suggests that there is an instinctive bond (a Genetic Memorymark) between human beings and other living systems.
Meaning that humans naturally have an instinctive attraction to nature. Think about how many people enjoy gardening, flowers, stray cats and country walks. Supposedly these preferences aren’t cultural, but evolutionary behavior that developed to benefit our survival as a species. For example the love for flowers and plants developed so humans would remember and spot species that provided nutrition.
Also consider how natural environments remains beautiful even on cloudy or rainy days, whereas man made environments don’t.
If this hypothesis is true, then maybe a way to help the transition to a more environmentally friendly culture, could be if outdoor companies and government nurtured that Biophilic bond that already exists. With designs and initiatives that encouraged and facilitated outdoor experiences, contact and connection to the natural environment.
Personally I don’t think it gets any better than doing a sport or pursuit which brings you into nature.
For more on this subject check out a previous post titled “Outdoor Performance Design – The Key to a Sustainable Future?”
On a side note the intro to Björk’s latest music project called “Biophilia”.
The designs can communicate natural beauty like foliage and proud statement to be outdoors.
And marketing can also communicate a soft approach to nature. Because product is not just for consumption, but can also be used for education.
Denali “The High One” is not only the highest mountain in North America, but has the highest base to peak rise of any mountain in the world situated above sea level.
Denali was summited for the first time on June 7th 1913, almost 40 years before the first successful summit of Mt. Everest.
In 100 years since that first ascent only about half of those who have attempted the climb made it to the summit.
The video below celebrates this achievement that took 93 days, climbing in temperatures of -21 F, wearing primitive mountaineering clothes made from gabardine, wool, and tweed and using climbing gear that included ropes made from natural fibers and ice axes made from wood and forged steel.
The expedition remains a precious example of human strength, commitment and resolution.
A first hand written account of the expedition, The Ascent of Denali by Hudson Stuck can be read and downloaded at The Gutenberg Project HERE