When you first see the Fliz bike, you may think it is the result of some genius innovation. After all, how could a bicycle function without pedals?
But you may be surprised to learn that this new prototype actually harkens back to the precursor of bicycles as we know them, the Laufmaschine. Invented by Baron Karl Drais, the Laufmaschine was a sort of hobby-horse that relied on its user employing his or her legs.
The logic is similar with the Fliz bike. The bike, which involves some running and bicycling, is engineered for urban settings where a rider is constantly stopping, turning and maneuvering around pedestrians.
What makes the Fliz bike different than the Laufmaschine is the fact that the Fliz bike does not have a seat. Instead the rider is strapped into belts, which may look uncomfortable but are meant to distribute the body's weight and create for a more natural running motion.
The name "Fliz" is derived from the German word "flitzen," which means whizzing or dashing.
Perhaps the biggest concern with the bike is safety. As Gizmag points out, the rider's head is in a particularly vulnerable position because it is wedged inside the frame. And while the bike still has a long ways to go, urban riders will certainly appreciate its navigational advancements.
The Fliz is currently being considered for a James Dyson Award, an honor that recognizes top student designers across the world.