A Mobile RV Transported by Bike
It was a hot summer evening as cargo bikes in all shapes and sizes wheeled in for Portland’s Cargo Bike Roll Call. It is typical to witness unique rides; however, this was one different. Attached to the bike by a steel pipe, this recreational vehicle is a concept designed and built by Alexander Main.
The Bike RV Project is a one-month experiment in which Alexander sleeps in his bike RV prototype and records his discoveries. An eBook and plans were published, free of charge, which reflect his original design, creating a crowd-sourced model and allowing anyone to access and improve.
Alexander and I sat down at a local food cart for a delectable Venezuelan lunch and spoke about the vision behind The Bike RV Project, discussing ideas for the next prototype. Tag along to learn about his exciting venture. It could be coming to a city near you!
- What inspired you to design and build the Bike RV?
I have always been a big fan of a minimalistic lifestyle and being able to live nomadically. This style of living enables you to be free, and freedom, to me, is perhaps the most valuable thing in the world. I saw photos on the Internet that combined primitive living arrangements and itinerant culture, but these bike RVs were old-fashioned in terms of technology. I wanted to advance the notion and create a high-tech, practical, self-sustainable, and attractive bike RV.
- Who is your target audience?
The intention is not to market a “product,” but an idea of leading a free, minimalistic, innovative, and community-driven life. I feel the community is an integral part of the design process, and their contributions will help to support my vision. The two major target groups include: the recreational riders (those who will utilize a bike RV for overnight purposes, replacing a one-person tent) and “houseless” people (a term coined by George Carlin). The bike RV could function as a transition stage in their lives, getting those individuals off the streets.
- Describe the construction process. What materials were used?
I began with the main components: base, wheel system, and trailer. The windows and doors came next, and the challenges were the design and construction of the roof. The length of the RV was determined by my height, and the width matches that of my suitcase. I chose to make it one piece to prevent water leakage. The secondary components include: a solar panel, controller, and battery. The energy harnessed from the solar panel is used to power the lighting and charge phones, laptops, and other electronic devices. Four computer fans circulate air and act as a climate control mechanism. The primary materials used were: plywood, styrofoam, fiberglass, and polycarbonate.
Photo credit: Bike RV Project – Conceptual ideas for future designs
- As the first prototype how much money was spent? What would you do differently?
Over 2,000 USD was spent on the initial-design; however, I believe I could lower the next prototype to around 1,000 USD. The next bike RV I construct would not use fiberglass. I would utilize a semi-flexible solar panel, an aluminum frame and acrylic windows and advance the RV to bike connection. Ultimately, these design decisions would translate into a lighter, thinner, and greater aerodynamic bike RV.
- What is the next phase for The Bike RV Project?
Raise enough funds, so I can settle down somewhere, register my concept as a company, and launch a Kickstarter project. I plan to work in collaboration with an engineer to build the next bike RV. Additionally, I will release a free video tutorial, enlisting the community for suggestions.
- What is the potential for Bike RVs?
I see enormous potential in solar-powered, self-sustainable, micro-bike houses. It could be the easiest and most affordable housing alternative for millions of “houseless” people across the globe. In addition, it may improve and save their lives! The bike RV, perhaps, is a critical element to combating “houselessness,” serving as an evolutionary shift to a normal life.
Photo credit: Bike RV Project
Although this unit may operate as an economical, environmentally-friendly recreational vehicle for leisure cyclists, it could have a far greater impact on the “houseless” population, restoring a sense of order in their lives.
With an estimated 100 million “houseless” people in the world and an additional 1.6 billion living in inadequate conditions, this project may establish a live/work environment, affording them the opportunity to take that next step (United Nations 2005). As a communal society, together we can implement this powerful vision to assist those in need.
Interview conducted by Brett Lezon
Explore Landscape Architects Network
Lowes Corporate Headquarters Cracks the Corporate Mold
Lowes Corporate Headquarters, by HGOR and LandDesign, in Mooresville, North Carolina. Television commercials and advertisements for ...read more
Award-Winning 21st Street Turns Roadway Into “Green and Complete Street”
21st Street, by SvR Design Company and Cannon, in the City of Paso Robles, California. Sustainability, ecological ...read more
How "Peak Experience" is Inspired by The San Fransisco Hills
Peak Experience, by Atlas Lab, Market Street, San Francisco. What does a main street in your ...read more
Ground Breaking Project Brings Affordable Housing Scheme to all in Cambodia
Building Trust international, Atelier COLE and Habitat for Humanity Cambodia announce details of a creative ...read more
How 300 Ivy Street Unites a Community
300 Ivy Street, by Fletcher Studio, in San Francisco, California. Public space plays a really important role ...read more
What's the Problem with Urban Agriculture?
With urban agriculture popping up everywhere, we take a step back and look at some ...read more
"Free the Bears" Gets a New Store Made out of Bamboo
Atelier COLE designs an innovative fundraising merchandise store for Free the Bears in Laos with ...read more
The Forest Man Of India Shows us the Power of One
The storry of Jadav Payeng, the Forest Man who dedicates his life to growing and nurturing ...read more
Pedestrian Etiquette, Gormless Phone Users, and the Rise of the 'Meanderthal'
In an experiment for a forthcoming National Geographic television show Mind Over Masses, a pavement ...read more
Fracking: All You Need To Know
We take a closer look at the highly controversial topic of fracking. This is a great ...read more
What are the Benefits of Natural Play?
The concept of natural play has been steadily gaining popularity in recent years and is ...read more
Are Animal Bridges Life-saving for Wildlife?
We reviewed Youtube video Five Crazy Bridges for Animals by Minute Earth, looking at the ...read more
The Urban Matrix: How Far Should We Go?
Escale Numérique, by JCDecaux and Mathieu Lehanneur, Paris, France. The city of Paris aimed to increase ...read more
Fabulous Bicycle Path Inspired by Van Gogh's "Starry Night"
Starry Bicycle Path, Studio Roosegaarde, Eindhoven, the Netherlands. The city of Eindhoven, in the south of ...read more
9 Ways Landscape Architects Can Conserve Water
Effective and sustainable ways to conserve water in landscape architecture. As we all know, water is ...read more
10 Practices Showing That "Sustainability" is More Than Just a Buzzword!
Sustainability is the buzzword that's making the world a better place! You have probably realized that ...read more
How Will Automated Cars Change Landscape Architecture?
A look at how the inevitable technology of automated cars will change the face of ...read more
Why This Chair Rocks and Yours Sucks!
The Rocker that makes the most of where you sit! The multidisciplinary SOFT Rockers project, which ...read more
Guerrilla Gardening - Breaking ALL The Rules!
Looking to interject color into a blighted landscape? It may be easier than you think. Combine ...read more
Geocaching: Treasure Hunting For BIG Kids!
Exploring the landscape in the 21st Century There are many ways to get out into the landscape ...read more