In these days, the bicycle celebrates its 200 anniversary which is celebrated all around. In many cities exhibitions, rides and bicycle festivals bring the history of the bicycle into the mind and people are singing the praises everywhere. But a machine would never get so far and keep humanity busy for two centuries without technical development and a look well ahead. The bicycle appears to have a special talent for inspiring people to make this impressively simple and, at the same time, amazingly efficient machine just a little bit better.
Dirk Zedler is working on the better bicycle
Dirk Zedler from Ludwigsburg is an expert for bicycles and electric bicycles. In his company he builds test machines and writes user manuals together with his team for many bicycle manufacturers. In the nineties, he developed together with Robert Kuehnen for the German bicycle magazine TOUR the first test stands designed to measure characteristics, such as frame stiffness and comfort values at a later date, values quantifiable with these test stands. At that time, this was a novelty driven by the desire for the better bicycle.
"I even doubt if there were working more than ten engineers at all in Germany’s bicycle industry in these days."
Meanwhile, the bicycle sector has become much more professional. Today, a lot more engineers are working in the industry and the products have developed at major steps. In Dirk Zedler’s eyes this ongoing development is, among other things, due to the e-bike.
"Especially the electric bicycle forces the manufacturers from outside to fulfil certain quality assurance measures and certain test criteria and this has an impact on the entire bicycle sector. For this reason the products are dramatically improving at present, even now in 2017."
Zedler accompanies this process together with his company by providing consulting to bicycle companies and by testing bicycles and components.
Infrastructure must also improve
But product development alone will not do. In Zedler’s opinion the bicycle’s increasing popularity and the urgent want of new, or timelessly good mobility concepts beyond the enthusiastic niche will put the focus on more and more traffic zones available to the bicycle.
"The coexistence of the continually developing bicycle with the infrastructure is actually the main challenge we are facing."
We had a detailed conversation with Dirk Zedler on the past and the future of bicycle development. We should like to apologize for the poor quality of sound at the beginning of the report.
Click here to find the podcast link (interview with Dirk Zedler).
Edited by: Gerolf Mayer
Presentation: Christian Bollert