We’re all about creating tangible prototypes that respond to barriers to cycling
What is a CycleHack?
A CycleHack is a tangible prototype that addresses a barrier to cycling. It is an idea or set of solutions, that solves problems with cycling from people wanting to get into using bikes, to people who ride on a daily basis.
Cy.cle.Hack (si-cal hak)
noun, plural CycleHacks
A tangible prototype that addresses a barrier to cycling.
verb, CycleHacked, CycleHacking
To retrospectively modify current infrastructure and / or cycling products & services using a cyclist’s intuition.
What kind of barriers?
A barrier to cycling is anything that stops a person from getting onto their bike. The problems we seek to solve differ between cities as geographical, social and environmental conditions change. Some of the barriers that we address are specific to a location like troublesome street corners or intersections. Others are larger macro issues such the way we market cycling to diverse audiences, such as women and those living with a disability.
The more we open up the discussion about these barriers and move beyond the initial focus upon cycle lanes, you uncover a whole range of issues from large to small.
CycleHack has created solutions micro barriers such as cycling with a handbag, making a skirt bikeable and indicating in a safe why, that doesn’t make you feel like you are going to fall off. Micro barriers are focused on smaller issues and result in quite defined products, services and new campaign ideas.
CycleHackers often look at specific locations within their area and aim to decrease challenges and increase cycling. For example, this may be a particular problematic intersection or addressing the cycling infrastructure in a certain neighbourhood.
While some cities may not have an existing bike community or infrastructure, CycleHack considers bigger questions such as ‘How do we encourage people to cycle?’ and ‘How can we better communicate the benefits of cycling.’ These larger barriers often produce strategic plans or early stage concepts to take forward.
From mudguards you can print out in the office to DIY indicator light instructions, physical cyclehacks are objects that can be modeled, tested and further prototyped using readily available materials.
Using digital technologies to overcome barriers offers a whole spectrum of possibilities for new experience ideas. These can range from using real-time cycling data to create digital apps to simply starting a new Facebook group to build a community around your idea.
Event and campaign cyclehacks often overlap both physical and digital categories and seek to build collective power to address barriers. This type of cyclehack isn’t limited to cyclists but can include taxi drivers, pedestrians, drivers, bus drivers and other road users. It can be prototyped and tested through gathering together event participants and documenting the impact.
CycleHack can influence policy through grouping together a few of these categories and prototyping some amazing tools for change. We’ve seen cycling advocates create, crowdsource and publish Google Docs which invite the public opinion, to digital apps that enable individuals to gather their own cycling data to collectively influence the future of cycling policy.
We all often ride along the street and think ‘why is that junction like that?’ or ‘wouldn’t it be easier and safer if that corner was like this?’. While we would all love to make our mark on cycling infrastructure, its not always that simple. Local plan cyclehacks are created when those with infrastructure ideas collaborate with someone with the skills to visualise it. By taking photos, sketching and developing detailed plans - these ideas can be presented in a productive and professional manner.
Urban prototyping is about trying new ideas out in the world. This can be cost effective and de-risk new solutions by trying them out before implementing and learning how people use them.
We see urban prototyping as a tool for civic participation, allowing citizens to help re-imagine what their place would look like. From trying out bike safety signs in the city to testing new wayfinding tools, prototype quickly and scale up will help save money in the long term and re-connect citizens with being part of positive change where they live.