German Running Machine Provides Alternative to Bicycles
FLIZ is an urban mobility unit built to make getting around on foot quicker and easier
It looks like a bicycle without the pedals. Rather than sit atop, you’re suspended underneath. It seems oddly familiar, and at the same time unsettlingly foreign.
FLIZ is an urban running machine with the appearance of a bicycle that aims to improve efficiency of travel by foot. Modeled off the first bike, the “Laufrad,” the FLIZ concept provides for “ecological mobility in overcrowded urban space.” Capitalizing on the natural power of the human gait, FLIZ (similar to the German word “flitzen” for “dash”) blends running and biking for transportation that is fast and easy on the joints.
Built with a hand-laminated glass and carbon fiber frame, the FLIZ relies on familiar bicycle components such handlebar steering, brakes, and a similar wheelbase for stability. A 5-point harness system comfortably suspends the rider beneath the frame, with a split at the front of the frame for the rider’s head. Riders are perpetually bent forward with their hands on the handlebars, and the design is such that the frame relieves pressure on the groin while the harness evenly distributes the weight. Utilizing a gliding motion halfway between walking and running, the FLIZ helps riders take advantage of wheels to travel faster and further.
The FLIZ also has space to hang luggage on one of the two horizontal transverse frames, providing greater practicality for commuters.
An area of real promise for the FLIZ, however, is in rehabilitation and physical therapy. With easy motion and harness suspension, the FLIZ provides for a gentler means of travel that is low-impact on the joints. For those suffering restricted movement, this could become a great way to improve mobility and leg strength without the stress of running or bicycling.
While there is some promise in the design, there are also a few areas that would need to be improved before any kind of mass adoption. The main concern being safety, what with the rider’s head stuck inside the frame with little ability to move its position whilst strapped in. Naturally, it would be best to wear a helmet and only use the FLIZ in areas that are relatively flat. Still, it’s an interesting adaptation to a vehicle that has remained relatively unchanged in the last century.