Velocipedia is a virtual museum of the world’s most unlikely bicycles
It’s amazing to see how many variations are possible on the basic form of the bicycle.
Think how different road, mountain, cruiser, and BMX bikes are for example. Then of course there are all sorts of cargo bikes, multi-seaters, creative home-made and customized machines unlike anything else.
As unique as some of those bikes are, they are outdone by the creations “documented” by the Velocipedia project. It sets the bar for inventive reinterpretation of the humble bike impossibly high, with the emphasis on “impossibly”.
The only thing everyone got right was the number of wheels.
It all started when Gianluca Gimini, a designer based in Bologna, Italy, was intrigued by a friend’s funny story about hopeless attempts to draw a bicycle from memory.
He challenged others to do the same, and soon collected impromptu sketches of bicycles from hundreds of people. A few were quite accurate. Many, many more were comically wrong.
Gianluca gave himself the job of actually rendering the bikes with 3D imaging software, exactly as they had been depicted, and the Velocipedia project was born.
It’s an amusing idea, a very impressive labor of love, and the results are delightful.
Velocipedia bicycles are strange, funny, wonderful creations. At first glance, they look like they would be a hoot to get around on. On closer inspection you realize many would be impossible to ride, even deadly dangerous.
Imagine taking these dream bikes for a spin…One Velocipedia exhibit included a contest for children, inviting them to draw the bicycle of their dreams rather than the usual request to draw a bike from memory. The kids produced some amazingly inventive visions of bicycles, and a few won a print of their fully rendered creation as their prize. The dream machines Gianluca brought to virtual life for these kids are among the most interesting of the Velocipedia collection. See more of them here on Gianluca’s Facebook page.
What Velocipedia reveals about people
Gianluca found some interesting psychological phonomena in the sketches he collected. It turns out psychologists use similar experiments to work with memory, and there is a documented tendency for people to fill in the blanks when they think they remember something clearly but in fact do not.
A few “mistakes” showed up in many of the sketches, and interestingly, they split along gender lines. Of the people who connected the chain to the front wheel instead of the rear, more than 90% were female. Their drawings were much simpler than those of males. The guys would get things wrong and realize it, then keep adding details to try and correct it, ending up with complex drawings with lots of mistakes!
Check out this video for a closer look at the work that went into the Velocipedia creations – Gianluca compressed over 9 hours of painstaking 3D rendering into 4 minutes!
Like bikes and art? This video is a fascinating look at the work of a variety of artists who focus on bicycles – Gianluca is featured in a segment in the middle.
Discover more Velocipedia
This feature on We Present includes more on the backstory behind Velocipedia.
Gianluca’s Velocipedia prints are available for purchase here on tictail – what a cool trophy for that obsessive cyclist with a quirky sense of humor on your list!Images used by kind permission of Gianluca Gimini.