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Dave, our lead engineer, and Toby, our engineering intern from Cambridge University, touched down in Taiwan on Tuesday for the annual Tapei Cycle Show.

Taipei Cycle is one of the biggest events in the cycling industry calendar, with over 1,000 exhibitors showcasing every conceivable bike style and accessory. We have had fun immersing ourselves in all things bike – speaking to lots of different suppliers for everything from pedals to breakthrough motor designs, and test riding all sorts of new concepts. We’re here to keep on top of the most important trends in the industry, to finalize component selection for our current ebike design, and to hunt for emerging technologies that we can add to future versions.
 
Our favourite find of the show so far has been AirFom, an airless tyre specialist. Unlike some of the solid tyre brands that make their tyres out of a single piece, AirFom use a multiple layer foam insert to mimic the feeling of riding on traditional tyres. They are designed for maximum durability, and remove the inconvenience of getting a flat tyre (a commuter’s worst nightmare!) – allowing 5,000km of ‘flat-free’ cycling. We have a few concerns around how well airless tyres hold their grip around sharp corners, but as soon as we are confident in the technology, it’s definitely something that we will consider for our ebike.

Toby’s show notes are a work of art!

Taipei Cycle is also a great place to meet some of the most interesting people working in the industry. On Thursday we had the pleasure of meeting Mark Sanders, one of the icons of folding bike design. His bikes, like the Mando Footloose, Strida, and IF Mode, are characteristically smooth and minimalistic, inspired by the curves found in nature. Mark is a keen advocate of designing bikes that cater for everyone, not just the sports market, by focusing on convenience, comfort, and the purposes of different trips (commuting, shopping, cycling with kids, etc). We had seen that Mark was following us on Twitter, so it was great to meet him in person and hear his thoughts. He told us that he’s excited about Flit’s folding ebike, and we can’t wait to show him our latest prototype when we’re back in the UK.

Strida, the classic folding A-bike design by Mark Sanders

Tapei Cycle also ran some interesting discussions on what transport will look like in the cities of the future. Worsening congestion and air pollution have fuelled a growing movement for change in the way that we all travel. This is why many cities are now focusing on encouraging people to either walk, cycle, or take public transport, all of which are cleaner and more efficient than cars at moving lots of people in built up areas. An inspiring place to look at is Copenhagen, where nearly half of the population cycles to work. Morten Kabell, from Copenhagenize, spoke about the change in the city’s infrastructure, and how providing segregated bike, car and motorcycle lanes has made cycling both safer and easier. As an added bonus, this has also reinvigorated neighbourhoods and shopping areas, as the city centre has become a much nicer, traffic free, place to be. This is definitely something that cities around the world can learn from!

In Copenhagen nearly half the population cycles to work

A trip to Taipei wouldn’t be complete without a visit to the city’s famous night markets. We’ve been trying a bit of everything, including Dave’s favourite stinky tofu.
 
The next stop is a visit to our manufacturing partner where we’ll be working closely together on the latest prototype. We’re going to be revealing more soon so watch this space!