This story was originally published by CityLab and is reproduced here as part of the Climate Desk collaboration.
Walking around in foul, soupy smog is bad enough; biking through it at a modest clip can feel like hooking your lungs up to a Ford F-150’s tail pipe. But in the future, cycling in heavy air pollution could be less damaging, if a two-wheeled intervention from Dutch artist Daan Roosegaarde pans out.
This week Roosegaarde’s Rotterdam-based studio revealed its “smog-free bicycle” concept. The idea is to mobilize fleets of high-tech cycles (perhaps via Chinese bike-share programs like Mobike) to cleanse the nasty miasmas that enrobe the nation’s vast urban centers. In theory, these bikes would include a device, likely mounted on the handlebars, that can pull in ambient air and run it through positive-ionization filters to remove particulate matter. The result — a clean, healthy breeze blowing into cyclists’ faces. If such a program was adopted on a huge scale, the bike-mounted smog scrubbers might even have a marginal impact on improving a city’s overall air quality.