Artist group THE FUTURE PEOPLE is showing their new exhibit “Future Cycles” at the Detroit Auto Show through January 25th. Made to show human-powered vehicles that blur the lines between bicycles and cars, they show the world of internal combustion an alternative.

“We wanted to see just how far we could push the legal definition of bicycle to provide a car-like experience with very low energy input,” says designer Cameron Van Dyke. “In doing this we hope to get people to consider if there might be better ways to transport ourselves around the American infrastructure.”

More than just two HPVs, the rolling machines are also an exercise in design, showing that these functional vehicles can also look pretty cool. Take a look inside to see the “CYCLONE” and “ZEPPELIN” that are on display…


The “ZEPPELIN,” is a human electric hybrid vehicle. It is powered by two riders in combination with a 750w electric rear motor and achieves a cruising speed of 25 mph on flat ground, yet is still completely, legally considered a “bicycle”. It weighs just 270lbs, thanks to being made from polycarbonate and aluminum.

Zeppelin-3 Zeppelin-4

The 3 wheeled machine achieves an equivalent of 700 miles per gallon, and has a 20 mile range with the electric assist.


THE FUTURE PEOPLE is an artist collaborative of husband-and-wife Cameron and Rachael Van Dyke. As avid cyclists, entrepreneurs and artists, they want to use their ideas to test alternative value systems in our culture, specifically around housing, transportation and community.


The CYCLONE is a 4-seat human powered luxury vehicle. Powered by two riders, it can also carry cargo. Like the ZEPPELIN, it was constructed with boat building techniques, and combined with modern bicycle technology.

Cyclone-3 Cyclone-4

The pedal-drive SUV features brushed aluminum details and an interior of fine leather and mahogany. They say the CYCLONE is an “indispensable part of a complete sustainable luxury lifestyle.”


It appears that the Cyclone is rolling Surly Knard 29+ tires on Velocity rims, with Manitou SPV suspension.

Cyclone-1 Cyclone-5

“The motivation for this project is to explore alternative value systems in transportation,” Van Dyke explains, “It is about questioning our country’s energy use, health, safety and access to travel.”

Like a true artist, Van Dyke is not showing these at the auto show with intent to sell them, but rather get people to look at our car culture. “These are concept cars focused on creating reflection in American car culture. There is market potential here, but first it is important to get a dialogue started,” he says.

Future Cycles will be on display at the Detroit Auto Show through Jan 25th.



  1. Gunnstein on

    That was fun. Now, for real, well engineered, fast and practical variations of these, do a search for “velomobile”. Some good ones are the Quest, Orca, Mango, WAW, LeMans, Pterovelo, etc. The good ones cruise at 50 km/h with the same power input that gives you 30 km/h on a road bike, and no motor involved.

  2. Veganpotter on

    Yup…I too am disappointed in the speed. 25mph is too slow for road transit considering how wide this is. You’d just be pissing off drivers. I would also not want to share a bike trail with a “bike” this size.

    ***As an artist, the craftsmanship and design of the “SUV” is pretty terrible. I could see this being a middle school science project rather than an art project. Its definitely not an artistically executed piece of adult artwork. The seats look less ergonomically designed than any modern power wheels car. I’d be a little ashamed of putting this in a venue with properly designed vehicles. That’s a big opportunity that’s seems wasted to me. I think drawings would be better than this. A decently drawn concept is better than a crappily assembled mockup

  3. Zach on

    We’re currently working on two, well engineered, professionally built, lighter, and faster examples of these at our shop. One is a single rider, multi-passenger, heavy cargo hauling trike. The other is the PedalJeepBus, full aluminum chassis, 10 riders, one driver, 4 wheels, 2 8spd internally geared hubs.

  4. Veganpotter on

    Dough…the idea is sound. The execution is pathetic.
    Yes…I’m a vegan and a lot of things bug the hell out of me:) However, this is the artist/craftsman reacting. Also, as an avid bike rider(15.000+ miles a year) I would not want to pass or be passed by this thing on the road. It would be a different story if it were faster and could just ride in the middle of the street at 35mph like the OTHER PRODUCTS THAT ARE ALREADY OUT THERE. Nothing new, just copies of things already being done but with poorer execution.

  5. Mr. P on


    “These are concept cars focused on creating reflection in American car culture.”

    There is nothing about putting these vehicles into anything beyond reflecting on ideas on concepts. Why can’t people accept them for what they are? Ideas. Vehicles for thought provocation only. Ideas bigger than the comfyness of seats or miles per hour.


  6. Veganpotter on

    Mr. P The answer is easy. There are already car/bikes that do this. They are executed much more successfully. These will only provoke thought in people that haven’t seen whats already out there. I would say its akin to Columbus thinking he discovered America despite the fact that people had been living their for thousands of years.

    There is little innovation with these concepts. I guess it may feel like it to the producer which can be fun in itself but I have no idea why they were given such a spectacular platform to show off something that has been done(better) years before

  7. AndyPandy on

    The zeppelin looks pretty cool and I for one think it’s awesome they were given “such a spectacular platform” to show off their ideas. If more information is provided to the general public outside of “green” events about alternative forms of transportation then they may be able to envision themselves using alternative transportation. One of the greatest problems the US has is that there is a failure of curiosity for people to discover on their own and much of the information never percolates up out of hard core bikey segments of the population into the general populace. By placing velomobiles at a car-centric event at least a few people who never knew such a contraption existed will go home and google to discover more and will end up buying a bike, a tadpole recumbent or possibly a velomobile..

  8. Chris Evans on

    I can appreciate the idea behind the creation, however , those vehicles would be impracticle on our road system. Too wide and slow. I own a quest velomobile and have pedaled 254 miles in a single 12 hour day. The quest takes up the same width on the road as a standard bicycle only it is much faster. The quest model has been made for over 10 years now. A 20 mile range is not acceptable. Once the batteries have run out of juice, you are stuck trying to pedal over 600 lbs on the e-assist sociable.

  9. Darryl Jordan on

    The significance of these creations is not they are first because we know they’re not. But they among the first velomobiles to take a crack at a major US automobile show. You can have the fastest Quest, Mango, WAW or even Rotovelo; but until you develop the PR savvy of going against automobiles in a major market – Detroit, of all places – then you have nothing. Give these artists Kudos for bringing the idea before more people and more media. That’s the race. Not who crosses the finish line in an obscure HPV race but who crosses the most editor’s desks are the ones who get the most credit.

  10. Jonathan Krall on

    I clicked on a number of the velomobile links provided by other commenters and they all look like little bicycle rockets with no obvious place to put the groceries (they probably have cargo space in there somewhere but it isn’t obvious).

    The two examples shown here look more like cars–something that a typical American might imagine using. And that’s the point. Hopefully it will get people thinking.

  11. Mikael on

    Ah, the “has to look like a car, and they will buy it”-myth. 🙂
    However it usually can’t compare with a car , except maybe on price, so there goes the cardriver customers. And too big, heavy and hot to appeal to velomobilists.

    But as the creator says its concept models and meant to make people think.

  12. Dave on

    I believe most (non-cyclist) people think the bicycle is a “toy” or “exercise tool” rather than “a mode of transportation”. Where as most people view the car as transportation. This helps blur the lines a bit and get people thinking human power can be transportation. Practicalities aside, these two machines are a win in my book.

  13. Chris Evans on

    Try and pedal these two contraptions and you will be wanting a different book. Once the batteries get low, you might as well walk home and hook up a trailer to go pick up your heavy pedal car.


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