Have you ever ridden along in a tailwind and thought, “Hey, why don’t I just sit up, spread my arms out wide, and let the wind blow me down the road?” No? Well, these guys did. And they took it a lot further than that. Mixing experience sailing with biking in wide open windy coastal areas, the CycleWing Team has created a sail that straps onto your bike, and as they say could make your next bike trip “much more exciting!”

CycleWing collapsible rack-mounted bicycle sail

File this one under the heading ‘OMG’, ‘What?!’, or ‘Is that thing safe?’ The answer to that might be no, but that didn’t seem to stop inventor Jorge Pando of Margate, FL from creating CycleWing. His project is a lightweight, collapsible & electronically controlled rear rack-mounted sail that allows cyclists to harness the power of wind to get blown down (hopefully not off) the bike path. And as much as it is currently just a working proof-of-concept prototype, Pando has taken the project to Kickstarter and intends to have a production CycleWing sail ready for backers by the end of this year.

But wait, why? Get blown away!

CycleWing collapsible rack-mounted bicycle sail
c. CycleWing

The concept first came to Pando around three years ago while riding one day with a steady cross wind, wishing he could “somehow deploy a sail to harness it to make [his] ride a bit more thrilling.” Soon after on another ride with a string tailwind, he imagined increasing his wind exposure to take advantage of the wind and “really fly along”.

CycleWing collapsible rack-mounted bicycle sail

He’s not the first to want to attach a sail to a bike, but his concept is to make a relatively simple & modular solution that could be attached to most bikes, and be easy to deploy (or quickly fold back down) & easy to manage with shifting winds.

OK, so how would it work?

 CycleWing collapsible rack-mounted bicycle sail

Working together with Nathan Rose, a mechanical engineer with aerospace experience, the patent pending CycleWing was developed on a standard rear bicycle luggage rack. The setup consists of a collapsible sail with a mast that can be electronically controlled via a handlebar mounted, two-button thumb remote with a display that indicates real-time wind angle.

 CycleWing collapsible rack-mounted bicycle sail

Wind angles from around 45° behind you will be optimal to propel the single sail setup, with steady winds of 18-30mph (29-48km/h) delivering the best forward propulsion results. The ideal environment for riding with a CycleWing would be long straight expanse of open road or trail, think beach riding or long quiet roads. Riding around pedestrians, other cyclists, buildings, through forests or cities would make handling especially unpredictable.

 CycleWing collapsible rack-mounted bicycle sail

The whole thing is expected to be made in the USA (likely at a low production volume) and will add less than 15lb/6.8kg to the back of your bike.

Kickstarter backing and development schedule

 CycleWing collapsible rack-mounted bicycle sail

If reading that has made you think this could be a fun contraption to ride with, head on over to Kickstarter to back the project. It will cost you a funding pledge of $500 to secure one of the early production CycleWings. Only a couple of people have backed the project so far, which runs until the start of March.

They are still a long way to reaching their goal, but Pando seems like he is passionate about progressing this project if there is interest. Following crowdfunding, the next step will be a full engineering review to made the CycleWing production ready. The goal is to have early bird backers sailing down the road with CycleWings this coming November 2019. I’m personally very curious to see this thing take off (or not!)

CycleWing.com

19 COMMENTS

  1. This is fantastic as it combines 2 of my favorite hobbies – sailing and cyling! Imagine how cool this would be for some of the more open stretches of the country.

  2. In a yacht, there is a keel providing force against the water working exactly opposite to the over turning force from the sail, the result is to move you forward instead of tipping you over. This bike has no force opposite to the sail, except the friction from the tiny patches of tyre touching the ground. When the force from the sail goes above the friction force of the tyres, you will “capsize.” Unlike in water, you will get gravel rash.

  3. Winds are often gusty and can change directions. Imagine you’re happily cruising down the road and a sudden change in the wind direction sends you into the path of an oncoming car. Or a gust sends you into the ditch. Kiteboarders, windsurfers, sailors, etc all have a lot more margin for error out on the water since they are not confined to a set path (aka road).

    As a kiteboarder myself, I am intimately familiar with the power and variability of wind conditions and would not want this thing on my any of my bikes.

  4. This has been done before, but better, using a recumbent bike: Whike.com
    These things can occasionally be seen on the bikepaths in The Netherlands.
    It just needs bigger tyres so it can be used on the beach like a blo-kart.

  5. Not a new idea…the Dutch have been doing this for years, but mainly with recumbents. I ride these same levees where this was filmed and I can understand the “why” part of this. I just can’t imagine it becoming viable. But what do I know?!?

  6. I had to check the date and make sure it wasn’t 4/1. The center of effort on the sail is far behind the center of resistance (the bike) so it will continually want to round up to windward. You would be better off just filling the main triangle of the frame with a sail and hope for beam or broad reaching wind directions. But hey, people are buying e-bikes, so why not these things.

  7. Heavy EBikes or destabilizing sails, to gain a propulsive advantage? Why not go light? Pro riders are reporting a propulsive sailing effect while using Spoke Fins in crosswinds. Certainly not so heavy! And legal for Ironman.

  8. I didn’t know the dutch did these, that is awesome! Definitely a recumbent would be better for this application (with a wide wheel base). I have long thought that these types of vehicles should be present in all of the post apocolyptic movies we see where transportation wouldn’t be able to rely on gas anymore. Really cool idea with some tweeks, and obviously not for fitness, but for travel (and still sustainable unlike ebikes with the batteries and such).

  9. Lots of people already hit on the design issues with the sail’s position and lack of opposing force, which are all right on the money. Also, land sailing is already a thing, so why not just start from there? And, why take a kind of workable idea and try to monetize it before it’s ready? I think we all know the answer to these questions is: Florida. May the earth swallow her whole.

  10. Mr. Madison, what you have just said, is the most insanely idiotic thing I have ever heard. At no point, in your rambling incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points and may God have mercy on your soul.

    – Billy Madison

    At no point in the video did the sail look like it was helping and most of the time is was just back there flapping around. i would think solar panels and a hub motor would help more than this contraption.

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