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Copy the car: AutoVelo is no ordinary bike

The shortlist is announced for the March 2010 International Bicycle Design Competition in Taipei, and one of only three U.S. finalists introduces a somewhat novel concept: mimic the car.

Designer Eric Stoddard has a thing for designing bikes that feel like cars. Speed Studio Design

Winners of the International Bicycle Design Competition will be announced in March in Taipei, and one of only three U.S. entries to be short-listed (out of 938 entries from 55 nations) introduces a somewhat novel (and in the bike world somewhat taboo) concept: copy the car.

The bike, which designer Eric Stoddard of Speed Studio Design has named AutoVelo, is an electric bike targeting riders who are more accustomed to driving cars. Mimicking the arrangement of a car's innards, the hand and foot positions, seat height, and back angle should feel very familiar to the car commuter.

The frame is one of the only in the bicycle world with such a low step-over, so that riders can not only mount and dismount easily, but also put their feet on the ground with barely a stretch.

Eric Stoddard's electric Trik.E bike. Speed Studio Design

Like many of this year's finalists, AutoVelo is an electric bike, with a rear-wheel motor and battery mounted--and practically invisible--beneath the frame. There's even a little please-don't-rain-on-me windshield for the fair-weather riders, but it does not extend over the back of the saddle, where one can hang a (preferably waterproof) backpack.

AutoVelo is essentially a concept bike, but now that it is short-listed at the IBDC, keep checking back on Stoddard's site for a release date and price. And as a concept, it is only somewhat novel; Stoddard has already designed a human/electric-powered bike that mimics certain aspects of cars (or is it golf carts?) with his Trik.E.