Starting and stopping frequently is often one of the most challenging aspects of urban cycling. A 22-year old inventor has made it a little easier with a bicycle flywheel.


Video from Science Friday.



Maxwell von Stein is a graduate of the Cooper Union, where he designed a flywheel to use regenerative braking for a bike. The flywheel, which was originally in a Porsche, sits on the frame between the rider’s legs.

When the cyclist wants to slow down, say at a red light, he or she can shift gears so that the motion of the cycle is transferred into the flywheel. When the light turns green, shifting will give a “kick” of speed to the bike.

Von Stein says it’s cool to get your own energy back, that you’ve already put in, instead of just wasting it. He actually hopes to use these principles and apply it to cars.

I hope he (or somebody) though will market this. I wouldn’t mind an extra 15 pounds on my bike if it meant a power boost when getting started.

Matt Johnson has lived in the Washington area since 2007. He has a Master’s in Planning from the University of Maryland and a BS in Public Policy from Georgia Tech. He lives in Capitol Hill. He’s a member of the American Institute of Certified Planners, and is an employee of the Montgomery County Department of Transportation. His views are his own and do not represent those of his employer.