Duncan Fitzsimons is a tinkerer. When he was 5 he put together Lego spaceships in seconds. When he was 15 he made a wooden rocking chair. At 26 Fitzsimons has decided to reinvent the wheel.
Standing in his London workshop, Fitzsimons picks up the bicycle wheel he designed and pushes on the sides. In one smooth movement it collapses, inflated tire and all, into an oblong shape the length and width of a skateboard. After three years of modifications and scores of prototypes Fitzsimons has come up with the world’s first collapsible bike wheel, aimed at couriers or commuters who might need to throw a folding bike into a trunk or overhead compartment.
It could be a few years before the design hits the market. Folding-bike makers like Brompton Bicycle Ltd. have been slow to pick it up, partly because they can’t produce such an unusual model and partly because bike designs have barely changed over the last century. “I’m getting an incredibly enthusiastic response from everyone except the bike industry,” the inventor says.
Photo by Tom Fecht.
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