These bikes designed by Bologna-based artist Gianluca Gimini may appear sleek and serviceable, but most of them have a handful of fatal flaws, from missing parts to improper proportions. That’s because they’re based on sketches done by ordinary passersby.
For over six years, Gimini has been asking strangers to draw bicycles on the spot, straight from memory. His participants have ranged from 3 to 88 years old, spanning seven different nationalities. He approaches his project like an informal psychological experiment, seeking insights on human behavior within the data he collects. For example, many contributors confuse the placement of the chain, though 90% of those mistakes are attributed to women. Men, meanwhile, are much more likely to over-complicate the structures of the frames.
Since obtaining his first sketch back in 2009, Gimini has collected over 376 illustrations, which range from the relatively realistic to the fantastically far-off. But it wasn’t until 2016 that he took the crowd-sourced drawings and transformed them into Velocipedia, rendering the pen-and-paper outlines into his digitized designs. The results are evidence of a proven psychological phenomenon: frequent exposure to everyday items isn’t especially effective in producing accurate memory recall. Though most of us have probably seen countless bicycles in our lives, few of us are familiar with the way the vehicles are put together.
Gimini puts a positive spin on the wobbly two-wheelers, as he explains on his Behance page: “A single designer could not invent so many new bike designs in 100 lifetimes and this is why I look at this collection in such awe…everyone, regardless his age and job, can come up with extraordinary, wild, new and at times brilliant inventions.”
Let’s start with what looks to be a normal bicycle.*
*This bicycle is actually missing an integral part of its frame, but it’s less noticeable than the following illustrations/renderings.
And here’s what some of the participants drew, followed by Gimini’s renderings.
All images via Gianluca Gimini.