We’ve all seen contrails in the sky from heavier than air transportation on wings, but now a design collective has taken contrails to the road. Instead of using giant pollution machines to create clouds (which ironically could help delay global warming) the designers are using chalk to add colour to the road and make drivers more aware of the cyclists.
THE ROAD: A bicyclist on the road often feels that they are under assault by passing vehicles. Particularly in cities where bicyclists seem rare, motor vehicles aggressively dominate the road, discouraging potential bicyclists from joining in.
THE CONTRAIL: Contrail is a small bright bike accessory that allows bicyclists to color in their own space on the road. It’s like playing with sidewalk chalk, but faster.
THE WORKS: Contrail holds 200 grams of chalk, enough for about 20 miles (32km) of riding. It functions much like a carpenter’s chalk line: A small amount of powdered chalk is filtered through a brush inside the device and picked up on a felt wheel. The felt wheel transfers this chalk onto the rear tire leaving a fine layer. As chalk builds up, the tire leaves a faint line of color on the roadbed. This is you contrail. It is a colorful and ephemeral representation of your path.