On this day in 2013: We flew a flying bicycle

Yannick Read tows flying bicycle

There’s a lot to be said for daydreaming. You know how it is: Friday afternoon; two hours until home time; your mind starts to wander. And so it was that one day in 2013 our thoughts turned to flying bicycles.

Earlier that year we’d read about how British aeronautical company Parajet had created a flying car using a paramotor wing, so we sent them an unsolicited email and a quick sketch of how the same principle might be applied to make a bicycle fly.

Ten minutes later our email inbox pinged. The reply from Parajet was short and to the point. “We love this idea. Let’s build it.”

paravelo early sketch

This was the back-of-fag-packet design we sketched one Friday afternoon…little did we know that within 6 months it would be a flying prototype

“We love the idea – let’s build it”

Even more surprising than the enthusiastic reply from Parajet was how the project quickly attracted a group of designers and film makers – all of whom donated their time for free. Over the coming months, the design was refined and engineers fabricated a flying prototype.

paravelo prototype build

An early prototype takes shape

By the summer of 2013, and less than 6 months after we’d first daydreamed about the idea of a flying bicycle, an experimental aircraft we dubbed the Paravelo was ready for its maiden flight.

flying with your bicycle

Equipped with a bioethanol-compatible motor to help with the flying bit, our ‘paravelo’ took to the skies above Dorset on a blustery day in June.

News of the Paravelo was featured on American  and Australian television networks, became the subject of a French newspaper cartoon and made the Radio Times here in Blighty!

news paper clippings showing articles about the flying bicycle

Of all the custom bikes we’ve designed over the years, the Paravelo was by far the most ambitious. It simply wouldn’t have been possible without the enthusiasm and generosity of a large group of people who came together over a love of cycling.

The ethical choice – Your bike in safe hands

The ETA was established in 1990 as an ethical provider of green, reliable travel services. Over 30 years on, we continue to offer cycle insurance , breakdown cover and mobility scooter insurance while putting concern for the environment at the heart of all we do.

The Good Shopping Guide judges us to be the UK’s most ethical provider.

RadRunner e-bike prize

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