I love prototypes. They are brutal and oblivious to changes they will still undergo. But prototypes are also like teenagers; some are broad shouldered with full beards at age fourteen, others linger in puberty.
On my business trip to Amsterdam this weekend, I tested the prototype Urban Arrow (www.urbanarrow.com). If the Urban Arrow were a teenager, it would have skipped high school and started off in university. Its serpentine aluminum tubes, the austerity of its frame, and the slumbering power behind its aerodynamics — no reason to doubt why this prototype just won the EuroBike 2010 Award.
My test ride started at café Zouk – on a busy corner of the Eerste Constantijn Huygensstraat. Zouk’s terrace was filled with a large after work crowd there to enjoy the sun and the first hours of their weekend. With the street as my stage, the terrace crowd as my audience, I mounted the Urban Arrow and pedaled away westward – intuitively overtaking lazy afternoon traffic, onwards through quieter cycle lanes, until Amsterdam lay behind me.
There, with the wind in my face and under the high blue sky, and with legs that still felt strong, I realized: this prototype best not lose it adolescent boldness. In fact, it might be ready to lead it’s life as a first model for Urban Arrow.