Velopresso: A Cleaner Way to Dope

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Velopresso, the ultimate café cruiser.

With the crush of bad news about EPO and testosterone and blood doping in the last week, we're thrilled to bring you an uplifting story about bikes and everybody's favorite performance-enhancing substance: caffeine.

Amos Reid and Lasse Oiva, design students from London's Royal College of Art, have unveiled a pedal-powered mobile coffee stand that they call the Velopresso. Two Gates Carbon Belt Drives sit at the heart of the cart's drivetrain, which has been modified so that pedaling can both move the cart forward and grind the beans for the espresso. “We conceived this as part of the global renaissance in cycling culture that is being driven by the desire for more sustainable cities and lifestyles,” says Reid. “The urban coffee scene is also converging with cycling, and Velopresso engages directly with these cultures.”

Steam pressure for pulling espresso shots is generated with a small gas stove, but Reid and Oiva are investigating greener options. “We're researching ways to derive a zero-carbon fuel for the stove from waste grinds,” Reid says. It's that resourceful spirit that has helped the Velopresso rack up a pair of design awards. In July, the creation won both a grant from Deutsche Bank for Creative Enterprises and a prize from Pininfarina, the Italian design firm best known for its work on Ferrari and Maserati.

The Velopresso is still in prototype stages, but Reid and Oiva are seeking investors to help turn their creation into a booming business. We know one Texan who might be looking for new ventures. And don't worry: WADA took caffeine off the prohibited substances list a long time ago.

—Aaron Gulley

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