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Gliding up hills

When I was a student in Lisbon in the early nineties a friend of mine cycled down from the north of Spain to the capital. It was July. All the Portuguese in the villages were sitting in the shade of fig trees and bus shelters, watching the world go by when along came this red in the face, dripping wet, young man on a mountain bike. They looked on in bemusement, shook their heads and generally agreed that he was ‘maluco’. Even my Portuguese partner’s father was puzzled and asked, ‘Couldn’t he afford the bus?’ Times change. Portugal is now …

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beum - kit electric bicycle

BeUm – the electric bicycle from Minho

There are still people who don’t ride bikes because Portugal is not a “cyclable” country. But Rui Araújo, a Portuguese researcher from the University of Minho, decided to solve the problem: he made a prototype of a kit that can turn “normal” bicycles into electric bicycles. Costing €500, this device can be fitted to all bicycles, providing a range of 60 km and a maximum speed of 25 kph. This project was Rui’s Master’s thesis for the course in Industrial Electronic Engineering and Computers he is attending, and although it’s not ready to be sold commercially yet, a new kit …

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Travels in my country

What do a mathematician and an architect get up to together? In the case of Ricardo Reis and Nuno Lopes, they have created a route calculator for public transport routes in Portugal. They include all vehicles in it and offer people the possibility of coordinating timetables in order to reduce waiting times. Formed following a competition by the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, with the aim of solving social problems in Portugal, the company Mais Perto set up the project TransportesPúblicos.PT. Here, you can find different means of transport – road, rail or river –including tourist lifts and urban buses. You can …

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