Hardwicke says the bike tunnels would be comparable in cost to highway construction and could be built over existing streets, railways and hydro corridors. The tunnels would be one-way, with three lanes in each.
Because the tunnels offer protection from wind and with the cyclists riding in one direction, Hardwicke says the bikers would create their own tailwind, propelling them along at speeds much faster than they would average outdoors.
While Hardwicke's idea may sound offbeat, it's not the first time bike tunnels have been proposed. In the mid-1980s, Toronto engineer Joseph Adler laid out his plan for a bicycle expressway system.
Denver, Co.-based Bicycle Transportation Systems Inc. has also proposed an elevated, enclosed network of bike tunnels. On its website for the Transglide 2000 bicycle transit system, the company boasts "constant powered air movement in direction of riding removes air resistance allowing average riding speeds of 25 miles (40 km) per hour."
But Hardwicke remains determined to bring his idea forward. He talks about how the network would come with storage lockers, bike lockers and shower facilities and, because it would be pollution-free, could be routed directly into buildings.