Campbell Law Dean J. Rich Leonard spotted his first ConferenceBike when he was in Vienna with a group of students last spring.
His first thought? Campbell Law School needed one. “It’s a way to combine collaboration and fitness,” Leonard explained. “Our generous donors provide me with discretionary funds for the sole purpose of doing unique and creative things like the ConferenceBike.”
The seven-seat conference bike, known as the CoBi, is available for faculty, staff and student meetings. The recent addition of bike lanes in North Carolina’s capital city made its application even more practical, according to Leonard.
The CoBi, which was custom built in Holland and painted Campbell University orange, has already attracted the attention of media outlets, including Raleigh Magazine, as well as curious passersby walking along Hillsborough Street.
The presence of the CoBi puts Campbell Law in the same company with those on the Google campus. The conference bike is also used by Cirque du Soleil; the Hellen Keller National Center, where deaf and blind ride the CoBi with a sighted captain; The Earth Center, a “green” theme park in York, England, where the bike has become a symbol for sustainable transportation; The Jerusalem Science Museum, where the CoBi illustrates mechanical principles; and Alfred University, where the bike is used for student orientation, among others, according to the website.
The conference bike evolved from the work of American artist Eric Staller, whose artwork OCTOS eventually evolved into the CoBi. “I could see that the OCTOS was something more powerful than art,” he said on his website. “It was something to be used and enjoyed by everyone. It was functional and there was never anything like it.”