San Francisco-based artist Eric Staller built a bike for eight people as an art piece. He wanted to take his work out of the gallery and into the streets. His multi-person cycle got so much attention he decided to commercialize it as a bike for seven.
Staller named it a conference bike because it's not a tandem, but instead all seven passengers sit in a circle. It steers like a car with Volkswagen steering, everyone has pedals which are connected to a circular shaft (a universal joint) with a chain that goes to the rear wheels. So even those cycling backward, or sideways, contribute to the forward motion equally.
They're not cheap -- about $13,000 each -- but Staller believes every village could have one. Some towns are using them as part of car-free city programs. In Germany, they're being used as a human-powered school bus.
And somehow by making cycling a group activity, the conference bike is being considered for weight loss. In Oregon, one school district uses it as a tool to fight obesity and Staller says even those from Michelle Obama's "Let's Move" anti-obesity campaign have shown interest.