Thursday, September 30, 2010

Innovations: the good, the bad, and the just plain silly...

Once again, I am pointed at something that is beyond awesome in bike-dom by my friend Katie Malkovsky. She just posted a link to this bike: the B.O.N.D. Bike (Built Of Notorious Deterrents) takes those fantasies all cyclists have at some point (my personal fantasy being the quick-release ballpeen hammer on the handlebars for judicious driver-punishing: scythes on the wheels are another) and, well, just exceeds them. Totally. Check this out:

Wow... Okay, so it's not really for sale. To be fair, the flamethrower might make it a bit too risky to put on the open market. But it's just so much awesome. There are more details about the bike here, including some notes on the building of the thing: it was constructed as a stunt, basically, by a bicycle insurer in the UK, - apparently they took a poll of cyclists, asked what annoys them most about cycling, and invented the ultimate response.

On another note, and also from Katie: she spotted someone in Toronto actually using an ElliptiGo. Her comment was that it looked "totally dorky, and totally fun." I'd have to agree: of all the modifications and alterations from your standard bike shape and mechanics, this one actually looks like it might work, and might be really fun. If, admittedly, dorky.

Not nearly as dorky as the Yike Bike, which strikes me as a strange crossbreed of a bike and a Segway (but cuter, with a sort of cartoon-robot aesthetic. Makes me think of one of the more endearing Transformers):

Granted, you can't fold a Segway. And the way it folds up is really quite slick. Not slick enough to get me on one though. I just wouldn't be able to do it with a straight face.

The ElliptiGo, though, has a certain swooshy grace. And there are things about it that make sense. It has the advantage of not having a seat: anyone who's been on a long run, or gotten on a bike for the first ride of the season, knows that sitting on a bike seat is probably the most painful part. All those folks who use recumbents could use an ElliptiGo for the same reasons: back pain, shoulder pain. But it's certainly not intended to carry any cargo. I know that it's not really being proposed as a replacement for the traditional bike, it's being sold as a cross-training device for marathoners: you run hard, then follow up the run with something that's still cardio but low-impact, without having to give up being outdoors. I don't think the novelty quite justifies the $2200 USD, though: but then I'm not a runner.

And I can't help being reminded of this hilarious video I discovered a little while ago, just to round off this "Captain Video" installment of The Incidental Cyclist:

But you know? I still haven't seen an improvement on the construction of a standard bike. Recumbents kind of scare me (I like being high up enough for cars to see me.) Tricycles are great for stability and cargo, but they're bigger and harder to get through city streets, and I wouldn't take one off the pavement. The spokeless wheels I've seen seem like engineering challenges rather than practicalities (the instant any grit or dirt got into the gears the bike would be out of commission.) There really is a simple rationality to the standard bike. A triangle for strength. Two wheels the same size. The physics are as simple as possible, which is why most people can learn to maintain and repair their own bikes. It all works.

A flamethrower and ejector seat would still rock, though.

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