Here are 10 unusual ways to get from point A to point B. Some are fast, some are inexpensive, others are “green”, but all are guaranteed to get stares from the people you pass on the street:
10. Trikke Scooter
A Trikke Scooter is a fairly nifty transportation device for only $199. It basically works as a combination scooter and skate. It is propelled by the rider making a side-to-side motion, causing the two rear wheels to swing inside and out. This motion then causes some form of Newton’s Law to take effect, and this contraption miraculously moves forward like a snail out of hell. It can be steered simply by angling your body and wheels towards the direction you want to go. While not as practical as a bike, it is a heck of a lot more fun.
For around $4,000 and up, a person can purchase a Velomobile, which is essentially a horizontal, three-wheel bike, encased in a sort of plastic tomb. The outer shell protects the rider from the harsh elements of rain, snow, and hail, while also cutting down on the amount of bugs in the teeth. Some recent models have also been designed with storage, making it semi-functional in getting groceries and performing errands. Essentially, this is about as close to an all-season bicycle as you’ll ever get.
8. The Segway
For around $1,000 more than a Velomobile, you can purchase a fully automated, battery operated Segway, which is the young man’s/woman’s equivalent to a “Little Rascal” scooter. You may have noticed mall and school security cops feverishly perched upon these units, patrolling the hallways and keeping pedestrians safe (or at the very least, entertained). The typical Segway can travel at speeds up to 12.5 mph, and distances of 24 miles on a single charge. A few years ago a Chicago street officer was commended for attempted to nab a couple of crooks while on his Segway. Unfortunately, only one of the suspects was obtained. The one not smart enough to run up a flight of stairs.
Hovercrafts have been around a while, but they are still cool. One can be built for as little as $500 worth of wood, fiberglass, vinyl/rubber, a vacuum, and a couple of leaf blowers. How it works, is air pressure is created underneath a platform, via an electric/gas motor. This creates a cushion of air underneath the craft, which is just enough to give it liftoff. Then by using another motor, the craft can be steered across anything from snow, sand, asphalt, or even water. This is not quite the same as the hovercrafts depicted in movies, where the magnetic field of the earth is utilized to counteract the effects of gravity, but where there’s a nerd, there’s a way!
6. Magic Wheel
How could any form of transportation with the word magic, not be fun? Priced at $149, the magic wheel is a cross between a skateboard, unicycle, and roller blades. Since it primarily consists of one medium and one small-sized wheel, it is surprisingly compact and agile, approximately the size of a briefcase, and weighing just over 14 pounds. Thanks to its well-balanced design, it is not as difficult to learn to maneuver as you might think.
An AquaSkipper ($499) is an innovative way to travel by water. Instead of traveling through the water as in a boat or jet ski, the AquaSkipper prefers to skims across it, using the momentum and two sets of fins. In essence, the device is a form of human powered hydrofoil, which is propelled by hopping up and down on a platform situated over top a large fin. The hopping motion causes the fin to rock back and forth in a waving motion, similar to the effect of the dorsal fin of a dolphin when they perform tricks, such as skidding across the waters surface. Once you get up to a state of inertia, speeds of up to 17 mph are possible; but if you run out of steam, the watercraft will instantly sink like bag of cement.
4. Hot Rod Recliner
A few summers ago, Dennis LeRoy Anderson became known for the hot rod recliner he’d built himself out of a La-Z-Boy. The design consisted of four wheels attached to a recliner chair chassis, with the addition of an 8-horsepower lawnmower engine, stereo system, headlights, cup holder, NOS bottle (non-functional), and custom blue flame paint job. But this wasn’t just any living room throne… Mr. Anderson brought his “ride” to the local pub religiously to watch football and drink beer. He got a little carried away one night while on his way home, crashing into a parked vehicle and earning himself a DUI. According to a site dedicated to the famous chair, it was being auctioned off on eBay by the Minnesota police department. The bidding price was over $43,000 when it was removed (in response to actions by the La-Z-Boy Furniture Company). Visit lazyboydui.com http://lazyboyduichair.wordpress.com/2009/11/05/lay-z-boy-stops-ebay-auction-for-motorized-chair/ for all of the details.
3. Treadmill Bike
A slightly healthier, and less expensive ($2000) alternative to the hot rod recliner is a treadmill bike. The way it works, is a treadmill platform is installed across a bike frame at a slight angle, and connected to the rear wheel. When the treadmill is either walked or ran upon, it sends power to the rear wheel, thus moving it forward. Now, why would you ever want to walk on a treadmill around town, when you could just walk around normally? Well, the manufacturer claims it “protects your feet from dirt and other contaminants commonly found on the earth’s surface.” An oversized hamster ball might provide even more protection from the harmful effects of dirt and chewed-up bubble gum, but who are we to judge.
Kiteboarding is an extreme sport accomplished on either land or water, depending on what your feet happen to be planted on (surfboard or skateboard). The idea works by mixing the adrenaline rush of land/water surfing, with the childhood dream of flying. A kiteboard may be fast and relatively efficient, but it is unfortunately completely reliant on the force of the wind to give it motion. Since wind is neither predictable nor steady, maneuvering one of these is like taking a rhinoceros for a walk. With this much unpredictability, one of the best forms of stopping yourself is the direct face plant, so wear a helmet! Starter packages cost about $1500 (helmet not included).
A Poweriser is a wannabe superheroes dream. It is an ingenious system of spring-loaded stilts, which when appropriately applied by a human body hopped up on enough caffeine, become sort of a bionic extension of ones legs. This allows the wearer to run at superhuman speeds, and leap over small children and medium-sized dogs in a single bound. Of course, any time you mix high pressure springs with the frailty of the human body; you are also talking about extreme danger. And where you find danger… pain, regret, and astronomical hospital bills are only a leap away. All this can be yours for as low as $187.
by Eric J. Leech