Monthly Archives: May 2015

Smarthalo — another f*cking smart bike kickstarter

So you attach the SmartHalo to your handlebars (or you tape a printout of their photoshop of what they think it’s going to look like, which is the same thing so far),

If it's this ugly in their fake product renderings, you *know* it's going to look like a broken toaster in real life.

If it’s this ugly in their fake product renderings, you *know* it’s going to look like a broken toaster in real life.

It automatically turns on your headlamp when it gets dark, and if you use your smart phone to tell it where you’re going, it flashes lights at you to tell you where to turn. And, my favorite, it tells you when it’s raining. You know, because it’s so hard to tell when you’re on a bicycle.

Weather Alerts Heads up: nasty thunderstorm incoming! Be warned when weather conditions turn ugly so you can better plan your trips.

Weather Alerts
Heads up: nasty thunderstorm incoming! Be warned when weather conditions turn ugly so you can better plan your trips.

The Sbyke penny-farthing scooter-skateboard. I could have sworn we already discussed this.

We’re used to seeing entrepreneurs randomly combining two things together and calling it a vehicle (scooter with suitcase, bicycle with skis, etc.) I think this is the first time we’ve seen a three-way combination.

Sbyke sells a scooter/skateboard/penny farthing.

I give them points for creativity

I give them points for creativity

But you have to admit, it looks horrible

But you have to admit, it looks horrible

They offer a video discussing the device, but as is normal for new WheeledThings, it’s mostly people talking about the device, not so many action shots.

The high end model lists for $249, and I’m seeing it on sale for $180.

RAILZ Snow Scooters. Their slogan is “Always Wear a Helmet”

Some months ago, we discussed the RAILZ snow skateboard, a Rube-Goldbergesque device in which a skateboard was put on four little snowboards rather than just being a snowboard itself.

http://www.wheeledthing.com/snow-skateboard/

It turns out that the geniuses behind that device have produced a variation based on scooters.

Full-sized, for grownups who don't want to have fun.

Full-sized, for grownups who don’t want to have fun.

Youth-sized, for kids who don't want to have fun either.

Youth-sized, for kids who don’t want to have fun either.

Much of their website is in Comic Sans, so you know it’s a good idea to trust your health to their design skills.

SkyRide – The Bike on a Track in the Sky!

Videos to demonstrate new WheeledThings frequently suck.  Lots of talking not much action.  I’m happy to report that Scott Olsen has a different way of doing things.  This video is all action… and no talking.

Sure, I would love to try one of these things, but besides getting a good view of the forest, I don’t see the point.  A bike monorail?  According to their site, “SkyRide Technology has developed the next breakthrough for the future of fitness, sustainable urban transportation and recreation. This human-powered system has the potential to revolutionize the way people move about our planet. SkyRide is safe to use for people of all ages, abilities and special needs and is 100% carbon free.”

How is this better than riding a bicycle on the roadway?  Oh that is right, if you fall off your bike it’s a short fall, but when you fall off the SkyRide it’s a long fall.  I can see this in a fun-park as an amusement, but why build a sky monorail?

SkyRide1

Scott does seem to be having fun… and I hope the royalties from Rollerblade keep flowing because I don’t expect this product to “take off”.

Dirk Auer: German on rails

I’m not generally a fan of stunts like Felix Baumgartner’s skydiving record. Despite whatever efforts were made to make it sound like an athletic feat, it was basically a test of his safety equipment. If it worked, he lived, and if it failed he didn’t. The role of Felix Baumgartner could have been played just as well by a mannequin with a gyroscope in it. Bungee jumping is pretty much the same thing, manufactured thrills for the serotoninally challenged.

Dirk Auer, though, may be in a different category.

He designed and built the skates himself.

He designed and built the skates himself.

He went 90kph (56mph, Americans).

He went 90kph (56mph, Americans).

If his quadriceps had weakened, he presumably would have died.

If his quadriceps had weakened, he presumably would have died.

Verrado electric drift trike

We’ve made fun of drift trikes before. And of course, where there’s a bad idea, there’s a Kickstarter project somewhere to overcharge you for a trivial variation. In this case, to charge you $1700 for an electric drift trike.

"Bob said he wanted this Big Wheel™ to look 'noble." This is as close as I could get."

“Bob said he wanted this Big Wheel™ to look ‘noble.” This is as close as I could get.”

Giving credit where credit it due, after completing the Kickstarter gauntlet, this thing seems actually to have come to market.

They’ve released a video which, as is normal for these sorts of projects, consists mostly of people talking about the trike. However you do see it being used a bit. It looks like it would be fun for a few days before it got boring, which is better than a lot of other WheeledThings.

On sale now for $1200!

Olivia Newton John and Michael Beck on rollerskates (bonus: Gene Kelly!)

Any reader of a certain age will look at the title of this post and know precisely where these images will be coming from: Xanadu! The 1980 roller-skating musical that demonstrated to a skeptical world just how much cocaine it was possible to inhale and remain standing behind a camera.

Lay blame where you like, many of the people involved in this production were good in other things. They even cast the amazing Gene Kelly, who among other things was a superb skater (see, for example, It’s Always Fair Weather, 1955. Or don’t bother, I’ll post an excerpt here sooner or later).

The embarassing scene above is clearly meant to evoke the “You Were Meant for Me” number in Singin in the Rain. Note that Olivia Newton John, co-star of this rollerskating musical, never really learned how to stop on skates and they had to choreograph Xanadu so that she could crash into things to stop.

Ooh, I can’t resist sharing some of It’s Always Fair Weather. Check out how Gene Kelly stops here, as compared to the above:

I am married with children, and I still want to be Gene Kelly when I grow up.

I am married with children, and I still want to be Gene Kelly when I grow up.

Skateboards exploding as a mode of transit in NYC

Am I the only one who has noticed an explosion in the number of skateboards being used for transportation in New York City? I see at least a dozen a day, being used by everybody from kids on their way to school to businessmen in suits and ties. Two photos from this morning:

At 125th and Lenox. These kids then hopped off their boards and went into the subway.

At 125th and Lenox. These kids then hopped off their boards and went into the subway.

In school, walking to class. Note another deck on the ground behind her.

In school, walking to class. Note another deck on the ground behind her.

One of my children told me last week that he will want a skateboard for his birthday, and though his mom (who remembers the somewhat less savory image of skateboarders in the 1970s and 1980s) objects, I’m on board with the project, and perhaps even excited to get a board of my own to learn with him.

I’ve ridden a skateboard only once, and found myself constantly distracted by memories of Back to the Future.

I look like this, but older, less graceful, and without charisma.

I look like this, but older, less graceful, and without charisma.