Monthly Archives: January 2015

A compendium of failure, many with wheeled things

And it goes almost without saying, almost all involving young men.

I include this video in the hope it will inspire others to share tales of their worst wheeled equipment failures. For me it was a mountain bike, years ago, on a fire trail in the Santa Monica mountains. A property developer had tried to block access by piling dirt into berms about every fifty feet, but this made the route all the more spectacular on a bike (especially on the downhill). So it was, anyway, until the stem of the bike snapped and left me holding the handlebars with a confused expression on my face until the bike slammed into the cliff face to my left.

Good times, good times.

Rollkers- The most ridiculous skate/shoe ever!

I have found the new WheeledThing poster child – Rollkers


The name is awful, the concept is insane and even if they can deliver, it will still be a tremendous failure.

The photo of a multi-wheeled platform with a napkin holder attached probably got your attention, but it’s hard to describe just how off-the-wall this product is.  I will give that honor to the Rollkers PR team and paste their content unaltered:

“Rollkers attaches to the soles of one’s shoes to improve efficiency in the way we walk.  While we are now strolling, hiking or scurrying from place to place, we will soon find ourselves “Rollkering” to save time – allowing us to move faster with less effort to catch the train, the bus or the elevator … all while deploying the same customary strides of normal waking.”

As you wipe the tears of laughter from your eyes, try this one:

“To cover long distances, most people use public transportation in order to save time. Between overcrowded buses and subways and the lack of freedom, stress tends to arise; not to mention the negative environmental impacts of smog from vehicular emissions. Bicycles, scooters, and skates are popular but can be cumbersome and/or dangerous when used in major cities. Rollkers were developed to combat these issues and provide a healthier, more environmentally friendly and increasingly reliable form of transportation. There is no large equipment to lug around; simply attach to your shoe and gain a major leg up on those around you.”

Rollkers2Has Paul Chavand ever been on a bicycle, or experienced bike share?  Because bikes are “cumbersome and/or dangerous” we are going to strap on these magic wheeled motors to our shoes and never fall or get hit by a distracted driver?  How does a Rollker solve any of the world’s problems?

All I can think of is Mr. Chavand wanted to try and be the new Dean Kamen.  What is this Frenchman thinking?

Oh, and if you want to send us a demo pair, I know a great ‘test pilot’ who lives in Florida.

Say Hello to Paul:

For those with too much money, a Three Wheel Folding Electric Scooter from #SharperImage

The American population is aging and battery technology is getting better, so we should expect to be fighting for sidewalk space with an increasing number of electric scooters over the next couple of decades. That said, I suspect the Sharper Image Folding Electric Scooter is not likely to be one of them.

Ugly scooter, 3/4 view

Ugly scooter, 3/4 view

Ugly scooter, side view

Ugly scooter, side view

The problem is not merely that it’s ugly, but that the specs are unexciting (12mph, 15 mile range). It weighs 70 pounds, so while you can fold it you can’t very well carry it onto a train or subway, or even load it into the trunk of a car very conveniently. And more significantly, it costs $1800, and it’s hard to imagine anybody for whom it’s going to be worth the price. Certainly not this lady:

You will never see this, not ever.

You will never see this, not ever.

You Feet Should be Dumb, Your Hands Should be Smart

OK, maybe you think a smart pedal aka Connected Cycleis a bad idea.  Few people  claim to have “smart feet” except maybe Baryshnikov or Astaire… but smart hands…. it’s closer to the brain, they often scratch your head.  Your smart hands need smrtGRiPS!



Now instead of self powered, you need to charge with USB.
Instead of someone stealing your pedals, they steal you grips (I guess that is better)!

Now in the video show below this person can’t even seem to remember two or three turns.

They claim one of the benefits is you don’t have sun glare…doesn’t she know she can stop in a shady place?  You don’t have to stop under a spotlight.  Pick a place where you can read your phone.

What about the times you change your mind about where you want to go?  Those grips will be vibrating like crazy?  Who know, maybe the Polish National Team can find a use for them… I can’t.

A Smart Bike Powered by your Foot

Connected Cycle – Quick, somebody, hide my assets!  I actually like this thing.

It’s self powered and contains a GPS and a modem of some kind… sure it may cost more than my bike, sure you may find your pedals ripped off… but hey it’s on Kickstarter and that’s a sign of quality.



If I had one of these, I would know how far, how fast, how many bumps.  Life would be so much better.  I could tweet while riding!  I mean now, I have to remember these things or wait until I get off the bike!  The horror… the horror…

The $150 million scooter

Once upon a time there was a little company called Gogoro that decided to make an electric scooter. So they raised $150 million from venture capitalists and say they’ll come to market eventually.

Yup, it's a scooter.

Yup, it’s a scooter.

Perhaps I snark too aggressively. The real business plan involves hot-swappable batteries, and the scooter is just a platform to help people get used to the concept.


The specs on the scooter itself look decent — it will run for an hour at 25mph and has a top speed of 59mph. If management is sufficiently committed to getting this scooter into many hands to popularize the battery stations, they may sell them cheap enough to be worth owning.