Category Archives: Not quite a bicycle

Pedal-powered Monocycles

The other day, I mentioned monocycles, the enormous unicycles that one rides inside of. It turns out that pedaled versions exist and can be purchased for about $2000.

It’s called “Monovelo”.

Coming to a Burning Man near you.

Coming to a Burning Man near you.

And it even appeared in the closing ceremonies of the 2008 Olympic games in China.

The glowing Monovelo costs a bit extra.

The glowing Monovelo costs a bit extra.

Monocycles for sale!

I’ve always wanted to try a monocycle. These are large single-wheeled cycles that the riders sits in the middle of, like this:

A 1931 Monocycle

A 1931 Monocycle

Inventers and tinkerers have been introducing these for as long as bicycles and motorcycles have existed, but they’ve never reached mass acceptance. For that matter, they’ve never even really reached industrial production.

A guy named Kerry McLean seems to be a significant innovator nowadays, but it doesn’t always work out well for him.

Anyway, I’ve found a company that supposedly sells these things off the shelf. Unfortunately, they’re €8500 ($9900 from, of course, Hammacher Schlemmer), almost certainly not street legal anywhere in the world, and the website shows not even a single photo of them working. Sigh. There’s a couple of videos on Youtube but they don’t inspire much confidence.



Not Tsetse Fly… FlyKly

Do you love your bike, but hate pedaling it?
Are you the kind of person who says, I really want to grow my love handles.

Well, if you want to keep your bike, but add the pounds, FlyKly is the product for you!

According to, Niko Klansek, who is based in NY, wants to provide you with a “pedal assist wheel”, to make “your commute easier, faster and smarter”.  I guess it’s the anti-fixie. Instead of making your bike cheaper and simpler, lets slap in a motor, computer and battery!

When you think hi-tech electronics, what country comes to mind first!  Italy!  That is right, the FlyKly is made in Milan, Italy, but assembled in NYC.  No wonder this little thing cost $1,000.  For only $200 more you can get a charger for it, which is “recommended”.  How else to you charge this thing up?  My favorite line from their sales pitch is, “Any custom duties or other associated taxes and charges are the responsibility of the customer.” – Do these guys plan to merge with SledDogs?

For some reason you can test the FlyKly in Slovenia (bottom of page) but not NYC.

Oh yeah, these guys raised $700,000 on Kickstarter. FlyKLY

The Sky Cycle of Washuzan. Is it worth a trip to Japan? Yes, yes it is.

In southwest Japan, for reasons unknown to man, there is a Brazilian-themed amusement park. Deepening the mystery, one of the attractions at this park is pedal-powered skyway. It looks like this:

I want one of these in my back yard.

I want one of these in my back yard.

It’s apparently terrifying and beautiful, which may be how Japanese people view Brazilian people.

Here’s a first-person film of the the ride, from Japanese television.

Credit ultimately to @Mulboyne on Twitter, who posted a picture of this ride online.

"Daisy, Daisy you’ll look sweet Upon the seat Of a bicycle built for two."

“Daisy, Daisy
you’ll look sweet
Upon the seat
Of a bicycle built for two.”

Raht Racer, pedal powered electric trike

Taking a brief break from our series on Inline Magazine in 1997, let’s discuss the Raht Racer. This is a kickstarter, so it will probably never come into existence but if it does, it will be a covered trike with an electric motor and pedals for charging on the fly.


The designer claims a top speed of 100mph and range of 50 miles, and it seats two people. It has an electric motor and pedals, but the pedals are connected to the generator, not the wheels. So if you start running out of juice, you can pedals like a madman and keep the thing moving. It’s an intriguing idea.

A prototype exists.

A prototype exists.

It’s on kickstarter and they project a selling price of $35k to $45k when it comes to market, if it ever does. I have no idea whether or not this thing would be street legal in much of the United States. I hope it is, as I hope it achieves the intended specs, and I hope less expensive models are released.


May-15 Update (Gary)

For all we make fun of Kickstarter here at WheeledThing… not everyone gets funded.  Case in point, the Rat Mobile… I mean Raht Mobile – which pulled it’s funding attempt with 191 backers and nearly $30K in donations.

I’m all for dreamers – but the fun of bike riding is that it’s you and the road.  Wind in the face, ultra maneuverability… slap in the electric motor and the seat belt and windscreen and it is a pedal car.  Put that thing on the streets of NYC and you’re stuck in traffic just like everyone else in a car… and you get to inhale their exhaust too!   This thing may be good for the wide open spaces of MN, but don’t try this “at home”.


Their video features a green screen, which they don’t project anything on, a guy with an amplifier and guitar… which is a waste of time and Scott Olsen – founder of Rollerblade and RowBike and SkyRide (looks like we have more posting to do) and Rich Kronfeld wearing a helmet with the chinstrap open and waaay to long.   And Rich… I love my bike commute.  The problem is not the bike, it’s the low density sprawl of MN.

RAHT RACER Launch Video from Clint Bohaty on Vimeo.

Idiotic elliptical bike on sale for $1500!

I understand why people like bicycles. I understand why people use elliptical machines in the gym. I do not understand why anybody would pay $1500 for a “street strider”.
Don't worry, it gets even worse.

Don’t worry, it gets even worse.

“The StreetStrider gives you the combined benefits of jogging, skiing and cycling, but without the physical stress on your joints and body.”
No, I guarantee you this does not provide the combined benefits of all those sports, and it has the distinct disadvantage relative to those activities of making you look like an idiot. Doubt me? Check this out:
Am I right, or am I right?

Am I right, or am I right?

The normal price is $2500 and for $400 additional, they’ll sell you a kit that enables you to use it indoors. If you’re tempted to do so, consider spending the money on analysis instead.

There’s a sale at the moment, so you can get the “strider” for $1500 and the embarrassing conversion kit for $300.

How about a Trike with a Roof

OK – so maybe the Elio does not work for you… $6,800 for a three wheeled motor/car is a bit much.  What if I told you, Organic Transit offers something really similar, but for the low, low price of $5,995 that also holds two passengers! That’s right, you can replace that gas motor with some pedals and an electric motor, a solar panel on the roof and a top speed of 20 MPH and you can pocket almost a $1,000 savings!  Did I mention this bike has three speeds!


Best of all, you they are in production!  Just click the buy button and you can have your very own really wide tricycle that will get stuck in traffic like everyone else.

I give them kudos for effort, but this thing is another solution looking to solve a problem, and is a bit off the mark.

Now, say hello to Rob Cotter

The Ciclotte exercise bike

$10,000 worth of coolness.

$10,000 worth of coolness.

Ciclotte ( has designed an innovative stationary bike, for which they want $10,000. I’m cool with that; good design is worth money, and this is a cool looking thing. My problem with the Ciclotte exercise bike is not the price, but rather the fact that they charge an extra $2000 for one made out of Carbon Fiber.

$12,000 worth of coolness?

$12,000 worth of coolness?

That’s right, carbon fiber — the less-strong building material whose only advantages are (a) ease of coercing into aerodynamic shapes and (b) light weight. This is a stationary bicycle. It does not need to be aerodynamic or lightweight.

They will also charge you $1000 to attach an iPad holder.