Human Powered Vehicles

Racing Is Racing, Regardless Of Your Ride

Posted in Cool Stuff, Human Powered Vehicles, Videos by Kurt Ernst | March 5th, 2011 | 2 Responses |

Racing, when stripped down to its barest element, is you and a machine against the clock. I’ll make the argument that other competitors are largely irrelevant, since the fastest lap times are all that really count. Downhill urban mountain biking, then, easily fits into the definition of racing, and you can’t watch the video below without being impressed by the rider’s skill and determination. I wish I knew his name, because I’ll say this – the guy has balls to ride anything that fast with zero margin for error. I can’t see a sport like this taking off in America for two reason: first, we don’t have the steep, narrow, winding streets that Valparaiso, Chile does; and second, no sanctioning body in their right mind would hold a race like this in the land of litigation. Enjoy the video, but don’t even think about watching it if motion sickness is a problem. Read More…

Rollerman Versus The Motorcycle

Posted in Bizarre, Human Powered Vehicles, Videos by Kurt Ernst | February 21st, 2011 | Leave a Reply |

Jean-Yves Blondeau is also known by his nickname, “Rollerman”. The French industrial designer originally created his roller suit as part of his graduation project from Paris’ Olivier de Serres design school. Since then, the suit has brought him worldwide notoriety, like this race (from 2007) where Blondeau threw down against a motorcycle rider for a Japanese game show. I’d like to give you a turn by turn narration, but I don’t speak Japanese and it’s not like the action is hard to follow. So who’s faster down a mountain road, rollerman or the guy on the bike? Watch the video below to find out. Read More…

Pedal Powered Snowplow Makes Snow Removal Fun

Posted in EcoLust, General, Human Powered Vehicles, Other Rides, Rides by MrAngry | February 17th, 2011 | Leave a Reply |

Pedal Powered Snowplow

Ok, I’m not sure if a pedal powered snowplow actually would make snow removal fun, but I needed a title for this post so that’s what you get. Meet Kevin Blake, the guy in the video and the inventor of “Mr. Plow” (catchy right?) Machines like this generally come about when you mix alcohol, loads of downtime and a bong that shaped like a tuba. It’s not pretty, but it looks to be functional and may help those who shovel keep their backs intact while losing some weight at the same time. Made from a combination of box steel tubing, old lawn tractor tires and a few Walmart snow shovels, Mr. Blake sees his contraption as a way to safely plow your driveway while at the same time, reducing carbon emissions. Now while I don’t think that he’ll be winning any awards for curing the effects of global warming, it’s good to see that there are still some folks who can think outside the box, while still being kooked up inside of one. Click through for the vid.
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BMW Documentaries: The Future Ain’t What it Used to Be

The Future Just Isn't What It Used To Be.

Last week we brought you the first of four short films that BMW is releasing as part of a documentary series about The Future of Mobility. Part I talked about how the residents of our new mega cities (populations of 15 million or more) will have to adapt to smaller living quarters, vehicles and lifestyles that are somewhat scaled down from what most of us experience today. Some people believe this is a good thing and a way to be more efficient, which at the end of the day it probably is. What I want to know however, is where is the line drawn between ultra efficiency and quality of life?

Part II of the series takes us to a society, that according to old science fiction, was going to be filled with flying cars, teleportation and mobile jet packs. The truth of the matter is though that we human beings are still using the same methods of transportation that we used 80 years ago. Planes, trains and automobiles still operate essentially the same way they did all those years ago and while the technology has changed, our basic modes of movement are exactly the same. So what are your thoughts, how do you think we will be getting around in the future?


The Street Flyer Brings Hang Gliding To Pavement

Posted in Bizarre, Cool Stuff, Human Powered Vehicles, Videos by Kurt Ernst | February 5th, 2011 | Leave a Reply |

Image: Street Flyer

The Street Flyer looks like the most insanely dangerous, yet over-the-top fun vehicle I’ve ever seen. Still in the prototype stages, the Street Flyer was the brainchild of Dr. Carsten Mehring, who wanted to build a lightweight vehicle that allowed the operator to “run” from a suspended position. The net effect would be to re-create the sensation of hang gliding, without the associated risks or inconveniences (travel to a cliff, for example). The version you see here is a prototype built by students at the Colorado School of Mines; since propulsion comes from gravity or from running, it’s not yet practical for long distance travel. Read More…

M55 “Beast” Bike: A hybrid hammer for outdoorsy types!

Posted in Cool Stuff, Electric Vehicles, Human Powered Vehicles, Hybrid, Hybrid Technologies, Motorcycle by MrAngry | November 29th, 2010 | 1 Response |

M55 Beast Bike

I’m still not overly convinced that hybrid bicycles are the way to go. Around NYC we see them all the time, but they generally have some type of delivery person behind the bars. In that application I can totally see their usefulness, but as an exercise machine using a hybrid bike seems like a cop-out to me. Others, like the guys over at M55 Bikes however don’t seem to agree. You see they’ve just designed what may in fact be the ultimate in two-wheeled, people assisted mobility. Meet the M55 Beast, a bicycle with the looks of a professional downhill racer and infused technology even the Terminator would appreciate.
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M55 Beast May Be The Bugatti Veyron Of Electric Bicycles

Posted in Electric Vehicles, Human Powered Vehicles by Kurt Ernst | November 16th, 2010 | 1 Response |

The M55 Beast just looks evil. Photo: M55

Electric bicycles are nothing new, but the demand for sensible commuter transportation that doesn’t rely on gasoline has increased their popularity in recent years. Most range from around $1,000 to just under $4,000, depending upon quality, range and components. If you’ve priced high end mountain or road bicycles lately, you’ll realize that the cost for a decent electric bike is about the same as the cost for a good mountain or road bicycle. As with cars, speed costs money: the question is, how fast do you want to spend?

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2011 Tour de France Route Announced

Posted in Human Powered Vehicles, Newsworthy, Racing by Kurt Ernst | October 19th, 2010 | 1 Response |

It’s been a long time since I was a serious cyclist, but I’m still a sucker for the Tour de France. Maybe it’s schadenfreude, getting to watch some of the best athletes in the world push themselves to the breaking point from the comfort of my leather recliner. Maybe it’s the drama of racing, since top level cycling has all the strategy, planning and crashes of Formula One racing. Maybe it’s just sheer wonder at watching guys complete the equivalent of a marathon, day after day, for nearly a month.

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Red Bull Pulls The Plug On The World’s Highest Skydive

Posted in Bizarre, Death Wish, Human Powered Vehicles, Legal, Newsworthy by Kurt Ernst | October 16th, 2010 | 2 Responses |

Felix Baumgartner. Photo: Red Bull

On paper, it sounded like a simple enough concept. Felix Baumgartner, sponsored by Red Bull, would pilot a balloon called “stratos” to an altitude of 120,000 feet. One there, he’d step out of the basket and free fall to a reasonable altitude, breaking the speed of sound on the way down. The list of things that could go wrong was extensive, and none of them seemed like a particularly pleasant way to die. Brain hemorrhage, anyone? How about hypoxia?

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Think Human Beings Can’t Fly?

Posted in Cool Stuff, Human Powered Vehicles, Videos by Kurt Ernst | October 11th, 2010 | 1 Response |

Don’t tell that to Jeb Corliss, BASE jumper and wing-suit flyer extraordinaire. You know, the former host of “Stunt Junkies” on the Discovery Channel, who was fired after being arrested for attempting a BASE jump from the observation deck of the Empire State Building? I can see why the NYPD may not have a good sense of humor about that.

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