• SomeoneElse (unregistered)

    Why? Just ... Why?

  • themagni (cs)

    Typical Software "Enginerror":

    After testing it on volunteers, he estimates only about six out of 10 people are able to master it.

    Yeah, the problem is the users. Better add more RAM!

    Wait...

    Wait just one second...

    When I biked to school, I got an old bike and put solid rubber tires on it. It was unstealable because it was too damn heavy for a casual rider to use. (Each wheel weighing about 1.5 kilos.) Nice workout, not such a nice ride.

    By the same token, this bike is unstealable! Imagine a meth-head trying to take this one back to his den. I'd LOVE to see that.

  • Benanov (cs)

    He says he likes it best when he's "drifting" as he calls it, where both wheels are parallel.

    Except for tilting (well, unicycles exist, so it can be dealt with), why didn't he design a bicycle that did that, if that's the most fun?

    And yes, I AM in fact improving on a WTF design. :)

  • doc0tis (unregistered)

    My friend has a fixed-single-speed bike with clip-in pedals. The fact that it's fixed means the back wheel moves only when the pedals are moving, so you cannot coast. Between the fixed backwheel and the fact there are no real pedals, he doesn't need to lock up the bike, no one can ride it.

    --doc0tis

  • Matt (unregistered)

    WTF are you supposed to do if you need to sneeze? You can't let go of one of the handlebars, because otherwise the wheel would turn then KERSPLAT, head first into the concrete.

    And, what happens in a crash? You can't really get thrown from the bike because you are under the frame, so you will be thrown straight into/under the wheel.

    CAPTCHA: onomatopoeia. Bah, good job im not blind, otherwise I would have been in quite a pickle :P

  • AssimilatedByBorg (cs)

    Wow. Now that's a solution in desperate search of a problem.

  • iAmNotACantalope (cs)

    I've also redesigned the bicycle. I cloned a normal bicycle, welded the two together a few feet apart. I replaced the petals with an engine, filled out the frame, added a floor and some windows, put in some leather seats and in in-quadcycle DVD player and GPS.

    To quote Meijer, "What now, Jerks?"

  • akatherder (cs)

    Problem: My bike isn't a piece of sh*t. Solution: The sideways bike!

    There's no mention of how this bike helps with cold hands either.

  • bstorer (cs) in reply to akatherder
    akatherder:
    Problem: My bike isn't a piece of sh*t. Solution: The sideways bike!

    There's no mention of how this bike helps with cold hands either.

    You beat me to it. How will this bike keep my hands warm?

  • KattMan (cs) in reply to akatherder

    Look ma! No hands! CRASH!* Look ma! No teeth!

    Yeah you can ride without hands, think about any bike or even a unicycle, but if you were to crash on this thing there would be no way to protect yourself, you are immediately entangled in the bike and if you do put your hands out "in front of you" you realize that they are not ahead of you in relation to motion. They hit the ground and you continue past them, still hitting face first into the pavement.

    *this is an onomatopoeia

  • themagni (cs) in reply to akatherder
    akatherder:
    There's no mention of how this bike helps with cold hands either.

    FTW.

  • aikii (cs)

    Reminds me WTFed solutions to rollerskate brakes. Rollerblade's ABT is not even the worst. ... when it comes to sports beginners with too much money are just going to buy anything, while long-time users just don't care too much about their material. Oh, don't you see a pattern here ?

  • Shinobu (unregistered)

    Actually, the idea of a turning rear-wheel is not that bad; I would much appreciate it, provided that there would be an easier way to use that functionality without a second handlebar (a handbreak like handle + some electronics?). But combine this whith a general bike design that will kill you? Unless this can be fixed so that I can be sitting (or lying down) facing forwards, and it's easy to "disconnect" from the bike in case of accidents et cetera, I'll stick with my current bike, if you don't mind.

  • Simozene (unregistered)

    I want one just to see the dumbfounded expression on people's faces as I ride by on it.

  • vt_mruhlin (cs)

    I'm a WTF n00b, so I wasn't around for the original glove discussion... But I did ride a snowmobile for the first time the other day and was surprised to see that had heated handlebars. Those things go hot too.

  • I want one! (unregistered)

    OMFGWTFBBQWAFFLES?11!?!!!ONEONE!!ELEVEN!!

  • Matt (unregistered) in reply to KattMan

    Um...I said that already :P

    CAPTCHA: WTF is "vern"?!?!

  • James (unregistered)

    I think this is awesome -- I wouldn't shell out the money for it, but I'd give it a try if a friend had one or if it was available for a cheap rental (hopefully on a padded floor).

    Calling this a WTF is like saying the unicycle is a WTF because we already have a perfectly good bicycle, which is more "user-friendly" because the 2 wheels make it easier to ride. Or that a bicycle is a WTF because the tri-cycle won't tip over, even if you have no sense of balance. The point isn't to be more user-friendly or safer, it's to be more fun.

    Maybe he could rig a pulley system through the frame so that turning the front wheel turns the back wheel the same amount in the opposite direction? And, uh, get some guards in place around that chain -- looks kind of dangerous ;-)

  • Johnie (unregistered)

    I've seen a bike like this in Central Park a couple of years ago. It definitely turned some heads.

  • KattMan (cs) in reply to Shinobu
    Shinobu:
    Actually, the idea of a turning rear-wheel is not that bad; I would much appreciate it, provided that there would be an easier way to use that functionality without a second handlebar (a handbreak like handle + some electronics?). But combine this whith a general bike design that will kill you? Unless this can be fixed so that I can be sitting (or lying down) facing forwards, and it's easy to "disconnect" from the bike in case of accidents et cetera, I'll stick with my current bike, if you don't mind.

    In truth I think a turning rear wheel is easy. Just put it on a swivel bar just like the front tire. You would have to work something out for the drive chain so it wouldn't get disconnected. It basically works along the same lines as your own balance. Once moving, the rear tire would fall in line and when you leaned it would take the natural curve no matter how far or fast you leaned into the turn.

    A normal bike kind of does this already, how often do you have to think about how far to turn the handlebars as you lean in, or try riding with no hands and just lean into a turn, the handlebars turn naturally.

    I'm sure some physics major could explain why this happens so well, but I'm not one.

  • ML (unregistered)
    Comment held for moderation.
  • Cyclist (unregistered) in reply to doc0tis
    doc0tis:
    My friend has a fixed-single-speed bike with clip-in pedals. [...] Between the fixed backwheel and the fact there are no real pedals, he doesn't need to lock up the bike, no one can ride it.

    --doc0tis

    I'd say your friend has a false sense of security and it's only a matter of time before it bites him. Fixed gears are becoming fairly ubiquitous in most cities and in fact are often more sought after by theives because of the booming market for them. If he applied the same reasoning to securing a computer system, it would most certainly end up as a candidate for ridicule on this site.

  • Karl von L. (unregistered)

    "The seat is shaped like an upside-down crescent."

    Um, what's the normal orientation of a "crescent"? IOW, upside-down in relation to what?

  • chreekat (unregistered) in reply to James
    James:
    I think this is awesome -- I wouldn't shell out the money for it, but I'd give it a try if a friend had one or if it was available for a cheap rental (hopefully on a padded floor).

    Calling this a WTF is like saying the unicycle is a WTF because we already have a perfectly good bicycle, which is more "user-friendly" because the 2 wheels make it easier to ride. Or that a bicycle is a WTF because the tri-cycle won't tip over, even if you have no sense of balance. The point isn't to be more user-friendly or safer, it's to be more fun.

    I totally agree. I rode my bike a ton in college, and I have occasionally sat sideways on it (e.g. left heel on left pedal, right foot dangling, right hand on right handle, left hand next to butt on seat). I only did it while riding in a straight line though, usually when in "final approach" to a parking spot. I'd hate to fall backwards.

  • Griff (cs) in reply to James
    James:
    Calling this a WTF is like saying the unicycle is a WTF because we already have a perfectly good bicycle...

    It's a WTF because it's a deathtrap to anyone who tries it for the first time. A very comical deathtrap.

  • jayson knight (unregistered)

    The real WTF is that there is a lock on it. Like anyone would want to steal that piece of junk.

  • ChunkLabel (unregistered)
    Comment held for moderation.
  • gamedev (unregistered) in reply to SomeoneElse
    SomeoneElse:
    Why? Just ... Why?

    Why not? Shouldn't just enjoying something be enough reason to do it? Practical? Probably not. Safe? not likely. Something new and different that can make you feel like a giggling child while riding it? Sign me up!

  • AbbydonKrafts (cs)

    I want to see him perform basic tricks, like jumping a ramp. That would be funny to see.

    I'd imagine the rider would get a cramp in their neck after riding that for too long. The article compares it to a snowboard, but a body twists for that. The bike keeps the rider locked in a forward position, so they have to hold their head sideways the whole time.

  • IQpierce (cs)

    "It's a front-to-back balance not a left-to-right like a normal bike. That affords you tremendous grace and motion. It's dance-like."

    Dance-like. Right. Until you stop, and you fall into the pavement face-first. Then again, that IS similar to the way that most software engineers I know dance, so I suppose it's accurate.

  • Richard Murnane (unregistered)

    In fairness to the inventor (with whom I worked back in the 1980's), I think this was mainly an exercise in thinking outside the box.

    His website (www.sidewaysbike.com) shows another interesting design - more like a skateboard or scooter - where the front and back wheels are individually steerable (so, for example, the bike can "crab"). The rider faces forward in that design.

  • Rank Amateur (cs)

    A little bit of whimsy is plenty entertaining, but, if I'm seeing things correctly, he has negative trail on the rear wheel. In motion the rear will be constantly trying to snap to full lock due to a "caster effect." I'm surprised it's controllable at all.

    A simple redesign of the frame would have prevented this, but apparently the inventor failed to learn basic bicycle dynamics before developing and marketing this "alternative."

    --RA

  • triso (cs) in reply to KattMan
    KattMan:
    ...A normal bike kind of does this already, how often do you have to think about how far to turn the handlebars as you lean in, or try riding with no hands and just lean into a turn, the handlebars turn naturally....
    Until the handlebars turn unnaturally and you are picking gravel out of your hands and face.
  • zip (cs) in reply to Cyclist
    Cyclist:
    doc0tis:
    My friend has a fixed-single-speed bike with clip-in pedals. [...] Between the fixed backwheel and the fact there are no real pedals, he doesn't need to lock up the bike, no one can ride it.

    --doc0tis

    I'd say your friend has a false sense of security and it's only a matter of time before it bites him. Fixed gears are becoming fairly ubiquitous in most cities and in fact are often more sought after by theives because of the booming market for them. If he applied the same reasoning to securing a computer system, it would most certainly end up as a candidate for ridicule on this site.

    You just described the standard bike messenger set up in Boston, NYC and most other major cities as well. It's not exactly rare.

    On the other hand, if I take a lazy approach to securing my bike, who gets burned? Only me. If I take a lazy approach to securing my code, that can burn everyone. Apples and oranges.

  • fly2 (cs)

    as others have noted, this is not a WTF at all. At least no more than the unicycle, skateboard, ski etc.

  • Rask (unregistered)

    It looks like it would be fun to ride, but I'd hate to fall on my back!

  • JarFil (unregistered) in reply to James
    James:
    Calling this a WTF is like saying the unicycle is a WTF because we already have a perfectly good bicycle, which is more "user-friendly" because the 2 wheels make it easier to ride. Or that a bicycle is a WTF because the *tri*-cycle won't tip over, even if you have no sense of balance. The point isn't to be more user-friendly or safer, it's to be more fun.

    Actually, the point is having a better ROI. Uni-cycles are surely less user-friendly, while tri-ciycles are more stable but about as terrain-friendly as a quad-cycle (call it a car). So, a bi-cycle seems like quite a good compromise between "barefoot" and "car".

    The main reason I see this as a WTF is the sideways riding. We have two eyes pointing in the same direction precisely to achieve a better path recognition. Maybe if you were a zebra, with eyes on the sides of your head, sideways riding would sound like a great idea :D

    CAPTCHA: Smile. LOL is more like it (LOL)

  • dolo54 (unregistered) in reply to doc0tis
    doc0tis:
    My friend has a fixed-single-speed bike with clip-in pedals. The fact that it's fixed means the back wheel moves only when the pedals are moving, so you cannot coast. Between the fixed backwheel and the fact there are no real pedals, he doesn't need to lock up the bike, no one can ride it.

    --doc0tis

    no one can ride it? I can ride it. Half the bike messengers in nyc ride fixes. They aren't hard to ride at all, you just need more time to stop. I actually loved riding a fix when I had one. fast fast fast.

  • dolo54 (unregistered) in reply to AssimilatedByBorg
    AssimilatedByBorg:
    Wow. Now *that's* a solution in desperate search of a problem.
    haha yes indeed!
  • fly2 (cs) in reply to dolo54
    dolo54:
    I actually loved riding a fix when I had one. fast fast fast.

    I know some people like rided fixed gear. But a fixed gear isn't faster than a (same quality) 'normal', or is it? I mean, the only thing that would make it faster is about 1kg or so less weight and a neglible amount less friction. Never rode a fixed gear myself though.

  • Jud (cs)

    It's actually a little less painful than dealing with the airlines

  • Zygo (unregistered) in reply to Rank Amateur
    Rank Amateur:
    A little bit of whimsy is plenty entertaining, but, if I'm seeing things correctly, he has negative trail on the rear wheel. In motion the rear will be constantly trying to snap to full lock due to a "caster effect." I'm surprised it's controllable at all.

    A simple redesign of the frame would have prevented this, but apparently the inventor failed to learn basic bicycle dynamics before developing and marketing this "alternative."

    --RA

    From the article: "A modified version, which has two sets of handlebars, smaller wheels and upon which the cyclist faces forward"

    Ummm, so in order to sell non-trivial numbers of these things, the first thing to do is apparently to make them more like slightly modified conventional bicycles.

    My favorite bike design of all time is a treadmill base connected to two wheels, handlebars, and brakes. The treadmill belt and rollers simply touch the wheels, so when the belt moves it pushes the wheels exactly the same distance. There is no mechanical advantage, zero cargo carrying capacity, no coasting capability, and the machine is heavy, bulky, and difficult to handle, so the treadmill bike offers absolutely no advantage over walking. The inventor designed it for people who drive their SUV's a few miles each day so they can go to the gym to use treadmill machines that give them about the same amount of exercise as they would have had if they'd simply walked to the gym, touched the outside of the building, and walked home.

  • mnature (unregistered) in reply to Matt
    Matt:
    Um...I said that already :P

    CAPTCHA: WTF is "vern"?!?!

    Vern is Earnest's friend . . .

  • CaptchaFillrOutr (unregistered)

    So what exactly does a rear view mirror do on a bicycle like this? :)

  • Daniel (unregistered) in reply to James

    But as a unicyclist, my completely unbiased opinion is that a unicycle is more effective in all of the aspects that this sideways bike is trying to improve upon. It allows you to be more agile than a normal bike, both of your hands are free (even though you tend to need one arm free to balance yourself unless you're really good), and it's very easy to bail if you need to do so (most falls leave you standing).

  • a/c (unregistered)
    Comment held for moderation.
  • roflkartoffl (unregistered) in reply to a/c
    Comment held for moderation.
  • joe.edwards (cs) in reply to roflkartoffl
    roflkartoffl:
    a/c:
    I think the "Sideways Scooter" (YouTube video in action) he invented might have a better chance of catching on. Seems like there's decent potential for all sorts of tricks you couldn't pull off on a skateboard.

    dude....the scooter is a frickin' skateboard with handles....and a very instable at that.

    When he says "you", he doesn't mean "you" the pro skater. He means "you" the computer nerd.

  • BillT (unregistered)

    Rube Goldberg, anyone?

  • Shinobu (unregistered) in reply to fly2

    Actually fixed gears are slower than either geared bikes or one-gear + backpedal-brake bikes. This is because they contain a one way gear, whereas a fixed geared bike doesn't. With a one way gear, if you pedal slower than the current speed, the bike continues, losing only a small amount of energy to friction in the rear wheel gearing. Without it, you are essentially a part of the drive train. If you don't put in energy constantly, energy is lost not only in the rear wheel gearing, but also in the pedal gearing and in your legs. For this reason one way gears are not limited to bicycles, since they lower energy consumption and increase top speeds.

Leave a comment on “The Complicator's Bicycle”

Log In or post as a guest

Replying to comment #:

« Return to Article