Being the only animal in the modern world and even the fossil record to have a smooth bipedal gait that is perfect for long distance travel means that a great deal of our existence revolves around travel. However, the ever expanding nature of human civilization means that even our sturdy walking and running techniques have slowly become not enough for getting us around. In order to enjoy everything that Earth has to offer human life (from a better fruit that only grows hundreds of miles away to an area that has developed more technology or an urban area), having a way to travel more efficiently is an absolute necessity. We have developed many ways to achieve this goal such as the domestication of horses to ships to steam engine trains to cars. However, human kind’s many advancements in the area have transportation have not been without strange pitfalls that turn out to be some of the weirdest ways to get around an area.
The Segway is a self balancing two wheeled transportation device that was supposed to be the way of future travel. It was unveiled in 2001 and first available to the public in 2002 These electronically powered personal transports were going to be the new version of the bicycle but with a major power boost. The Segway has the ability to travel at roughly 12 miles per hour (20km/h) Why pay for gas and pollute the atmosphere with a car? Why tire yourself out and be exposed to the elements with walking? The Segway was meant to be the environmentally friendly way to do serious travel within a certain mile radius. However, the expense of the device and the training necessary to drive it clashed with a lot of easier things. Also, concerns were raised about legislation and restriction on the devices as governments were not sure if it should be treated as a motor vehicle or an unpowered wheel based propelling device like a bike or roller skates—particularly if one should have to get a license to use one or if they should be used on the roads rather than the sidewalks. No universal agreement could be reached on the treatment of the Segway, and it fell into a state of neglect. The only place that it really had true success was in niche markets such as transportation for police departments and military bases.
Eric Staller is an American artist who first conceived a circular bike for multiple riders in 1991. His original invention was called the OCTOS. It seated eight riders who were generally clad in futuristic black and white uniforms, meant to be a moving work of art. However, it attracted so much attention and interest that he decided to make it into a product that could be bought by the general public since it truly was a fully functional bike even if it was a bit odd looking. Staller made his next model into a seven seater bike, and it grew into the popular Conference Bike of today with pedals for each rider and a single steering wheel to maneuver. While they seem like a weird way to get around, the bikes have become very popular as a way to carry around small tour groups. New York City has taken the invention to the next step by naming it the Party Bike and having a tour guide steer a group of six people around the night life of the city while the tourists enjoy the constant party spots and the perks involved with them.
Roughly fourteen years ago, a company in New Zealand decided to take cartoon idea of traveling in bubbles and try to make it a real experience. They came up with Zorb—which they describe as globe riding. It is basically two very large plastic spheres as one. A human sized clear, plastic sphere is encased in a larger one. Even though a very fit person could technically use this system of rolling in a giant ball over flat terrain as a way of everyday transportation, the most common use of these giant orbs is as a recreational way to travel down specially cleared hills. You can use these rolling fun houses alone or with a couple people in there with you (usually up to two others). The balls roll freely like any sphere down an incline while the person bounces and rolls along inside the inner orb in perfect safety. The inventors have even taken these bouncing transports a step further by creating unique experiences with the Zorb, such as the Zydro which tosses in a few liters of water into the inner orb with you to make it a fun, wet ride down the hill and the Zorbit which straps single riders into a special harness so that they somersault over and over down the hill.