Monovelo - The Human Powered Monowheel

Posted: March 21, 2012
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Monowheels debuted in the late 19th century, but Monovelos claim to be the inaugural human-powered installation of the 21st. A nested unicycle of sorts, the Monovelo pedals and steers similar to a conventional bike, but instead of perching atop the wheel, riders chill inside of it, becoming one with prehistoric man's greatest contribution to society. Check out the photos of Chinese cyclists captivating the crowd in the LED-lit versions during the closing ceremony of the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

Monovelos' manufacturer claims learning to maneuver its single-track cycle takes "a few hours" which, depending on one's level of patience and ability to endure plus or minus 180 minutes of repeated lateral wipeouts, could unfold as either an excruciatingly long, or surprisingly short amount of time. Once mastered, the uni-spinner can reach peak speeds of about 12.4 mph. So experienced riders can feel confident about pissing off a potbellied pig, and being good to roll away intact, but may need to tread a little lighter in the presence of a warthog.

The Monovelo's mechanical construction consists of an ABS plastic outer wheel, steel inner wheel, and solid rubber tire (no inner tube). An outer frame houses the wheels that rotate, while an unmoving inner frame serves as a mount for the seat and pedal mechanism. Total weight is about 84 pounds, and diameter about 79 inches.

Two flavors of the Monovelo are available for purchase. The $1,790 price tag scoops up a basic vanilla version, while an extra $200 alights the wheel--and the night--with either red, white, or blue LED sprinkles.

Got love for the glow, but no so much the monowheel? Then take a gander at Monkey Lights, spectral LEDs that attach to standard two-tired transporters.

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