Back in the fabulous fifties, people had a grandiose vision of the future. They dreamed of cars that
steered themselves, personal flying vehicles, crash-free highways, and the now clich
At first glance, the FreeBord, $250, looks
like an ordinary skateboard, but closer inspection proves this is
not your grandpappy's plank. Riding the FreeBord is like
snowboarding on land. It has two extra wheels in the center
mounted on casters. These wheels pivot (like on a shopping
cart), allowing the FreeBord to spin 360 degrees while
continuing to travel in a straight line. The four regular wheels
are not load bearing, but instead, act like the edges of a
snowboard, digging into the pavement to cut turns and slow you
You'll never want to walk anywhere again once you've piloted
the WheelMan, $1200 and up, which can handle sand, cement, and mountain trails with equal ease.
Powered by a small gas engine, it can travel as fast as 20 miles an hour and weave in and out of traffic like a New York City bike
messenger. Straddling the Wheelman in a ballerina-like plié may seem uncomfortable at first, but after you get the hang of it, steering
is remarkably intuitive. Control of the throttle is done through a control leash. Several models are available, from the quieter commuter
model, the Cruiseman, to the high-powered Bush Pig.
Real bikers ride recumbents. The laid-back position on these bikes affords better back support
and the efficiency of the drive mechanism allows for greater speed and range. The Go One, which is technically a trike, adds the innovation of an
aerodynamic shell to the traditional recumbent frame. It's perfect for commuters who want to stay
dry, or for hardcore bikers who want to avoid that windswept look when they arrive at their
destination. The Go One has an all-important windshield wiper, and it looks like you can remove
the upper part of the shell for sunny-day convertible cruising.
Looking for an eco-conscious passenger vehicle that can carry you and your groceries home from
the strip mall? The electric power-assisted Twike ) around 3,000 - 4,000 Swiss francs, seats two people, both of whom have the option of peddling to save battery juice.
Though street-legal, top speeds are only about 45 mph, so it's an around-town errand runner only,
not a full-fledged auto replacement. Range is about 40 miles on a charge. Once that runs out, it's
up to you and the ol' Fred Flintstones to get you home.