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13 Cool and Crazy Variations on the Bicycle

Bicycles are a great way to get around, but for some people, the standard design could use a little improvement. To celebrate the end of National Bike Month, here's a look at some of the coolest and craziest bicycle variations you might see on the road one day.

1. Taga

While there have been a number of devices that allow you to strap your baby in while you go on a bike ride, the Taga might be the first one that actually turns into a stroller so when you’re done pedaling, you can still push your little one around with you. For those who live to ride, you can even buy a rain cover so your little one stays dry no matter what the weather.

2. ElliptiGO

Do you love your elliptical, but get frustrated by the fact that all that movement doesn’t take you anywhere? Well then, the ElliptiGO may be just the thing you need to get moving for real. This bike has ditched the pedals and instead implemented a set of elliptical steps to make sure you get the full benefit of jogging on a bicycle.

3. Treadmill Bike

For those that prefer the treadmill over the elliptical, the Treadmill Bike lets you take your gym equipment out on the road, using your walking or running power to push the wheels and make you move. It might not be the most efficient  or coolest mode of transportation, but at least you’ll be shedding plenty of calories.

4. Couchbike

Surprisingly, this development in couch potato behavior was brought to you by the same people behind the Treadmill Bike. Personally, I prefer the Couchbike, if only for the undeniable style it bestows upon its riders.

5. Camper Bike

There are plenty of campers that come equipped with bike racks, but a true cyclist wouldn’t want to bother with the car in the first place. Enter the Camper Bike by artist Kevin Cyr. Finally, you can take your trailer with you wherever you happen to bike. You still might want to install a bike rack if you intend to do any mountain biking, though, as I doubt the camper can handle all those sharp turns and dips very well.

6. Renovatia

Jens Eichler’s Renovatia is one cycle that might just be too beautiful to ride. After all, if the riders on this wooden-cycle-built-for-two happen to fall, the beautiful finish might be worn off. Worse still, the bike itself could always break if the accident were severe enough, and with something this stunning, that would be a devastating loss.

7. Cartrider

There are plenty of bikes that have been welded and tweaked to incorporate shopping carts into them. Of course the problem with most of those bikes is that, because they aren’t shopping carts, you can’t actually take them into the store. Instead you have to use a cart in the market, then go outside and transfer your groceries into your bike/cart. Jaebeom Jeong’s Cartrider eliminates this problem by serving more as a cart than a bike. The problem? Well, aside from looking like a goon, once you put your groceries in the bike, you can’t ride it any more.

8. SeeSaw Bike

You’d better not be trying to go anywhere fast if you happen to take a ride on the SeeSaw Bike. That’s because, as the name implies and the picture shows, the bike really is a seesaw ride and only one person will be able to pedal the bike somewhere at a time…and when the seesaw tips over to your partner, they’ll likely undo any progress you’ve already made. Given that you share the one set of handlebars, the steering is an even bigger problem, so just try not to turn anywhere, okay?

9. Innesenti

Admittedly, this is one weird looking bike. In fact, it kind of resembles a backwards tricycle. But don’t let its looks fool you: this is one serious exercise device. It takes its design cues from Formula 1 and Indy Cars, providing it with both incredible speed and shock resistance for those bumpy roads ahead. Best of all, the individualized seat design for each customer ensures that it will also be one of the most comfortable bikes you’ve ever been on. As for the price tag, well, this cycle is strictly for the wealthy –even the cheapest version comes out to around $11,000.

10. Schlooooong Bike

You’ve heard of Schwinn, but for those that can’t get enough limousine, Rat Patrol Oz’s Schlooooong Bike is the ultimate name in stretched bikes. Sure, you probably won’t get far on this completely impractical masterpiece, but you’ll sure look classy when you fall down over and over again.

11. Skeleton Bike

If you’re a Halloween fanatic or a mad-scientist-in-training, you’re certain to love Eric Tryon’s delightful Skeleton Bike, complete with handlebars coming right out of the skull. Of course, if you’re a true mad scientist, then your first thought would be, “how could I get the skeleton to do the pedaling?” Good question, you crazy genius. By the way, you can make this bike your own for only $1,000.

12. Forkless Cruiser

Here’s a bike that’s certain to get the attention of those around you, if only because they think your bicycle is irreparably broken. That’s because Olli Erkkila’s Forkless Cruiser is missing one of the most visually notable pieces of the standard bicycle. Of course, because this bike was designed as an art piece, it’s doubtful that it is actually functional, since it appears the cycle lacks a way to turn the front wheel.

13. Conference Bike

Yes, the Conference Bike seems like a bad joke about what happens when a bicycle is designed by committee, but the bike, originally designed by artist Eric Staller, is actually a lot more functional than it seems. With one person steering and up to seven people pedaling, the bike can actually travel at a pretty decent speed, which is why Google now uses the device to give tours of its campus to new workers. It’s also being used as a safe and fun way to allow the blind to bicycle around town, as it requires only one person with good vision to navigate the cycle. Of course, as its name implies, its most popular function so far has been as a team-building exercise. Still, this monstrosity really is a lot more useful than it might seem at first glance.
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Know of any other fun, goofy or cool bike mods? Tell us about them!

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iStock
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The Simple Optical Illusion That Makes an Image Look Like It's Drawing Itself
iStock
iStock

Artist James Nolan Gandy invents robot arms that sketch intricate mathematical shapes with pen and paper. When viewed in real time, the effect is impressive. But it becomes even more so when the videos are sped up in a timelapse. If you look closely in the video below, the illustration appears to materialize faster than the robot can put the design to paper. Gizmodo recently explained how the illusion works to make it look like parts of the sketch are forming before the machine has time to draw them.

The optical illusion isn’t an example of tricky image editing: It’s the result of something called the wagon wheel effect. You can observe this in a car wheel accelerating down the highway or in propeller blades lifting up a helicopter. If an object makes enough rotations per second, it can appear to slow down, move backwards, or even stand still.

This is especially apparent on film. Every “moving image” we see on a screen is an illusion caused by the brain filling in the gaps between a sequence of still images. In the case of the timelapse video below, the camera captured the right amount of images, in the right order, to depict the pen as moving more slowly than it did in real life. But unlike the pen, the drawing formed throughout the video isn't subject to the wagon-wheel effect, so it still appears to move at full speed. This difference makes it look like the sketch is drawing itself, no pen required.

Gandy frequently shares behind-the-scenes videos of his mechanical art on his Instagram page. You can check out some of his non-timelapse clips like the one below to better understand how his machines work, then visit his website to browse and purchase the art made by his 'bots.

And if you think his stuff is impressive, make sure to explore some of the incredible art robots have made in the past.

[h/t Gizmodo]

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Tessa Angus
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Surprising Sculptures Made From Fallen Feathers
Kate MccGwire, Orchis, 2012
Kate MccGwire, Orchis, 2012
Tessa Angus

Kate MccGwire is a British sculptor with an unusual medium: feathers. Her surreal, undulating works often take the form of installations—the feathers spilling out of a drain, a stove, a crypt wall—or stand-alone sculptures in which antique bell jars, cabinets, or trunks contain otherworldly shapes.

MccGwire developed her obsession with feathers after moving to a studio barge on the Thames in 2006, as she explains in a video from Crane.tv recently spotlighted by Boing Boing. The barge was near a large shed full of feral pigeons, whose feathers she would spot on her way to work. "I started picking them up and laying them out, collecting them," she remembers. "And after about two weeks I had like 300 feathers." At the time, concerns about bird flu were rife, which made the feathers seem "dangerous as well as beautiful."

When not supplied by her own next-door menagerie, the feathers for her artwork come from a network of racing pigeon societies all over the UK, who send her envelopes full every time the birds molt. Farmers and gamekeepers also send her fallen feathers from birds such as magpies, pheasants, and roosters.

The cultural associations around birds are a big part of what inspires MccGwire. “The dove is the symbol of peace, purity, and fertility," she told ArtNews in 2013, "but it’s exactly the same species as a pigeon—which everyone regards as being dirty, foul, a pest.”

The same duality is present in her own work, which she frequently shares on her Instagram account. “I want to seduce by what I do—but revolt in equal measure. It’s really important to me that you’ve got that rejection of things you think you know for sure.”

You can see some pictures of MccGwire's work, and watch the video from Crane.tv, below.

Kate MccGwire's installation "Evacuate"
Evacuate, 2010
J Wilde

Kate MccGwire's sculpture "Convolous"
Convolous, 2015
JP Bland

Kate MccGwire's installation "Gyre"
Gyre, 2012
Tessa Angus

Kate MccGwire's sculpture "Gag"
Gag, 2009
JP Bland

Kate MccGwire's sculpture "Writhe"
Writhe, 2010
Tessa Angus

Kate MccGwire's sculpture "Quell"
Quell, 2011
Tessa Angus

Kate MccGwire's sculpture "Taunt"
Taunt, 2012
Tessa Angus

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