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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John MacDougall, Getty Images
Stolpersteine: One Artist's International Memorial to the Holocaust
John MacDougall, Getty Images
John MacDougall, Getty Images

The most startling memorial to victims of the Holocaust may also be the easiest to miss. Embedded in the sidewalks of more than 20 countries, more than 60,000 Stolpersteine—German for “stumbling stones”—mark the spots where victims last resided before they were forced to leave their homes. The modest, nearly 4-by-4-inch brass blocks, each the size of a single cobblestone, are planted outside the doorways of row houses, bakeries, and coffee houses. Each tells a simple yet chilling story: A person lived here. This is what happened to them.

Here lived Hugo Lippers
Born 1878
Arrested 11/9/1938 — Altstrelitzer prison
Deported 1942 Auschwitz
Murdered

The project is the brainchild of the German artist Gunter Demnig, who first had the idea in the early 1990s as he studied the Nazis' deportation of Sinti and Roma people. His first installations were guerrilla artwork: According to Reuters, Demnig laid his first 41 blocks in Berlin without official approval. The city, however, soon endorsed the idea and granted him permission to install more. Today, Berlin has more than 5000.

Demnig lays a Stolpersteine.
Artist Gunter Demnig lays a Stolpersteine outside a residence in Hamburg, Germany in 2012.
Patrick Lux, Getty Images

The Stolpersteine are unique in their individuality. Too often, the millions of Holocaust victims are spoken of as a nameless mass. And while the powerful memorials and museums in places such as Berlin and Washington, D.C. are an antidote to that, the Stolpersteine are special—they are decentralized, integrated into everyday life. You can walk down a sidewalk, look down, and suddenly find yourself standing where a person's life changed. History becomes unavoidably present.

That's because, unlike gravestones, the stumbling stones mark an important date between a person’s birth and death: the day that person was forced to abandon his or her home. As a result, not every stumbling stone is dedicated to a person who was murdered. Some plaques commemorate people who fled Europe and survived. Others honor people who were deported but managed to escape. The plaques aim to memorialize the moment a person’s life was irrevocably changed—no matter how it ended.

The ordinariness of the surrounding landscape—a buzzing cafe, a quaint bookstore, a tree-lined street—only heightens that effect. As David Crew writes for Not Even Past, “[Demnig] thought the stones would encourage ordinary citizens to realize that Nazi persecution and terror had begun on their very doorsteps."

A man in a shop holding a hammer making a Stolpersteine.
Artisan Michael Friedrichs-Friedlaender hammers inscriptions into the brass plaques at the Stolpersteine manufacturing studio in Berlin.
Sean Gallup, Getty Images

While Demnig installs every single Stolpersteine himself, he does not work alone. His project, which stretches from Germany to Brazil, relies on the research of hundreds of outside volunteers. Their efforts have not only helped Demnig create a striking memorial, but have also helped historians better document the lives of individuals who will never be forgotten.

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Evening Standard/Stringer, Getty Images
60 Years Later, a Lost Stanley Kubrick Script Has Been Found
Evening Standard/Stringer, Getty Images
Evening Standard/Stringer, Getty Images

A “lost” screenplay co-written by famed filmmaker Stanley Kubrick has been found after 60 years, Vulture reports.

The screenplay is an adaptation of Stefan Zweig’s novella Burning Secret, which Vulture describes as a reverse Lolita (plot summary for those who forgot high school English class: a man enters a relationship with a woman because of his obsession with her 12-year-old daughter). In Burning Secret, a man befriends an adolescent boy in order to seduce his mother. Zweig’s other works have inspired films like Wes Anderson's The Grand Budapest Hotel (which the director claims he "stole" from Zweig's novels Beware of Pity and The Post-Office Girl).

Kubrick’s screenplay adaptation is co-written by novelist Calder Willingham and dated October 24, 1956. Although the screenplay bears a stamp from MGM’s screenwriting department, Nathan Abrams—the Bangor University professor who discovered the script—thinks it’s likely the studio found it too risqué for mass audiences.

“The child acts as an unwitting go-between for his mother and her would-be lover, making for a disturbing story with sexuality and child abuse churning beneath its surface,” Abrams told The Guardian. It's worth noting, however, that Kubrick directed an adaptation of Vladimir Nabokov's Lolita in 1962, which MGM distributed, and it was also met with a fair share of controversy.

Abrams said the screenplay for Burning Secret is complete enough that it could be created by filmmakers today. He noted that the discovery is particularly exciting because it confirms speculations Kubrick scholars have had for decades.

“Kubrick aficionados knew he wanted to do it, [but] no one ever thought it was completed,” Abrams told The Guardian.

The Guardian reports that Abrams found the screenplay while researching his book Eyes Wide Shut: Stanley Kubrick and the Making of His Final Film. The screenplay is owned by the family of one of Kubrick’s colleagues.

[h/t Vulture]

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