September 15, 2008 If you happened to catch the spectacular closing ceremony at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, this image may look familiar. The gents in Country and Western inspired jump-suits are riding the monovelo, a human powered monowheel that is now being marketed outside China and is billed as the only vehicle of its kind available in the world. Those wishing to climb aboard will need USD$1690 and presumably, some very good balance.
The design of the monovelo was inspired by the work of Herzog & de Meuron, the architects behind the Beijing National Stadium (AKA the Birdsnest) and it is being marketed primarily as an eye-catching mobile advertising platform.
It takes a couple of hours to master the device according to the manufacturers. Steering of the 2 meter (6.5ft) wide wheel is controlled by shifting your body weight and the top speed is listed 20 km/h (12.5 mph). Not something we expect to revolutionize urban transport, but you could well be the only one on your street to own one.
Price is USD$1690 plus shipping and handling. Details at the monovelo site.