"Big wheel , keep on turning... Proud Mary, keep on burnin'..."
Sure, I remember that 70's Tina Turner ditty, watching those re-run classics and having Tina's or (Anna Mae Bullock's ) rhythm and blues ringing in my ears.
Fast forward to the 21st century:
It's called the Monovelo : the first available human-powered monowheel, making its grand entrance during its exhibition stunts at the recently-concluded 2008 Beijing Olympics. With its maximum speed of 20 kilometers per hour --- so that's some 12.5 miles per hour , you're up from some cool-and-suave cruise... if you're trying to save on gas , if you don't mind getting a suntan as you pedal your way to work, and if it makes you happy and ecstatic sniffing all the smog of the metropolis and having it land on your face as your improvised face powder.
With a net weight of 38 kilograms and a gross weight of 52 kilograms , made of ABS plastic wheel, rubber tires and steel frame, some cynics are doing the smirking bit that it's not gonna work, and would be gone in no time.
Check out www.popsi.com's report:
Can't let go of the Olympics? While it's unlikely you'll be able to purchase 2008 Chinese drummers to play at your next barbecue, apparently the big human-powered wheel from the closing ceremonies can be yours for the bargain price of $1690.
The Monovelo claims to be the first commercially available human-powered monowheel. Built from ASB plastic combined with a steel frame and a rubber tire, the contraption measures just under seven feet in diameter and weighs in at 84 pounds. The device claims a maximum payload of 220 pounds, so lay off the burgers.
Monovelo claims it could be a great advertising tool and is even street legal in most countries. With a top speed of 12.5 miles per hour, that's a lot of good exposure time.
Yep, good point: it could be perfect for advertising strategies ... Coca-cola and Pepsi can attract attention with these eye-catching thingies in big concert events, campus productions, and even political rallies (!) Sure, for cryin' out loud. 2010 is just around the corner, and Philippine political circus would be more colorful with this Monovelo bonanza troopers pedalling away for some eye-popping scenarios.
Just imagine the 2010 presidentiables --- Manny Villar, Mar Roxas, and Ping Lacson biking away in these circus-y, flambouyant unicycles as they parade for their bid for the Presidency.
However, don't get caught with these along the skyways and metro routes in the Philippines: lest you want the thrill of getting it smashed to pieces, with your own limbs.