steve stollman light wheels

Five’ll Get You Ten or Eleven

This human/solar/electric-powered vehicle

was originally going to be five feet long, for personal use or as a pedicab with one passenger.

In the process of being designed and constructed

As it was forming, it became apparent that making the second compartment a foot longer, and a foot wider, could carry a wheelchair as well, or additional riders. Upon further reflection, it was realized that the same polycarbonate, now acting as a ramp, could also be designed to convert into a platform and carry a number of additional passengers. When not in use, all of this becomes the entry door to the second compartment. The roof carries a solar panel and the entire vehicle is designed to be enclosed in a weather-protecting, clear, shell. Now, fully deployed it is 11’ long, but only 3’ wide.

There are intended to be two versions of this vehicle. One, as currently pictured, is largely made of aluminum and polycarbonate, both fairly expensive materials. The second is intended to use the same basic design, but to be constructed primarily out of available materials, wood 2x4s, etc. Both are slated to use $125 “transport” wheelchairs, employed to carry patients from their rooms to the curb as structural anchors, and wheels and pedals up-cycled from discarded bicycles. The more expensive version is intended for use in urban spaces throughout the world, all plagued by excessive traffic and the social and dangerous environmental damage being caused by our present system. The less expensive model can be used in those places with limited resources but the same needs for clean, comfortable, convenient, and economical urban transport. The construction methods are relatively simple and accessible.

In order to conserve space, and thus maximize capacity, users will be provided with a device that helps them be comfortable in a somewhat standing position, supported in a number of different ways. While sitting can seem perfect, part of the reason for this is our natural proclivity to relax but also we do it to go along with prevailing norms. We are compelled, from the youngest age, to accommodate ourselves to seated positions, at church, school, and the dinner table. Certainly, there are times when this is ideal, but we are bipedal creatures, and while we don’t climb trees much, we walk and run and stand around talking like this is our most natural posture. If we can be erect, with some modest support offered to our glutei maximi, an enhanced perspective, and other advantages can chime in, along with the health benefits.

Pedaling while standing is offered as an alternative on some currently available conveyances. Not only is it possible, but all cyclists sometimes stand on their bikes when going up a hill, racing, etc. Without additional support, this can be strenuous and is only done in bursts when needed. In order to make the best use of this situation, a device is being engineered which will enable the rider to suspend themselves in a comfortable and easy-to-use, harness. This enables the rider’s weight to now be distributed over a number of different places, feet, crotch, butt, midsection, forearm, and armpits, as well as hands. This has to be good for our joints and muscles. and for many, more enjoyable too.

There can even be arm-powered cranks available to passengers as well as the driver, to help propel this machine. Some people like to use every opportunity to get a little workout and it could provide serious satisfaction to know you are helping to move yourself. In any case, everything here is optional. Since the vehicles can be used without the driver pedaling, or cranking, on electric power alone, the whole idea here is to provide options. This device can be open to the air, like a bike, or totally enclosed against harsh weather. It can be used by a single person as their ride, or converted into a cargo/utility vehicle or pedicab. Allowing for a multitude of postures, from recumbent to sitting to standing is probably much preferred but seldom provided. We are used to being given our shape and expected to assume it. In reality, we’d much rather be offered a choice and given the freedom to make our own decisions.

If you’d rather be pinned to the pavement at 120 mph on the autobahn in your Maserati I understand why this makes no sense to you. If you’re not excited about what is currently out there, who could maybe use a way to make a living as an entrepreneur, and a way to get around, this might click.

I hope something like this can work, because, if the only way that they can find to save cities from strangling themselves with traffic is to let those who can afford it, keep their stretch limos humming, while they price all the small players out, that changes the definition of what cities, especially one like New York, are all about. If it is just the owning class and the servants, rest assured that there will be no room whatsoever left, for the wonderers and the wonderful.


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Eleven 120″ x 42″ x 75″

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