Monday, April 20, 2009
While mucking about the industrial area last week, I met a genial fellow named Fulvio where he worked at a huge recycling operation. He had recently suffered a heart attack, and answered the doctor's demand for more fitness by outfitting a cheap bicycle with a two-stroke engine from Gasbike. If he overexerts himself while riding his bike, he can just fire up the engine and motor the rest of the way home.
Fulvio says the police are indifferent to his vehicle's engine, which probably doesn't fall under any particular regulation yet (in New York City, you don't need a license for a moped). If they look menacing, he throttles off the engine and starts pedaling.
The kit is about $130. It can be adapted to any bike except folding ones. The bike can go 120 miles or so on one tank of gas. Hardware included is pretty cheap, so Fulvio was replacing the zinc-plated bolts with stainless steel ones he'd ordered. Disc brakes are also a must on this vehicle that tops out at 40 mph.
How funny that a cheap Chinese-made kit can be slapped on whatever wheeled rubbish you have lying around (he picked up a bike on Craigslist worth less than the kit), and it'll go just as fast as the preposterous Puma from the benighted minds of GM and Segway. It'll be no less safe either, given that the Puma seems made out of an Olive Garden clamshell takeout. A gasbike won't be able to carry any less, really. And the gasbike kit probably costs less than 1/30 of the Puma.
The only conceivable use for the Puma is as a prop in the "Arrested Development" movie. Perfect for Gob's big-screen edition -- and not big enough for George senior to hide in.