# The UnibicleOctober 31, 2016 6:14 AM   Subscribe

Give this man a pullitzer! Oscar! Nobel! Grammy?

Anyway. An award of some kind.
posted by that's candlepin at 6:30 AM on October 31, 2016 [4 favorites]

Oh, it's good... I had to stop when he had to topologize in advance, I'll have to continue when coffee hour is over. Keyboards don't just grow on trees, y'know.
posted by joecacti at 6:41 AM on October 31, 2016 [3 favorites]

Concluding that it's not possible still makes it a successful experiment.
This documentation makes it a very successful experiment.
posted by farlukar at 6:53 AM on October 31, 2016 [9 favorites]

Best thing: [SPOILER] (it's his brothers bike) ((well, was))
posted by sammyo at 6:54 AM on October 31, 2016 [1 favorite]

So does the topology problem mean that it's impossible to have a unicycle with a freewheel?

I know that you wouldn't *want* one, because of control issues, but is it possible?
posted by leotrotsky at 7:00 AM on October 31, 2016

It would be possible. The "topology problem" was just that the freewheel was on the right side of the wheel initially, but he wanted it to be on the left side, so it was effectively backwards.

You'd either have to design a reverse freewheel, or just keep it on the right side.
posted by explosion at 7:08 AM on October 31, 2016

YMMV, but for me this was enhanced by my YouTube suggestions being all King Crimson awkward assemblies of musos videos.
posted by hawthorne at 7:12 AM on October 31, 2016

Oh man, that was wonderful. I was peeking in just for a minute to see what the thing I'd seen a couple references to was, and it sucked me in for the whole thirteen minutes or so. Love the understated delivery.
posted by cortex at 7:29 AM on October 31, 2016

Let's get rid of other magical devices like this "derailleur," which I . . . still don't understand. We'll just . . . give that back to Harry Potter.

QFT.
posted by The Bellman at 7:32 AM on October 31, 2016 [11 favorites]

That is... quite a thing.

Why does it remind me of so many software development projects I've worked on?
posted by Artw at 7:33 AM on October 31, 2016 [17 favorites]

Hero.
posted by carter at 7:37 AM on October 31, 2016

It's interesting that the answer to the question "How much of a bicycle do I really need to ride it in this stupid way?" Is (spoilers!) "almost all of it" really drives home how well-engineered bicycles are.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 7:39 AM on October 31, 2016 [18 favorites]

Yeah the 'let's get rid of all of the useless parts of the bike' followed by 'let's just add back the parts that are useful' winding up with him basically restoring the bike to its original form, plus shitty welding, is A+
posted by beerperson at 7:42 AM on October 31, 2016 [10 favorites]

forget the pedal. use a smaller wheel. a step bracket and push with the other foot. and stick a parachute in there somewhere..
posted by judson at 7:47 AM on October 31, 2016

winding up with him basically restoring the bike to its original form, plus shitty welding, is A+

backwards and upside down. totally brilliant.

full luxury idiocracy
posted by ennui.bz at 7:52 AM on October 31, 2016 [1 favorite]

Brilliant video, thanks for sharing!

So does the topology problem mean that it's impossible to have a unicycle with a freewheel?

They do exist, though they're not common. They need a brake (...unless you're insanely skilled and want to show off to other unicyclists), and IIRC tend to be on the large-wheeled unis (tyre diameter 30-40 inches) that people use for long-distance road unicycling. Definitely harder to ride than a normal unicycle, and all but impossible unless you're planning to ride downhill or with constant forward motion: you need forward momentum available to burn (by braking) in order to correct your balance.

/lapsed unicyclist
posted by metaBugs at 7:59 AM on October 31, 2016 [3 favorites]

It's interesting that the answer to the question "How much of a bicycle do I really need to ride it in this stupid way?" Is (spoilers!) "almost all of it" really drives home how well-engineered bicycles are.

Whenever a design student re-invents the bicycle they're always manifestly more dangerous and less functional. They really do look and work the way they do for a reason.

Recumbents & shaft drives are cool, tho.
posted by leotrotsky at 8:06 AM on October 31, 2016 [1 favorite]

Good puns.
Shimano a mano was my favorite.
posted by MtDewd at 8:13 AM on October 31, 2016 [9 favorites]

As an engineer and a bike mechanic this is relevant to my interests.
posted by spikeleemajortomdickandharryconnickjrmints at 8:31 AM on October 31, 2016

I feel like once he put the second wheel on it he was really really close to a solid design. Maybe if he were to add a pedal on the other side, maybe put the whole pedal system between the two wheels, add a chain to the system that went back to the back wheel. He might add a seat for comfort. Then voila! Successful duo-unibiclye!

(Maybe a new name for the whole thing, like, bicycle or something.)
posted by nushustu at 8:46 AM on October 31, 2016 [3 favorites]

As someone whose technical expertise with bikes tops out at getting-the-chain-back-on, this is totally not my thing. But it was totally hilarious.
posted by kozad at 8:52 AM on October 31, 2016

Give this man a pullitzer! Oscar! Nobel! Grammy?

How about a free trip to the hospital with a broken collarbone?
posted by Confess, Fletch at 8:59 AM on October 31, 2016

Give this man a bicycle
posted by beerperson at 9:03 AM on October 31, 2016 [5 favorites]

This is exactly what my aerospace engineer father in law grumps about when he hires young engineers who only know how to use CAD.
posted by bonehead at 9:04 AM on October 31, 2016 [2 favorites]

This is exactly what my aerospace engineer father in law grumps about when he hires young engineers who only know how to use CAD.

Hey now, his CAD simulations were pretty accurate.
posted by clawsoon at 9:54 AM on October 31, 2016

We'll I guess I know what I'll be looking up on youtube tonight instead of doing dishes.
posted by noneuclidean at 10:09 AM on October 31, 2016

This reminds me of some of the more hatstand ideas that people created on the way to making a 'proper' bicycle, like the treadle powered tricycle and the Plectocycle.

Look so painful to ride!
posted by asok at 10:09 AM on October 31, 2016

Still less crazy than that treadmill bicycle I've seen around town.
posted by ckape at 10:31 AM on October 31, 2016

Still less crazy than that treadmill bicycle I've seen around town.

Hey if you can think of a good way to get the great walking workout that a treadmill provides, while also being able to see the neighborhood and get around ... I'd like to hear it.
posted by entropone at 10:38 AM on October 31, 2016 [17 favorites]

This was difficult to watch, but I can see where a partner for this would be good. The guy with the engineer's disease, is not a kinesthetic learner, or an athlete. He needs to work with someone who is, to trial his creation. He needs to realize that ergonomics is important and balanced use of the human form will result in best physical toning, and most economic use of human energies. I see the bike best as a two armed, two footed thing, where all four appendages crank that gear on the wheel, and I also see a spring that collects energy to release in some sort of helper mode to make the bike more efficient. But the guy is funny, I hate watching him fall again and again.
posted by Oyéah at 10:46 AM on October 31, 2016

I like how the helmet escalates from a standard-issue bike helmet to what is that, a Lacrosse goalie's gear?
posted by chavenet at 10:58 AM on October 31, 2016

Also a hard hat at some point.
posted by spikeleemajortomdickandharryconnickjrmints at 11:15 AM on October 31, 2016

This is a difficult video for an unemployed person to watch, but this will definitely appear in the future's "wacky airplane ideas" video compilation about bikes, along with the tandem unicycle.
posted by rhizome at 11:17 AM on October 31, 2016 [1 favorite]

the main problem as I saw it was the balance issue. This transportation device requires a solid frame - preferably 3 wheels. In a triangle formation, you have a lot more potential for adding the required jump pad and cranks.

The image in my head is a bicycle / stair-stepper combination device.
posted by rebent at 11:49 AM on October 31, 2016

Remove all wheels, add spring, make unigostick.
posted by Artw at 11:51 AM on October 31, 2016 [1 favorite]

I am pretty sure the list of bike tricks at the beginning clearly establishes this is not precisely an exercise meant to advance state-of-the-art in bicycle engineering.
posted by wildblueyonder at 11:57 AM on October 31, 2016 [2 favorites]

The guy with the engineer's disease, is not a kinesthetic learner, or an athlete. He needs to work with someone who is, to trial his creation.

I agree, this an almost perfectly conceived piece. It's hard to see how he could have done it better. The video hits his meta-target perfectly.
posted by bonehead at 12:18 PM on October 31, 2016 [1 favorite]

posted by ssg at 12:30 PM on October 31, 2016

The image in my head is a bicycle / stair-stepper combination device.

You mean like this?
posted by backseatpilot at 12:33 PM on October 31, 2016

entropone: previously (11 years ago!!): http://www.metafilter.com/46936/Ever-feel-like-you-are-on-a-treadmill
posted by JMOZ at 1:34 PM on October 31, 2016 [1 favorite]

Whenever a design student re-invents the bicycle they're always manifestly more dangerous and less functional. They really do look and work the way they do for a reason.

Yes. There is some really incredible innovation going on in the world of bicycle design, but most of it is coming from people who build and test their ideas. So I guess this guy is sort-of on the right track! He's at least not doing the usual design-student-with-a-bright-idea thing...

"Look at this cool new bike I designed! It will completely revolutionize the future of transportation. It's ergonomic and aerodynamic and elegant and carries five bags of groceries and..."

That's neat. Where are the pedals?

"Umm... Probably around here."

How are you going to route the chain? And what's the steering mechanism?

"Well, I haven't added those details to the CAD model yet, but..."

/petpeeve
posted by sibilatorix at 1:57 PM on October 31, 2016

So I guess this guy is sort-of on the right track! He's at least not doing the usual design-student-with-a-bright-idea thing...

I get the impression that Tom7 is the opposite of the usual design-student-with-a-bright-idea; I think he'd rather fail in an entertaining way than fool himself with the appearance of success.
posted by Jpfed at 2:01 PM on October 31, 2016

Yeah, Tom7 famously just makes lots of silly stuff to keep himself entertained. He is 100% not trying to actually make a better bicycle.

You may also remember him from the videos about Learnfun and Playfun, the neural network he built to play NES games.
posted by DoctorFedora at 2:45 PM on October 31, 2016 [3 favorites]

Tom7 is not a design student. He doesn't have "engineer's disease" either---he's a stand-up guy.

But it's fair to say that he's an athlete.
posted by tss at 2:48 PM on October 31, 2016

I have studied the video evidence and I think the record will show that he is in fact a fall-down-repeatedly guy.
posted by cortex at 2:54 PM on October 31, 2016 [8 favorites]

/momentarily confused.
posted by Artw at 3:55 PM on October 31, 2016 [1 favorite]

It's interesting that the answer to the question "How much of a bicycle do I really need to ride it in this stupid way?" Is (spoilers!) "almost all of it" really drives home how well-engineered bicycles are.

Honestly, the functional economy of the safety bicycle is one of those things where when aliens come to save us from ourselves and we show them all the things we've invented, they'll be like "yeah yeah the rockets and computers are whatever but this thing is legitimately clever, good job y'all"
posted by invitapriore at 5:15 PM on October 31, 2016 [3 favorites]

I'm kind of concerned there are apparently people that think this is a legitimate stab at an improved bicycle.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 7:00 PM on October 31, 2016 [7 favorites]

Seems like a lot to go through for viral content.
posted by rhizome at 2:13 AM on November 1, 2016

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