May is here, spring’s in full swing, and folks are in happy circulation. From my home office window, it’s a steady stream of people on leisurely walks, kids and adults on bikes, kids on skates n’ skateboards, and the old guy down the street who proudly rides his Segway to the 7-Eleven. With gas prices and the economy being what they are, growing concern over environmental impacts, and a greater public harangue over obesity and health issues, I’ve definitely seen an increase in neighborhood biking in the past few years. And for all these reasons — not to mention the tinker-building-hacks potential of these diverse conveyances — it’s a trend we welcome here at MAKE.

To celebrate spring, and all of the human-powered and other-powered vehicles, we decided to make May “Alt.Transportation” month. The “alt” part just means alternative to the internal-combustion automobile. And no offense to conventional cars, we just wanted to take a moment to explore some of the other ways of getting around, from the practical to the cutting edge to the decidedly over-the-edge. In the coming month, we’ll look at all manner of bikes, electric vehicles (EVs), scooters, watercraft, kit-planes, jet packs, dirigibles, you name it.

As always, we’d love to have your participation. What would you like to see us cover? Let us know in the comments below. Are you involved in anything related to alt.transportation that you want us to write about? Email me the info.

And in the meantime, grease up your bike chain, put air in your tires, and enjoy some two-wheel touring. It’s gorgeous out there!


Granny’s Nightmare Chopper bike from MAKE Volume 11

Gareth Branwyn

Gareth Branwyn

Gareth Branwyn is a freelance writer and the former Editorial Director of Maker Media. He is the author or editor of over a dozen books on technology, DIY, and geek culture. He is currently a contributor to Boing Boing, Wink Books, and Wink Fun. And he has a new best-of writing collection and “lazy person’s memoir,” called Borg Like Me.


    Don’t forget the Kinetic Sculpture Race:

  • jeff-o

    Don’t forget to blog about recumbent bikes (both two- and three-wheeled!) I ride a trike daily to work, straight through winter. It’s not a solution for everyone, but it replaced one of the cars in my household.

  • tigerzero

    I love the kinetic sculpture race! I was lucky enough to go watch it back when I was in HS. Art + Engineering = awesome!

    It’s kind of funny that May is Alt. Transportation month because I’ve just recently started designing a hydraulic-powered recumbent trike. I just moved much closer to my work (about 6 miles) and I really want to start riding a bike to work, but there are some wicked-crazy hills on route, and I’m not the most physically fit, atm. So I figure a little regenerative braking and some hydraulic-assisted hill-climbing power will be just the ticket!

    I also just finished making a lilypad turn-signal bike jacket for my brother and I really want to make one for myself that would wirelessly communicate with the trike. Sounds like a project!