June 1-5 is Bike Week, and although a monowheel isn’t technically within the category of bikes, here at Make:, we thought this one was definitely cool enough to share some of the Bike Week love. If you can’t afford a motorized version, get inspired by this pedal-powered wooden model.
As seen on Danielle Nutter’s blog post from 2010, RIT has a festival called “Imagine RIT” where in that particular year, “32,000 spectators witnessed the ingenuity of the RIT community.” There were over 300 interactive exhibits there, but the monowheel contraption made by the “Engineering House” fits in well for our bike theme.
To be technically correct, if “bike” is short for “BIcycle,” then I suppose it doesn’t fit in a bike theme. It does, however, borrow much from a traditional two-wheeled, pedal-powered vehicle, including, most obviously, the pedals and the chain drive system. The rubber on the wheel is reminiscent of a mountain bike, but how they sourced or made it is a mystery to me. Maybe they found a vendor of parts for very old-style bikes with the huge front and tiny back wheel.
Also of note on this monowheel is the beautiful woodwork. Everything is nicely stained, which makes sense considering how much time certainly went into it. The recumbent-style seat arrangement is interesting as well, with a vertical support and two crosses to keep a rider from rolling off to the left or right.
If that design looks a little too intimidating, for something with two wheels that’s still exotic and pedal-powered, why not check out this DIY bamboo bicycle?