PodRide Is What Happens When You Mix a Car, a Bike, and Swedish Creativity

PodRide 1 photo
Photo: Screenshot from YouTube
People always complain about traffic, but don't do anything about it. They don't take the public transportation system - that's just too... pedestrian - and they don't ride a bike to work - that would be suicide, wouldn't it?
Instead, you'll sometimes hear them moan: "Oh, if only there were a vehicle with the bicycle's ability to squeeze through traffic and use the bike lanes that would still offer the comfort of a car." We've got bad news for these people: there is one.

Why bad and not good news, you ask? Well, because they obviously don't want anything like that in reality, it's just an excuse. The only thing that would make them happy would be to keep driving their cars, but for everyone else to stay at home. But sadly for them, they're not alone in this way of thinking, so the roads remain clogged as they are.

But the PodRide does exist and if you can get past its caricaturistic looks, it's actually a pretty useful little vehicle. Its creator's name is Mikael Kjellman and he lives in Sweden, a place where snow is commonplace for the better part of the year, so these people should appreciate the advantages a car has over a bike.

Here's a motivational bit for all those people flocking on the multi-lane highways around California: despite the cold weather, Mikael still wanted to find a better, cleaner way of getting from home to work. So he set about building the PodRide, which he describes as a "four-wheel, fully-covered bicycle car."

We'd say that's pretty spot-on. Seeing it rolling down the street with those tiny, thin wheels and canvas "body," it looks more like a runaway stroller than a vehicle driven by an adult. The headlights that appear to be dawn on the body don't help in the attempt of pulling it out of the cartoonish zone either.

But they are fully functional and consist of a cluster of four LEDs, complete with turning indicators. And that's just one of the multitude of practical features the PodRide comes with. First of all, it's got a waterproof shell, a windshield that can pop out for better ventilation during the summer and, at the other end of the thermometer scale, an electrical heating system for defrosting the windows.

The driver sits in a padded seat at about the same height as in a regular car and there's even room for some shopping bags in the back. Anything greater than that will have to go in the bicycle trailer that can be hitched to a towing bar.

This is all great, Mikael seems to have thought about everything, but how about power? What exactly is it that moves the PodRide? Well, when it's not the raw power of your legs, it's the 250-watt electric motor that can push the four-wheeled electric car-bike (it needs a better - shorter - name) for up to 60 kilometers (just under 40 miles) and up to a speed of 25 km/h (about 16 mph). And since it's geared like a bicycle, that means you can make the most of the power even when going uphill - in fact, that's probably where the electric assistance will come most handy.

Mikael is trying to raise $30,000 on Indiegogo, a sum he thinks would be enough to begin production of the major key parts. He's only got to $243 so far (that's less than 1 percent of his goal), but there's still time. And Mikael says that if he reaches $100,000, he'll sell DIY kits "like an IKEA furniture." Lego for grown-ups? Don't mind if I do.

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About the author: Vlad Mitrache
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"Boy meets car, boy loves car, boy gets journalism degree and starts job writing and editing at a car magazine" - 5/5. (Vlad Mitrache if he was a movie)
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