Sunday, June 9, 2013

Three for the road

So, the other day I was discussing with a pal a possible purchase that I might be making for a hobby/business over the summer. I was considering this vehicle for mobile snack vending:

My pal was aghast. Betraying a complete ignorance of how my association with anything automatically makes it geekier cooler, she thought that I might somehow look foolish on a trike. I was wounded to the quick, for I have long had a partiality toward three-wheeled vehicles.

Now I admit that adult tricycles don't always have a lot of pizzazz, conjuring as they do for some (including my pal) images of assisted-living homes or special-needs clients. And I will not argue that the standard recumbent touring trike has not done much to dispel this cachet, no matter how sporty they try to make them look.

But trikes have a long, badass history, having been used for work and deliveries for many years, particularly in the Netherlands. If you laughed at this Dutch triker, he'd kick your sorry butt by just flexing one massively-muscled leg.

Or imagine encountering this beautiful pregnant woman on a freakin' diamond plate cargo trike in Amsterdam -  this is the opposite of lame.

Even the techno-greens can get behind the trike with some cool modern designs:

Which brings us to the trikes with motors. From this retro bad boy that Eliot Ness could have ridden... the latest CanAm Spyder, which looks like something RoboCop would run you down with...

... motor-trikes have a coolness all their own. And that's not even including the ones that fly!

Even three-wheeled cars are cool, in their own way. Take the Isetta, the paradigmatic underpowered exotic car.

How could you not love a car made by a refrigerator manufacturer?

And then there's Buckminster Fuller's Dymaxion car, favored by Amelia Earhart and bringing the awesome since 1933:

Of course, it's not all hits. If the Dymaxion is the sublime, the ridiculous is the reliant Robin, a British car designed with three wheels only so owners could pay a lower fee. Full disclosure:  all the foregoing, while both true and timely, has just been an excuse to post what I consider one of the funniest videos I have ever seen. Top Gear, an auto show, test drives the Reliant Robin. Enjoy.

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