Mike - 2017-01-31 06:34

Bicycle VS Electric unicycle

Assumptions

We are continuing our series of comparisons. We have already compared the unicycle to a car here. 
We need to assume that we will not compare any questions related to health-associated issues or burning calories. A bike is the only means that requires the use of muscle strength present here.
In this article, we will compare an electric unicycle to a bike.
What were these devices made to serve?
  • An electric unicycle was devised as a means of personal transport, intended for city use or the use within smaller towns where the distances to one's destinations are so long that there is no point in walking there and simultaneously so short that there is either no use driving a car or that it makes driving consume more time than necessary (e.g. on account of the necessity to drive out of one's garage, getting stuck in a traffic jam or looking for a parking spot).
  • A bicycle is a very old invention now, being practically forgotten of and pushed to the margin within the category of means of transport. However, it seems to have its revival in cities now, mainly on account of the well-developed infrastructure of cycling lanes. The existence of a bike excellently proves it that a lot of people are in search of an alternative method of getting around the city – at least other than a car or means of public transport. This vehicle was created as meant to serve individual needs to move around and so with the use of one's own muscles. An electric bike is its younger brother that – due to certain legal provisions – may only be powered by an electric motor and so within a limited range of speed. Thus, such a motor allows for riding with less muscle effort and energy put in, while it still has not eliminated the necessity of pedalling from the operational construction of electric bikes.

The info-graphic below greatly illustrates the comparison of these means of transport: 

Round 1: Bike

Let us not delude ourselves: bikes are pretty primitive vehicles, based on a construction devised 200 years ago, powered with the energy drawn from human muscles, just like vessels at seas used to be. Treating cycling as sports seems okay and reasonable, while making a means of city transport out of them does not seem to make much sense:

  • A cyclist occupies a lot of space and is not able to ride around pedestrians without any problems. We bet you have seen a cyclist manouvering their handlebars in an unnerved way among walking people pretty often, because they were unable to keep their balance at a low speed. You might have spotted some cyclists riding their bikes in dangerous ways along pavements, quite certainly not being able to effectively brake in case of danger as well.
  • Riding a bike in a crowd of people is practically impossible, it needs to be led.
  • Bikes need to be parked somewhere. One cannot enter shops or offices with them. Additionally, we all know how keeping a bike inside flats looks like. Even if you manage to find a parking spot for your bike, the thought of someone potentially stealing it from you – and that happens on a daily basis – may occupy your mind for a whole day long. Nowadays, breaking through safety locks does not pose any problem.
  • Bikes break. Two large wheels, a lot of movable things. How many times did it happen to you that your chain fell or your gears stopped working, with your breaks malfunctioning?
  • A bike needs to be maintained and serviced.  Lubricating one's chain and chainrings, changing brake blocks and many other actions need to be performed with it. Do you really like maintaining your bike during winters and regularly bring it to service points?
  • Riding a bike is uncomfortable. Most people do not even have properly adjusted bikes, their saddles or handlebars when it comes to their optimal physical requirements. How long can one ride a bike assuming an unnatural and hunched position?
  • Riding a bike is slow – most people ride it at the speed being lower than 18 km/h while only some of them move at 25 km/h and the best ones are able to ride at a faster speed – still, for some short time only.
  • One cannot ride a bike during rain or on snow-covered roads, while it is possible to be done with a unicycle. Everybody knows that while cycling during a rainy weather even a bike that has been equipped with mudguards can make us dirty a lot and during sunny days it is hard not to spot stains of grease on our trousers. Electric unicycles do not have any chainrings or chains and this is why they do not need any lubes. Moreover, you may ride them dressed in a suit even while it is raining, as their wheels are nearly totally covered and pedals protect your shoes even if you happened to drive into a puddle.
  • And now it is time for the most significant thing – while riding a bike, you do not only sweat, but also waste your energy that you may use to perform other activities. Each means of transport should primarily let you commute between point A and B in a comfy way and this also is what electric wheels were created for. We guess you do not complain that travelling by your car is too comfortable for you and not a sport activity at all while driving it?

Round 2: Electric unicycle

Why getting tired if it is possible to choose a vehicle that was created to serve private transport needs? Riding a unicycle eliminates all the problems that we come across while using our bikes.

An electric unicycle is a better choice for:

  • It makes us explore places where it is not possible to get by bike or car.
  • A unicycle rider occupies precisely the same space as a casual pedestrian does. The pedals of a unicycle are set in a way that makes their width similar to the one of a normal leg distance. The entire wheel, motor and batteries are accommodated within a space that is normally present between human feet.
  • It is easier to keep our balance while riding at a pedestrian-like speed or slower (e.g. in a crowd). Riding a bike in similar conditions is not possible at all while it is not a challenge for the holder of a rideable wheel at all!
  • It is not a problem to enter a shop with one's unicycle while saving some time on what we would have to devote to locking our bikes is also a plus. Unicycles may be carried everywhere, either inside backpack/bags or as led by their telescopic handles.
  • It does not need to be parked anywhere.
  • An electric unicycle is a clean device – one may ride it dressed in a suit, even under rainy weather conditions. Forget dirty trousers or stains of grease left there after a ride taken during rainfalls.
  • Nobody will ever steal it, mostly because it is not necessary to park it anywhere – you may always bring it with yourself. Advanced safety systems take care of informing users of when they have forgotten to take their unicycles or whenever someone removes them. It is possible to trace one's unicycle on a map, not to mention the marking of each device with a unique serial number which allows for locking it in a remote way to make its possession by an unauthorised person devoid of any value. Another thing is that one needs to know how to ride a unicycle to be able to steal it...
  • An electric unicycle may be kept at home. One does not need to descend to their garages or basements. It is also possible to stop being embarrassed over leaving one's unicycle in a shared hallway.
  • It is possible to ride it on snow. Winters do not pose any challenge for unicycles.
  • Its exploitation is free – one does not have to maintain it during winters, lubricate its chain or change any brakes.
  • It is practically trouble-free – forget of your chain falling or problems affecting your gears. The construction of a unicycle is extremely simple and only composed of a few parts. These do not include any components that might wear out as chainrings, a chain, mechanical brakes (it breaks with its motor) or strings.
  • Riding a unicycle is comfortable – the user assumes a natural, upright and lax posture. No rider needs to slouch or lean forward.
Moreover, an electric unicycle:
  • may be charged for free, e.g. at one's office or any other place offering electric sockets. It can also be charged inside a car! Chargers of electric vehicles or solar charging units are yet other alternatives. If we decide to charge it at home, the expense inflicted will not exceed EUR 0.20 per 100 kilometres!
  • is a so-called zero emission vehicle that emits no exhaust. It is environment-friendly and fully recyclable. You can keep on riding and simultaneously take care of our planet!

Verdict

Electric unicycles are groundbreaking in the category of personal means of transport. They are vehicles being actual successors of bikes.

Not much has changed in the bike market sector throughout centuries while even the most expensive and utterly comfortable models are simply heavy, large and very problematic to transport, remove or park anywhere. An electric unicycle may be kept at home while transferring it by car makes us in need of not much space inside our trunks, due to which they may be taken with us into any longer journey.

The dynamic development of electric unicycles is a response to an over 100-year-old-lasting period of stagnation in the bicycle market.

When it comes to city transport, bikes have no advantage over electric unicycles.

Switching from bikes to electric unicycles is as groundbreaking for humanity as switching to bikes from... horsebacks.

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