Maker Faire 2012: Favorite Weird and Wonderful Bikes

© Jaymi Heimbuch

There's a must-follow rule at Maker Faire Bay Area -- look out for the bikes. Cruising around the grounds showing off their creativity, functionality, and amazing features are loads of interesting bikes and bike-powered rides. This year was no exception. There were dozens of interesting ideas for how to turn a bike into something really special. It was hard, but I chose just a handful of favorites to show off, each of which has a green feature.

Solar Power

© Jaymi Heimbuch

A solar-powered bike of course will catch our eye. Rather than placing the solar panels above the bike as we've seen him do in years past, Michael Conn devised this solar bike trailer. It is three 230-watt panels, and it can gather enough charge to send him hauling along at 15 mph without pedaling.

© Jaymi Heimbuch

Wooden Wonder

© Jaymi Heimbuch

We love wooden bikes around here, it's no secret. So when I saw this wooden cab, I had to check it out -- as did anyone else nearby whenever the driver paused. The frame is made entirely of beautifully carved wood, and it shows that there's no reason a functioning device can't be a work of art at the same time.

Cupcakes Galore

© Jaymi Heimbuch

Of course the cupcake cars were here again in all their frosted glory. Okay, so they aren't exactly green, but they are a highlight of the event and can't go overlooked.

Look Ma, No Pedals

© Jaymi Heimbuch

There were also a few self-balancing scooter designs and while this doesn't fit squarely into the "bike" category, I think it's worth including. These seem to be getting more popular as designers are launching ideas everywhere from the Consumer Electronics Show to Kickstarter, and they offer an option for transportation that those interested in bikes might also enjoy. Of the designs I saw, this one stood out -- the RoamBoard.

It uses a 36 volt battery and a 450 watt DC motor to zip you around at 15 mph for as far as 12 miles. I watched the man pictured above test it out and he caught on to balancing and steering it quickly and within about 45 seconds was zooming around the grounds. I am guessing that as the RoamBoard is being shown off at Maker Faire, it is only a matter of getting it into the right hands to see this scooter charged up with renewable energy and getting farther on a single charge.

© Jaymi Heimbuch

Is this something you'd use, or would you be more likely to stick with a bike?

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Tags: Bikes | Maker Faire | Transportation