Walking and biking are probably the two best ways to improve mental and physical health, while getting to know your city more intimately, as opposed to driving by in a car. In Japan, bicycling is a popular choice, and while they have some extremely eyebrow-raising versions of alternative transport, Japanese designers are now experimenting with combining the two in a personal transport vehicle they are calling the Walking Bicycle Club (WBC), which looks a bit like an elliptical cross-trainer with wheels, and is equipped with an electric motor assist for climbing up hills.
Created by architect and designer Shuwa Tei, and Kenya Hara of MUJI, the WBC is made for those who love walking, but would like to walk longer distances at a speed comparable to that of a bicycle (up to 15 miles per hour or 24 kilometres per hour). The power-assist electric motor will be able to go 20 kilometres (12 miles) on a single charge. Measuring at 1.2 metres (3.9 feet) long and weighing 36 kilograms (79 pounds), it seems a bit on the heavy side, but the concept of the WBC, which comes in four different trendy colours, is "part mobility, part fashion vehicle."
Best of all, the WBC will be classed as a bicycle (in Japan, at least) so that riders will not need any permits to operate it.
Though it is an intriguing concept, the WBC's price tag is not -- according to the maker, automotive parts manufacturer Katayama Kogyo, the WBC will retail in October 2014 for 200,000 yen ($2,900) -- which will probably make this vehicle more exclusive than your run-of-the-mill bicycle. For more info, check out the WBC site (in Japanese) and Spoon & Tamago.