Tallbikes, which are something of a Portland specialty, have been mostly beyond my understanding. While they enthrall spectators when we see them on the streets, they are difficult to mount (and dismount) and seem to add a layer of danger to urban cycling that is not appealing to the average commuter (who wishes for nothing more than to arrive alive and intact).
When I trailed behind a tallbike this morning, all I could think of was that its rider seemed, in the midst of raw winter temperatures, uniquely vulnerable.
Well, that was my viewpoint until I saw this Russian specialty featured on Gizmodo.
On a bike worthy of Dick Dastardly in the Wacky Races, a man rises above a trail of traffic and then falls below our vision, magically making his bright green bike go from tall bike to low rider in seconds. The mechanism to do the transformation is a flexible seat joint.
While this transforming bike doesn't change my mind about the vulnerability of tallbikes, it does let me see what the possible benefits could be. Many a day I find myself cursing the driver in front of me for the stink of noxious fumes coming from his or her tailpipe. This bike is a way to rise above it all.