While I know my life would be forever changed had I XploreAir's flying bicycle, the Paravelo, during my fuming battles with city gridlocks and local Department of Transportation personnel who were almost certainly collectively dropped on their heads as babies, when I look at it all I can think of is ET, Pee-wee Herman, and the Wicked Witch of the West. That guy pedaling through the sky flanked by a big ol' gymnasium fan and a cute little parachute just looks so ridiculous. I'm sure he'll get the last laugh, though, when everyone else is sitting unmoving in traffic for 2 hours and he's soaring right along at 4,000 feet, the first to arrive for general admission to the Salt 'n' Pepa featuring special guest Tone Loc show at the Riverside Casino. No slowdowns, no stoplights, no assholic other drivers who shouldn't even be trusted to operate a fork and knife, much less a moving vehicle, to get in his way.
Oh, but on the ominous flip side: once available to the public market, the Paravelo will not require a license to fly. Which means the same types of drivers I would purchase one to avoid sharing the road with may be my new traveling companions in the sky.
Paravelos are slated to attain speeds of 15 mph on land an 25 mph in the air, with a flight time of up to 3 hours a pop. Takeoff is possible from any open space, and the bike will pack down for interior storage to help make it a viable method of commuting. The configuration also incorporates a built-in tent for "flamping", a word I'm pretty sure XploreAir made up, and which could very easily be interpreted as something derogatory or obscene or both, but really just means fly camping.
At the heart of Paravelo flight is its trailer-towed, high-powered, biofueled fan, as well as a flexible wing that unfurls just prior to liftoff. Note (the kind that is music to my ears): should you desire to ditch the bike and trailer, you can also wear the fan on your back and go for a "foot launch", which improves system performance and enables takeoff in higher and changing wind conditions. Typically, no license would be required to do this either. Now that's some shit.
Paravelo currently seeks Kickstarter funding for its project (through August 15, 2013), though XploreAir is not offering any flying models as a backer reward. If successful, monies raised will go towards further testing and refinement, and then a small production run. The highest level of support, around $7,800, will return a limited edition non-flying bicycle based closely on the Paravelo X1 prototype, as well as the opportunity to purchase one of the first five real Paravelos that are made.
When released, XploreAir anticipates that the purchase and running costs of a Paravelo will be comparable to those of a small family car.
Suggested via Dude Product Tips by Robert M.