You may have heard of the amphibious car, made popular in the 1960s with the Amphicar Model 770. But there’s also a bike that floats on water too. The concept isn’t new and probably makes sense given the poor state of roads in the early 20th century.
Being able to traverse both land and water makes travel a lot easier and convenient. While it is a practical idea, it isn’t a pretty one. We’ll let you be the judge.
What Are Amphibious Bicycles?
The Cyclomer is the earliest known example of an amphibious bike that hit the world by storm in 1932. The design, however, was nothing short of silly-looking. It had big, bulbous tires that were hollow for buoyancy. It included additional floatation devices on the handlebars and back.
You’d think that it would work since it wouldn’t add a lot of extra weight since it had hollow parts. Unfortunately, it didn’t either on water or land. But that didn’t stop others from picking up the thread.
Later examples included the Saidullah’s Bicycle and SBK Engineering Shuttle-Bike which did succeed. Modern designers improved the original concept with additional features that overcame the traction problem with the Cyclomer and added a convenience factor.
Modern Day Usage
But the amphibious bike remains a somewhat obscure novelty despite the renewed interest in its development. Now, it’s the stuff of college engineering projects and trivia.
Ebrahim Hemmatnia made the longest trek with one on his transatlantic voyage of 1473.27 miles. He took to the chilly Atlantic Ocean from November 22. 2014 to January 29, 2015.
One promising example exists with a bike created by Chinese designers, Jian Wang and Bin Yu. It takes the original principles of the Cyclomer for a sleeker ride that actually looks slick, in a weird kind of way.
How to Make Your Own Amphibious Bicycle?
If the idea intrigues you, you can construct your own DIY amphibious bike with a bit of ingenuity and luck. Li Jin took up the challenge with a model created using eight 5-gallon water bottles. He attached them to a frame that could lift them up for riding on land.
Another design features on Instructables used 32 1-gallon milk jugs instead. The innovator relied on some fluid mechanics to create a bike that would float his 175-pound weight for those who want to nerd out on the physics part.
But if you want to take the plunge, YouTube user, thegoevi, provides a two-part instruction guide that will walk you through the process. Oh, and did we say it costs only $50? It’s not the most attractive, but it’ll certainly get the job done if you feel like tinkering around with it.
The Idea of an amphibious cycle is a compelling one, hence, the keen interest. If you’d rather skip the DIY-part, there are some manufacturers who produce them. They include:
You can have the best of both worlds with a ride that will literally take you anywhere you want to go. Don’t forget to pack the suntan lotion!