Bipedal transport: A ponderous review

As you may know, I’ve been evaluating various methods of last-mile transportation. Today I decided to test out a form that is relatively unusual for me, bipedal transport.

There are some significant advantages to bipedal transport, especially when combined with car or public transit. The gear is extremely light and portable, and can be combined with most other forms of last-mile transport.

bipedal locomotio

The most obvious downside of bipedal transport is the extremely low speeds achieved compared to other forms of unpowered transport. While it is possible to temporarily achieve reasonable speeds, the effort required is considerable and usually unsustainable. However, I must say that in a certain light, this limitation can become interesting, or even pleasant.

Today I found that as I moved through the city, I noticed more sights and sounds than I normally do. I observed a flock of parrots and stopped to watch them as they played and fought with each other, flapping and biting and making themselves heard. Sometimes it’s the constraints of a form of transport that make it interesting. A skateboard has no brakes, a unicycle only one wheel, and bipedal transport has a glacial cruising speed. Yet this very limitation introduces the slowed commuter to a world of possibility.

Imagine how crawling through a city on your hands and knees would put you into contact with the pure physicality of the place, from the texture of the sidewalk cracks to the heat of steam vent grates. What crowling does for the physical sense, bipedal transport does for the visual and auditory senses. You’ll see street art you never noticed before, discover new little nooks and benches, and hear the constant soft patter patter of shoes on the ground. You may even find yourself face to face with another person traveling like you are, united almost in kinship, by the beautiful absurdity of your ponderous, glacial pace.

The final benefit of bipedal transport is the one I find most appealing, and most surprising. This form of transport is absolutely best in class when it comes to the ability to navigate a huge variety and difficulty of terrain. While you may move at a snail’s pace, you’ll get there no matter what’s in your way! With minimal equipment, you move easily across gravel surfaces, dirt trails, even rocky shores! The vertical dimension too will bow before you as you scale rock, snow, or concrete walls, provided enough holds exist or can be made. While other forms of transport, like the mountain bike, appeal to those looking to navigate extreme terrain, none can match bipedal transport.

So there you have it. If you haven’t yet tried bipedal transport for your last-mile commute, I recommend giving it a shot! While the speed constraints make it impractical to use on a regular basis, this form of locomotion can be a real treat when you have the time. Parrot photo for bipedal visibility:

image of parrots in trees