By Mordechai Schmutter
Whenever people say there’s nothing new to invent, they’re just not looking hard enough. It turns out that every “downside” can be the mother of invention.
Take bikes, for example. They say that bikes are good for the environment, and they’re good exercise and all that, but the downside is that they take forever to get anywhere, at least 50% of all roads are uphill, and by the time you get to work, you’re all sweaty and staggering and your right pants leg is gone.
Luckily, someone is doing something about it. According to a UK Telegraph article, a 32-year-old man in Britain named Colin Furze has just created the world’s fastest bicycle. And all it took was an engine.
“An engine,” you ask? “How is that not a motorcycle?”
Well, for one, the bike still has pedals, for all the good they do. I’m guessing it’s like trying to pedal downhill, where your feet just go around and around and you don’t feel like you’re accomplishing anything, but they’re pretty much moving on their own at this point.
But for the other thing, this bike has a jet engine. I don’t think motorcycles, in general, have jet engines. Definitely not ones that shoot flames out the back. Colin had to extend the frame of the bike so the rider would not be sitting directly over the flames. This would just make the staggering worse.
But this is definitely a good invention if you’re conscious about the environment and your health, but only to an extent, as well as if you want to get to your destination really quickly and not covered in sweat, but instead covered in pieces of the wall of your destination.
He also didn’t actually fit the bike with a muffler, so it’s really loud—about as loud as a jet—which at least covers up the screaming.
And this isn’t even the first thing he invented. He also created:
• A jet-powered snowblower, which is not as cool as it sounds. The engine gets so hot it basically just melts the snow. It’s probably also good if you want to thaw a chicken.
• The world’s fastest mobility scooter, which travels at a brisk 5 miles per hour. (Just kidding. It goes 71.) This is a huge improvement over most other mobility scooters. You come up behind them in a supermarket and they’re blocking the aisles and moving slower than you can walk while pushing a shopping cart. Four miles per hour is not exactly “mobility.” Colin actually won a Guinness world record for this invention.
• The world’s longest motorcycle, which can hold 25 people, or drive, but not both. Also, it has a turn radius of six lanes. You might make fun, but it holds more people than your van. Though your van probably holds more in the way of luggage, unless all the bike passengers are willing to hold suitcases.
He doesn’t even look like a major inventor. He looks pretty much what you’d expect a 32-year-old British guy to look like, in that he’s thin, named Colin, and wears a tie all the time, even when testing his inventions. And he’s a plumber. Though I wouldn’t want him doing my plumbing.
“Hey, you know what this bathtub needs?”
“A jet engine!”
But now I know why plumbers have so much overhead.
He doesn’t actually make money off his inventions, though. He mainly does them to break records.
For instance, he also won the record for “fastest pram.” For those of us who don’t live in England, I should explain that a pram is like a stroller, except that you push it on the other side of the road. And yes, this stroller needs roads. It goes way too fast for the sidewalk. Arguably, you can’t even call it a stroller if you can’t stroll while using it.
You know that area underneath the stroller where there’s usually a basket in which you try to cram an entire week’s worth of groceries? Well, he removed the basket and replaced it with a jet engine. So there’s nowhere for him to put groceries, unless he wants them to catch fire.
Seriously, I don’t know who keeps giving him jet engines.
But thanks to the engine, the stroller now has ten horsepower. For reference purposes, a horse has one. (Two, if you feed it sugar cubes. Eleven if you strap it to a jet engine.)
But at its heart, this is a great idea, unless you count safety. You know how sometimes you need to take your baby for a walk, maybe to get him some fresh air so that he won’t fall asleep until later, but it can be a real pain because walking just takes too long? Well, with this roaring down the block, no one’s going to fall asleep.
The biggest concern with a jet-powered stroller, though, is the parents. Because if they can’t keep up, they’re going to be bouncing along behind, hanging on for dear life. So he built a platform for them to stand on.
And apparently, Guinness encourages fast strolling, because they gave him the record. But he didn’t try it with an actual baby, though. Jet engines are dangerous. I don’t even know why they allow babies on jets; I can’t even bring toothpaste. So Colin used a doll, which in effect made him pretty much like your one-year-old pushing a toy stroller around, except that he was actually getting pulled by the stroller. But it worked great, unless you count that brief moment when the baby flew out.
The point is that he made it to 54 miles per hour, beating the previous stroller record of 30. I don’t know how that one happened. It probably involved a steep hill and parents in the actual stroller with the baby.
But Colin’s is the only stroller in which you can get pulled over for using it on city streets, if the cops can catch up to you. Not that Colin ever got pulled over for that. He did get pulled over for attaching a flamethrower to the back of a motorcycle, though, which shot flames backward as far as 15 feet, probably to discourage tailgaters.
And that wasn’t even the only version of that bike that he made. It was the third. His first version wouldn’t shoot flames when the bike was moving, and the second version, in his words, “kept setting fire to itself.” But instead of taking that as a hint, Colin made a third version, which got him arrested on a firearms charge.
He’s been told that his scooter isn’t street-legal and will be deemed a firearm if he uses it on public roads, to which his reply was, “I guess I’ll just use it off road.”
No, really. That’s what he said. Because when you’re one prototype past the version that kept setting itself on fire, your best course of action is to drive it on bumpy, improvised paths through the woods.
But some of his inventions are actually meant for indoors. For instance, he made something called a “jettle,” which apparently is a tea kettle powered by jet engines. You just put the water in and light the fuse, and Wham! There’s a kettle-shaped hole in your ceiling.
This was a logical invention for him, because tea is important to the British, as they drink it every day, and not just when they’re feeling too sick to consume anything else. But you want to finish your tea quickly, so you can get back to trying to get yourself killed.
He tested the jettle against his electric kettle using a pint of water, and while it took the electric kettle one minute and eighteen seconds to boil, the jettle did it in a minute and two. So it’s clearly worth the increase in home insurance costs, and I’m sure the firemen will agree.
It’s also clearly the loudest kettle ever. There’s nothing like a nice cup to wake you up in the morning, especially when you make it in a kettle that you can hear down the block. Colin doesn’t believe in mufflers, just like he has no interest in selling his inventions. Though I’m thinking that maybe he should come up with some way to make a profit here, because jet engines do not come cheap. I assume.
I think if he got together with a good marketing guy, he could make a lot of money off guys who don’t always consult their wives before they make major purchases. He might even make enough to cover the lawsuits. ϖ
Mordechai Schmutter is a weekly humor columnist for Hamodia and is the author of four books, published by Israel Book Shop. He also does freelance writing for hire. You can send any questions, comments, or ideas to MSchmutter@gmail.com.