Improvised Life » wheels If you can't hunt with a dog, hunt with a cat... Wed, 12 Nov 2014 23:44:04 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Wake up SILLY with OK Go (+Dig the Robo Scooter!) Tue, 28 Oct 2014 08:33:31 +0000

(Video link HERE.) OK Go’s wondrous new video is a strangely perfect way to start your day: silly, happy, beautiful. We watched, grooving, with the music on for a minute or so.  But we found it even more beautiful with the music OFF.  (more…)

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Cargo Bikes to DIY or Buy Tue, 23 Sep 2014 17:29:57 +0000

(Video link HERE.) When we saw the image below of a hacked cargo bike Susan Dworski spotted on a Venice California beach, we thought of our old friend Peter Hoffman, chef of Back Forty and Back Forty West (formerly the great Savoy) in NYC. When his kids were young, he’d ride his odd-looking custom-made cargo bike to Union Square Farmers market; it had a huge front-wheel carrier, that allowed him to tow his kids AND a load of produce.  Although we’re happy to know about the iterations of custom cargo bikes you can have master bike-maker George Bliss of Hudson Urban Bicycles in NYC make you (check out the video), we love that there a multitude of other ways to go, as with the brilliant, multilayered and cheap bikes below. (more…)

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Shipping Pallet Transport Vehicle Wed, 09 Jul 2014 17:00:03 +0000

(Video link HERE). Shipping pallet creations are among our most popular posts and we’ve featured A LOT of them over the years. Tomáš Moravec‘s re-purposing of the simple pallet may be the most inspired of all:

“A new transport vehicle brings change into the spatial perspective of a passenger in motion and generally changes the life of the city, through which the pallet can run, guided by a map of the city lines.”


Check out other big fat pallet ideas here.



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Beach Structures and Shelters to DIY or Buy Thu, 19 Jun 2014 20:00:34 +0000


We found this image of charming little beach structures at Aqqindex. Ah, to have simple little private cocoons like that…Wonder where they came from?

They got us thinking about beach shelters. Of late we’ve seen some pretty chic, pricey ones, like Sombrilla Beach Tent for $189. (more…)

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Annals of Bike Hacks: An Electric Suitcase Scooter Mon, 09 Jun 2014 21:51:00 +0000

On the way to the airport ten years ago, He Liangcai, a Chinese farmer-turned-amateur inventor lost his luggage. That loss gave him the idea for a transportable suitcase that could come with him to the terminal. He spent the next ten years developing his drivable suitcase using the frame of an electric scooter with a suitcase wrapped around it.

The 15 pound suitcase-scooter is capable of transporting two adults at 12 miles per hour up to a distance of 37 miles on a fully charged battery.


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Home is Where You Park It Wed, 13 Nov 2013 09:56:23 +0000

Home is Where You Park is an inspiring book that celebrates the joys of living a minimalist's life on the road, in camper or car, an homage to "people living really cool lives, doing things they love as opposed to the expected"…with Nature as their living room.]]> 0
the tweet powered car Mon, 07 Oct 2013 08:21:07 +0000

(Video link here.)  Under the guidance of innovative education organization MindDrive, thirty at-risk students in a Kansas City, Missouri neighborhood once called the “killing zip code” , built an electric car that successfully converted social media into fuel for a road trip from Kansas City to Washington D.C. A tweet was 5 watts;  a Facebook like, 1 watt; watching their YouTube video, 3 watts.

The car itself is a 1967 Karmann Ghia which the student team restored to working order from the exterior to the interior. The original drivetrain was replaced with an electric one, and they worked out the programming to incorporate the “social fuel” into the car’s operation. (more…)

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mobile motorized outdoor office (c. 1961) Tue, 01 Oct 2013 21:34:02 +0000

The great Retronaut‘s tagline is “See the past like you wouldn’t believe”, and it does indeed shift our view. We LOVE  this version of ‘going to the office': a motorized desk on wheels, toodling down the street en plein air…the mobile office circa 1961.

Related posts: finding a clear work space + e.b. white on “stuff” one mid-century desk interpreted by two owners we test drive the pomodoro time management (more...)]]> 2 new american nomads: freedom with less and walmart Mon, 30 Sep 2013 23:38:14 +0000 photo

Nolan Conway for The New York Times

We recommend checking out the illuminating slideshow in Sunday’s New York Times Magazine, about nomadic Americans who travel around in their R.V.’s, campers or cars, spending nights at Walmart parking lots, which apparently, welcome anyone with an R.V. or trailer. Photographer Nolan Conway has been taking pictures of Walmart’s ‘nomaic guests’ at several stores in central Arizona, and getting some of their stories. Their reasons for living without the usual home are compelling, an American dream of freedom, the road, and unexpected communities.  (more…)

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unexpected stripes: car + parking lot (before + after) Tue, 24 Sep 2013 17:26:17 +0000 Milo Vermeulen/flickr

Milo Vermeulen/flickr

Right after we posted  Gene Davis’ Fab Striped Street’,  Susan Dworski sent us this great before-and-after picture of a Rotterdam parking lot half painted with stripes. The with-and-without is  quite an example of the possibilites for stipes in unlikely places. Then we found another: a brilliant striped car spotted in New York Magazine recent The Urbanist’s Warsaw: (more…)

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design love: bauhausian bicycle Thu, 15 Aug 2013 20:29:13 +0000

We look at this Bauhausian bicycle and feel a visceral WANT. We love the way it looks and its moderne hecho-a-mano rusticity. Apparently it follows the principle of the golden section.  Beautiful.

… though you’d have to be pretty agile to get on and off.

More images and specifics on the Bau Bike: It It’s Hip It’s Here

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visionary hack: cargo bike with shopping cart + chainlink fence Mon, 29 Apr 2013 16:26:04 +0000 Spotted on Claton Cubitt’s tumblr and worth checking out full size: “cargo bike incorporating a shopping cart and chain link fence, with a blood-red wrought-iron cowcatcher (and cup holder), New Orleans.”

The awesomness of the human imagination! This practical AND aestheric considerations here are stunning…

Related posts: clever shelving configured for bicycle storage bikes for hauling + great accessories danny macaskill’s new video: what he thinks as he rides sighting: (more...)]]> 0 tiny: a film about living small Wed, 13 Mar 2013 08:45:44 +0000

(Video link here.) About 6 months ago, we got an email from Merete Mueller,  a friend of a friend who was just finishing up a film about the Tiny House Movement.

The film, “TINY: A Story About Living Small” follows Christopher Smith and my attempt to build a tiny house from scratch with no building experience in the mountains of Colorado. It also explores the lives of other Americans who have downsized their lives into houses smaller than the average parking space. 

We’re interested in innovative design and environmental sustainability, but most of all, we’re interested in “Home”—how we find it and how we know when we’re there, the small, strong details that make us feel comfortable and at-ease in a place. 

Through homes stripped down to their essentials, the film raises questions about sustainability, good design, and the changing American Dream, and what we REALLY need to live well and happily. It’s also the story of Merete and Christopher embarking on a project without knowing what they were doing; they could LEARN what they didn’t know. And did. (TINY just premiered at South by SouthWest, an independent film festival. Way to go!!!!)

We already love the film for this wise nugget:

 For some people bigger isn’t necessarily better. The world gets a lot bigger when you begin to have more cash and time. (more…)

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Foraging Fallen Trees for DIY’s Mon, 05 Nov 2012 20:03:07 +0000

Sally Schneider

Not long after I dragged the tree sculpture home, I went back into the park to see what was happening with the huge, ancient 3-foot-in-diameter oak that Hurricane  Sandy brought down. The parks people had been cutting it up — terrible to see. They just sawed it apart into chunks to chip; think of the beautiful wide boards or public seating it could have made…

I had no idea what I’d do with a big rough-hewn oak log, but figured it would be worth grabbing one before they disappeared, while the Parks Department workers were gone and the police weren’t patrolling. I found one a foot wide to haul home that was so heavy, I couldn’t get it on the 12″ round 3-wheeled dolly I had brought (having loaned my trusty Magna Cart Hand Truck to a neighbor). As I was struggling, a West African man came up to help. He lifted the log onto the dolly, then said thoughtfully, “You need something to pull it with”. I rummaged through my knapsack and found a bungee cord. Sela figured out a way to attach it. He told me that over time the tree would dry out and become less heavy; then he went on his way.


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