John Metcalfe is CityLab’s Bay Area bureau chief, based in Oakland. His coverage focuses on climate change and the science of cities.
Let's take a close look at the latest attempt to market a kid's toy to hip adults.
Many people have tried, and failed, to make a mockery-proof urban tricycle. There's this one with a sleeping compartment, for instance, that comes off looking like a big baby carriage for adults. This model could double as a beach tent, this fat-tired one wants to be "sexy" but doesn't make it out of puberty, and the less said about tandem trikes the better.
But the "Kiffy" trike built by France's Agence360 and NP Innovation comes very close to being something you could ride without embarrassment. That's probably because, with its low wheels and light weight, it looks as much like a portable bicycle as it does baby's first ride. Despite appearances, the Kiffy can transport bulky objects such as amps, grocery bags, and what appears to be a banjo:
The 27-pound trike's bells and whistles include hydraulic brakes, a swing system to prevent rollovers, and two (!) reverse gears. The frame also breaks into halves, allowing its owner to use the two-wheeled section as a shopping cart. No word yet on when or if you can buy this thing (the Kiffy website is down), but even as a concept it's pretty neat: