Steve Roberts on Winnebiko II, drawn by Robert Dvorak

Push On was created in the early 1980s as the voice of Bicycle NSW, tracking advocacy issues in New South Wales, and in 1989 it morphed into Australian Cyclist magazine. I was delighted to find this little snippet in the issue of Dec ’87 – Jan ’88, derived from my little promotional mailer. More readable text below the scan…

qWhat has 5 computers, 36 gears, 2 wheels, 40 metres of zippers, an electronic compass, 2 solar panels, radio station, tent, motion-sensitive security system, three modems, 84 spokes, a speech synthesiser, hydraulic and disc brakes, TV set, telephone, pressurized water supply, air horns, handlebar keyboard, 165 console switches and displays, 12 amp-hours of NiCad battery capacity, microfiche library, one seat, a flute, a 2 metre tall pilot, a fairing, over 120,000 km on its digital odometer, and no mudguards (to save weight)?

ASteven K. Roberts, high-tech nomad, and his Winnebiko II. Thus, roughly, gushes the blurb Mr Roberts distributes to anyone interested in his rather amazing bicycle. It is described as a 100 kg electronic cottage on wheels, unique in the world (although PUSH ON understands his girl friend has a
similar bike). The computerised recumbent bicycle has been custom built for Steve as his home and office since 1983. He uses the on-board word processor to write while he rides, slowly exploring the “American culture”. Steve has written several books about his travel experiences and edits a magazine called the Journal of High Treknowledgy.

His network of five computers has enabled him to delve into speech synthesis, radio data communication, navigation assistance and more, he says. It all runs on stored solar energy. The recumbent was a natural choice because of its “no pain” seating position, aerodynamic and ergonomic efficiency and all-round visibility.

Why is he doing it? Why not? he says. For the adventure, for the risk, to discover The Unknown and to beat complacency. “Go for it,” says Steve, pedalling into the sunset.

Computing Across America Publications Centre’s address (for book orders and information) is [redacted].