When spring arrives—or when we get sick and tired of winter and arrive in someplace springy—we want nothing more than a leisurely walk through the park. But really, who has time for that?
Lucky for us, there’s a whole host of wheeled conveyances that are stowable and lightweight and that can speed us down the vernal avenue of our choosing with limited fear of excess baggage fees. They won’t fit in an overhead bin, but many are surprisingly portable for travel by plane, train, ship, or—the moment the thermometer rises above 60 degrees—the trunk of even a very small car.
The Folding Bike
Folding bikes are nothing new, but the titanium beauty Helix, handmade in Canada and starting at a breezy US$1,900, has us itching for a ride. It packs only slightly larger than its 24-inch tires and does so without adding any hinges to its solid frame. That means it can fold into a (large) suitcase without unexpectedly folding over a curb during a ride, and three available drivetrains make sure you’ll be up for your destination’s terrain.
Winter’s a great time to head south to surf, but even if you’re not a strong swimmer you can carve the asphalt on a longboard. The $200 Snap skateboard folds from 41 inches long down to just half that, which makes it stowable in all sorts of bags and on all sorts of transportation.
The Kick Scooter
Yes, there are smaller kick scooters, but safety and durability are rarely primary design considerations. The $240 Know Ped has a wide deck, steel frame, solid rubber tires, and a handbrake that will take you safely from train station to tourist attraction and back, and it looks less dorky than a Segway.
The Roller Skates
Every town has a park, but not every town wants to rent you roller skates. Skorpion Sports $150 Quadline skates strap on over your favorite shoes and feature a spring suspension and burly wheels to conquer street and sidewalk. And if your local park isn’t paved, it makes an off-road model.
The Novelty Act
If you want to make something smaller and lighter, you can always start by eliminating some core functionality. In the case of the $600 Halfbike, that means there’s no seat. Although the resulting design requires a bit of athleticism to ride, it weighs only 19 pounds, is sized for a trunk or subway when folded, and is more nimble than a conventional bicycle. Also, it looks hella fun. Bring on spring!