Couch potatoes may save us all

There’s a new invention on the horizon that could decrease air pollution, reduce traffic congestion, promote physical fitness and bring us all a little closer together.

It’s the, er, couchbike.


Perhaps you’ve already heard of it?


Well, that’s understandable. According to a recent issue of UTNE Magazine, the only working prototypes seem to be in Canada.

Perhaps you’ve heard of Canada? No?

It’s rather north of here…

The innovative pedal-powered sofa, or couchbike, is the brainchild of mechanical engineer Brent Curry and his Norwegian sidekick, Eivind Meen (

Their motto is, appropriately enough, “Have You Driven a Couch Lately?”

The pair took a rather nondescript, 95-pound sofa, attached wheels, brakes, two pedal-operated chain drives and a side-mounted steering mechanism and headed for the open road, sometimes hitting speeds of 27 mph (downhill) and drawing the attention of at least one Canadian constable.

Officious traffic authorities aside, the pair proved that the couchbike is a very viable mode of economical transportation whose time has come – although perhaps not yet on interstate freeways…

My question is, are we going to let Canada monopolize the pedal-powered sofa market?

I think not, amigos. This idea belongs to the world (and you know it’s going to be big in Berkeley).

Think about it. The couch bike uses no fossil fuels. It’s comfortable, roomy and inexpensive to operate. If you become fatigued during a long trip, you can just pull over, stretch out and snooze until your resolve is restored.

Not only will the pedal-powered sofa help cut national petroleum consumption, it will also contribute to the beautification of America, getting all those ratty, discarded couches off the roadside and into America’s 21st century transportation pool.

No longer will derelict sofas litter empty lots and the sidewalks in front of fraternity houses. They’ll be reborn as much sought-after sport utility sofas.

Best of all, couchbikes should be just as easily customized as any automobile on the road today.

You could, for example, go for the full-sized luxury sofa or strap yourself into a sporty, low-slung loveseat. Add some fog lamps, chrome wire wheels, a stereo and extra-large cupholders and you’re on your way to becoming a local street legend.

Yesterday you may just have been another couch potato from Oroville. Tomorrow you could be the king of the Sunset Strip.

These are, like, much cooler than your uncle Wilbur’s 37-foot motorhome with the stuffed Chihuahua in the back window.

Couchbikes should lend themselves to a wide variety of activities – exercise, travel, shopping and, if you and your cycling sweetie are feeling a little romantic after an idyllic ride through the countryside, hey, you’re already on a sofa, right? Just find a secluded spot and try not to scare any nearby livestock.

It doesn’t get any better than this, amigos…

Originally published June 27, 2014